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This book examines the long-debated issue of the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern myths. Using an innovative, interdisciplinary methodology that combines theories of metaphor and narrative, Paul Cho argues that the Hebrew Bible is more deeply mythological than previously recognized. Because the Hebrew Bible contains fragments of the sea myth but no continuous narrative, the study of myth in the Hebrew Bible is usually circumscribed to the level of motifs and themes. Cho challenges this practice and demonstrates that the Hebrew Bible contains shorter and longer compositions studded with imagery that are structured by the plot of sea myths. Through close analysis of key Near Eastern myths and biblical texts, Cho shows that myth had a more fundamental influence on the plot structure and conceptual framework of the Hebrew Bible than has been recognized.
A Year with the Sages uniquely relates the Sages' understanding of each Torah portion to everyday life. The importance of these teachings cannot be overstated. The Sages, who lived during the period from the fifth century BCE to the fifth century CE, considered themselves to have inherited the oral teachings God transmitted to Moses, along with the mandate to interpret them to each subsequent generation. Just as the Torah and the entire Hebrew Bible are the foundations of Judaism, the Sages' teachings form the structures of Jewish belief and practice built on that foundation. Many of these teachings revolve around core concepts such as God's justice, God's love, Torah, Israel, humility, honesty, loving-kindness, reverence, prayer, and repentance. You are invited to spend a year with the inspiring ideas of the Sages through their reflections on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and the eleven Jewish holidays. Quoting from the week's Torah portion, Rabbi Reuven Hammer presents a Torah commentary, selections from the Sages that chronicle their process of interpreting the text, a commentary that elucidates these concepts and their consequences, and a personal reflection that illumines the Sages' enduring wisdom for our era.
This book is a comprehensive account of how the Jews became a diaspora people. The term 'diaspora' was first applied exclusively to the early history of the Jews as they began settling in scattered colonies outside of Israel-Judea during the time of the Babylonian exile; it has come to express the characteristic uniqueness of the Jewish historical experience. Zeitlin retraces the history of the Jewish diaspora from the ancient world to the present, beginning with expulsion from their ancestral homeland and concluding with the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In mapping this process, Zeitlin argues that the Jews' religious self-understanding was crucial in enabling them to cope with the serious and recurring challenges they have had to face throughout their history. He analyses the varied reactions the Jews encountered from their so-called 'host peoples', paying special attention to the attitudes of famous thinkers such as Luther, Hegel, Nietzsche, Wagner, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, the Left Hegelians, Marx and others, who didn't shy away from making explicit their opinions of the Jews.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Jewish studies, diaspora studies, history and religion, as well as to general readers keen to learn more about the history of the Jewish experience.
How the rabbis of the Talmud transformed everything into a legal question-and Jewish law into a way of thinking and talking about everything Though typically translated as "Jewish law," the term halakhah is not an easy match for what is usually thought of as law. This is because the rabbinic legal system has rarely wielded the political power to enforce its many detailed rules, nor has it ever been the law of any state. Even more idiosyncratically, the talmudic rabbis claim that the study of halakhah is a holy endeavor that brings a person closer to God-a claim no country makes of its law. In this panoramic book, Chaim Saiman traces how generations of rabbis have used concepts forged in talmudic disputation to do the work that other societies assign not only to philosophy, political theory, theology, and ethics but also to art, drama, and literature. In the multifaceted world of halakhah where everything is law, law is also everything, and even laws that serve no practical purpose can, when properly studied, provide surprising insights into timeless questions about the very nature of human existence. What does it mean for legal analysis to connect humans to God? Can spiritual teachings remain meaningful and at the same time rigidly codified? Can a modern state be governed by such law? Guiding readers across two millennia of richly illuminating perspectives, this book shows how halakhah is not just "law" but an entire way of thinking, being, and knowing.
Vladimir Solovyov, one of nineteenth-century Russia's greatest Christian philosophers, was renowned as the leading defender of Jewish civil rights in tsarist Russia in the 1880s. The Burning Bush: Writings on Jews and Judaism presents an annotated translation of Solovyov's complete oeuvre on the Jewish question, elucidating his terminology and identifying his references to persons, places, and texts, especially from biblical and rabbinic writings. Many texts are provided in English translation by Gregory Yuri Glazov for the first time, including Solovyov's obituary for Joseph Rabinovitch, a pioneer of modern Messianic Judaism, and his letter in the London Times of 1890 advocating for greater Jewish civil rights in Russia, printed alongside a similar petition by Cardinal Manning. Glazov's introduction presents a summary of Solovyov's life, explains how the texts in this collection were chosen, and provides a survey of Russian Jewish history to help the reader understand the context and evaluate the significance of Solovyov's work. In his extensive commentary in Part II, which draws on key memoirs from family and friends, Glazov paints a rich portrait of Solovyov's encounters with Jews and Judaism and of the religious-philosophical ideas that he both brought to and derived from those encounters. The Burning Bush explains why Jews posthumously accorded Solovyov the accolade of a "righteous gentile," and why his ecumenical hopes and struggles to reconcile Judaism and Christianity and persuade secular authorities to respect conscience and religious freedom still bear prophetic vitality.
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The second volume of the acclaimed English edition of "Miqra'ot Gedolot"
The biblical commentaries known as "Miqra'ot Gedolot" have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval Bible commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers.
Each page of this second volume in The Commentators' Bible series contains several verses from the Book of Leviticus, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations, and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. The book also includes an introduction, a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study. This large-format volume is beautifully designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others.
Written by the great medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed attempts to explain the perplexities of biblical language-and apparent inconsistencies in the text-in the light of philosophy and scientific reason. Composed as a letter to a student, The Guide aims to harmonize Aristotelian principles with the Hebrew Bible and argues that God must be understood as both unified and incorporeal. Engaging both contemporary and ancient scholars, Maimonides fluidly moves from cosmology to the problem of evil to the end goal of human happiness. His intellectual breadth and openness makes The Guide a lasting model of creative synthesis in biblical studies and philosophical theology.
While photographing the Congregation Montefiore Cemetery in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in 1985, Cary Herz first heard whispers about "the other people." Thus began a twenty-year search for descendants of crypto-Jews, the Sephardic Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions centuries ago. Many openly professed Catholicism, but continued to practice the Jewish faith privately. Herz's photographs and the accompanying essays honor the people whose ancestors, through families' oral histories and genealogical records, knew about their heritage. Other New Mexican Hispanics have recently begun to explore their families' customs and are only beginning to examine their possible blended lineage. To help complete her exploration, Herz sought out symbols--gravesites, artifacts, and icons--that might point toward the presence of the descendants of crypto-Jews who came to the New World. There has recently been a renewed interest in crypto-Jews, as DNA tests have revealed the Jewish heritage of a number of Hispanic New Mexicans.
This authorised yet heretical Haggadah from the infamous Jewdas collective propagates a multitude of dangerous ideas such as anarcho-socialism, the dismantling of nation-states and free pickles for all. Moreover it promotes Rabbi Geoffrey Cohen's ideology of diasporism: that the promised land is not an overpriced piece of real estate in the Middle East but wherever people gather to ferment noisy and joyful revolution. Fully ready for use at your next Passover seder, this Haggadah also contains an authorised guide to Jewish practice in the late capitalist era, riotous songs, diasporic recipes, and assorted tips for surviving establishment Judaism. Kosher for Jews and infidels alike, the Haggadah has been authorised and approved by Jeremy, Rabbi Krustofsky, Emma Goldman, Buddha, Hashem, John the Baptist and the guy from the apprentice who didn't know what a kosher chicken was.
The office of rabbi is the most visible symbol of power and prestige in Jewish communities. Rabbis both interpret to their congregations the requirements of Jewish life and instruct congregants in how best to live this life. Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation documents a monumental change in Jewish life as eighteen lesbian rabbis reflect on their experiences as trailblazers in Judaism's journey into an increasingly multicultural world. In frank and revealing essays, the contributors discuss their decisions to become rabbis and describe their experiences both at the seminaries and in their rabbinical positions. They also reflect on the dilemma whether to conceal or reveal their sexual identities to their congregants and superiors, or to serve specifically gay and lesbian congregations. The contributors consider the tensions between lesbian identity and Jewish identity, and inquire whether there are particularly ""lesbian"" readings of traditional texts. These essays also ask how the language of Jewish tradition touches the lives of lesbians and how lesbianism challenges traditional notions of the Jewish family. ""'Today I am completely 'out' personally and professionally, and yet I have learned that the 'coming out' process never ends. Even today, I find myself in professional situations in which yet again I must reveal that I am a lesbian, yet again I must prove myself worthy of functioning professionally in the 'straight' world. I still encounter moments of awkwardness, some hostility, and some sense of exclusion as I negotiate the pathways of my professional life.""-Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, from Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation
This unique Haggada is inspired by the Bird's Head Haggada, one of the oldest Haggadot still extant, dating back to the end of the 13th century, which is in the collections of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The Jews are depicted with bird heads. The Haggada is richly illustrated with movable pop-ups, showing the baking of Matzot, the ten plagues, the Crossing of the Red Sea, and other major scenes pertaining to Passover. These pop-ups are entertaining for adults and children. The Hebrew text is based on the Koren Haggada with English translation.
While many scholars have noted Martin Heidegger's indebtedness to Christian mystical sources, as well as his affinity with Taoism and Buddhism, Elliot R. Wolfson expands connections between Heidegger's thought and kabbalistic material. By arguing that the Jewish esoteric tradition impacted Heidegger, Wolfson presents an alternative way of understanding the history of Western philosophy. Wolfson's comparison between Heidegger and kabbalah sheds light on key concepts such as hermeneutics, temporality, language, and being and nothingness, while yielding surprising reflections on their common philosophical ground. Given Heidegger's involvement with National Socialism and his use of antisemitic language, these innovative readings are all the more remarkable for their juxtaposition of incongruent fields of discourse. Wolfson's entanglement with Heidegger and kabbalah not only enhances understandings of both but, more profoundly, serves as an ethical corrective to their respective ethnocentrism and essentialism. Wolfson masterfully illustrates the redemptive capacity of thought to illuminate common ground in seemingly disparate philosophical traditions.
Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years, with violent attacks, increased verbal insults, and an acceptability in some circles of what would hitherto have been condemned as outrageous antisemitic discourse. Yet despite the dramatic increase in debate and discussion around antisemitism, many of us remain confused. In this urgent and timely book, Rabbi Julia Neuberger uses contemporary examples, along with historical context, to unpack what constitutes antisemitism, building a powerful argument for why it is so crucial that we come to a shared understanding now.
Exposed to multiple languages as a result of annexation, migration, pilgrimage and its position on key trade routes, the Roman Palestine of Late Antiquity was a border area where Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic dialects were all in common use. This study analyses the way scriptural translation was perceived and practised by the rabbinic movement in this multilingual world. Drawing on a wide range of classical rabbinic sources, including unused manuscript materials, Willem F. Smelik traces developments in rabbinic thought and argues that foreign languages were deemed highly valuable for the lexical and semantic light they shed on the meanings of lexemes in the holy tongue. Key themes, such as the reception of translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, multilingualism in society, and rabbinic rules for translation, are discussed at length. This book will be invaluable for students of ancient Judaism, rabbinic studies, Old Testament studies, early Christianity and translation studies.
How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. Many have attempted to explain this singular success as a result of divine intervention. In this engaging book, David N. Myers charts the long journey of the Jews through history. At the same time, it points to two unlikely-and decidedly this-worldly-factors to explain the survival of the Jews: antisemitism and assimilation. Usually regarded as grave dangers, these two factors have continually interacted with one other to enable the persistence of the Jews. At every turn in their history, not just in the modern age, Jews have adapted to new environments, cultures, languages, and social norms. These bountiful encounters with host societies have exercised the cultural muscle of the Jews, preventing the atrophy that would have occurred if they had not interacted so extensively with the non-Jewish world. It is through these encounters-indeed, through a process of assimilation-that Jews came to develop distinct local customs, speak many different languages, and cultivate diverse musical, culinary, and intellectual traditions. Left unchecked, the Jews' well-honed ability to absorb from surrounding cultures might have led to their disappearance. And yet, the route toward full and unbridled assimilation was checked by the nearly constant presence of hatred toward the Jew. Anti-Jewish expression and actions have regularly accompanied Jews throughout history. Part of the ironic success of antisemitism is its malleability, its talent in assuming new forms and portraying the Jew in diverse and often contradictory images-for example, at once the arch-capitalist and revolutionary Communist. Antisemitism not only served to blunt further assimilation, but, in a paradoxical twist, affirmed the Jew's sense of difference from the host society. And thus together assimilation and antisemitism (at least up to a certain limit) contribute to the survival of the Jews as a highly adaptable and yet distinct group.
The Oxford Bible Commentary is a Bible study and reference work for 21st century students and readers that can be read with any modern translation of the Bible. It offers verse-by-verse explanation of every book of the Bible by the world's leading biblical scholars. From its inception, OBC has been designed as a completely non-denominational commentary, carefully written and edited to provide the best scholarship in a readable style for readers from all different faith backgrounds. It uses the traditional historical-critical method to search for the original meaning of the texts, but also brings in new perspectives and insights - literary, sociological, and cultural - to bring out the expanding meanings of these ancient writings and stimulate new discussion and further enquiry. Newly issued in a series of part volumes, the OBC is now available in an affordable and portable format for the commentaries to the books of the Apocrypha. Includes a general introduction to using the Commentary, in addition to an introduction to study of the Apocrypha.
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