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Leo Strauss is widely recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of Maimonides. His studies of the medieval Jewish philosopher led to his rediscovery of esotericism and deepened his sense that the tension between reason and revelation was central to modern political thought. His writings throughout the twentieth century were chiefly responsible for restoring Maimonides as a philosophical thinker of the first rank. Yet, to appreciate the extent of Strauss' contribution to the scholarship on Maimonides, one has traditionally had to seek out essays he published separately spanning almost fifty years. With "Leo Strauss on Maimonides", Kenneth Hart Green presents for the first time a comprehensive, annotated collection of Strauss' writings on Maimonides, comprising sixteen essays, three of which appear in English for the first time. Green has also provided careful translations of materials originally quoted in Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, German, and French; written an informative introduction highlighting the contributions found in each essay; and brought references to out-of-print editions fully up to date. The result will become the standard edition of Strauss' writings on Maimonides.
Jewish and Christian apocalypses have captivated theologians, writers, artists, and the general public for centuries, and have had a profound influence on world history from their initial production by persecuted Jews during the second century BCE, to the birth of Christianity - through the demise of the Western Roman Empire and the medieval period, and continuing into modernity. Far from being an outlier concern, or an academic one that may be relegated to the dustbin of history, apocalyptic thinking is ubiquitous and continues to inform nearly all aspects of modern-day life. It addresses universal human concerns: the search for identity and belonging, speculation about the future, and (for some) a blueprint that provides meaning and structure to a seemingly chaotic world. The Cambridge Companion to Apocalyptic Literature brings together a field of leading experts to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject.
As a young lecturer in philosophy and the eldest son of a prominent Jewish family, Alan Montefiore faced two very different understandings of his identity: the more traditional view that an identity such as his carried with it, as a matter of given fact, certain duties and obligations, and an opposing view, emphasized by his studies in philosophy, according to which there can be no rationally compelling move from statements of fact--whatever the alleged facts may be--to "judgments of value." According to this second view, individuals must in the end take responsibility for determining their own values and obligations.
In this book, Montefiore looks back on his attempts to understand the nature of this conflict and the misunderstandings it may engender. In the process, he illustrates through personal experience the practical implications of a characteristically philosophical issue. Montefiore finally settles on the following: while everyone has to accept that facts, including those of their own situation, are whatever they may be, both the "traditional" assumption that individuals must recognize certain values and obligations as rooted in those very facts, and the contrary view that individuals are ultimately responsible for determining their own values, are deeply embedded in differing conceptions of society and its relation to its members.
Montefiore then examines the misunderstandings between those for whom identity constitutes in effect a conceptual bridge connecting the facts of who and what a person may be to the value commitments incumbent upon them, and those for whom the very idea of such a bridge can be nothing but a confusion. Using key examples from the notoriously vexed case of Jewish identity and from his own encounters with its conflicting meanings and implications, Montefiore depicts the practical significance of the differences between these worldviews, particularly for those who hove to negotiate them.
The first cartographic reference book on one of today's most important religious movements Historical Atlas of Hasidism is the very first cartographic reference book on one of the modern era's most vibrant and important mystical movements. Featuring seventy-four large-format maps and a wealth of illustrations, charts, and tables, this one-of-a-kind atlas charts Hasidism's emergence and expansion; its dynasties, courts, and prayer houses; its spread to the New World; the crisis of the two world wars and the Holocaust; and Hasidism's remarkable postwar rebirth. Historical Atlas of Hasidism demonstrates how geography has influenced not only the social organization of Hasidism but also its spiritual life, types of religious leadership, and cultural articulation. It focuses not only on Hasidic leaders but also on their thousands of followers living far from Hasidic centers. It examines Hasidism in its historical entirety, from its beginnings in the eighteenth century until today, and draws on extensive GIS-processed databases of historical and contemporary records to present the most complete picture yet of this thriving and diverse religious movement. Historical Atlas of Hasidism is visually stunning and easy to use, a magnificent resource for anyone seeking to understand Hasidism's spatial and spiritual dimensions, or indeed anybody interested in geographies of religious movements past and present. Provides the first cartographic interpretation of Hasidism Features seventy-four maps and numerous illustrations Covers Hasidism in its historical entirety, from its eighteenth-century origins to today Charts Hasidism's emergence and expansion, courts and prayer houses, modern resurgence, and much more Offers the first in-depth analysis of Hasidism's egalitarian-not elitist-dimensions Draws on extensive GIS-processed databases of historical and contemporary records
For Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Torah is at once the oldest and the most contemporary document directing human lives. In this highly acclaimed, five-volume parashat hashavua series, Rabbi Riskin helps each reader extract deeply personal, contemporary lessons from the traditional biblical biblical accounts. As Rabbi Riskin writes in the introduction to Torah Lights, the struggle with Torah reflects the struggle with life itself. The ability of the Torah to speak to every generation and every individual at the same time is the greatest testimony to its divinity.
Contemporary Jewish art is a growing field that includes traditional as well as new creative practices, yet criticism of it is almost exclusively reliant on the Second Commandment's prohibition of graven images. Arguing that this disregards the corpus of Jewish thought and a century of criticism and interpretation, Ben Schachter advocates instead a new approach focused on action and process. Departing from the traditional interpretation of the Second Commandment, Schachter addresses abstraction, conceptual art, performance art, and other styles that do not rely on imagery for meaning. He examines Jewish art through the concept of melachot-work-like "creative activities" as defined by the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides. Showing the similarity between art and melachot in the active processes of contemporary Jewish artists such as Ruth Weisberg, Allan Wexler, Archie Rand, and Nechama Golan, he explores the relationship between these artists' methods and Judaism's demanding attention to procedure. A compellingly written challenge to traditionalism, Image, Action, and Idea in Contemporary Jewish Art makes a well-argued case for artistic production, interpretation, and criticism that revels in the dual foundation of Judaism and art history.
Raised in a traditional Jewish family, international television
host Jonathan Bernis was taught from a young age that "Jews
don't--and can't --believe in Jesus." Yet in his study of the
Bible, including the Torah, he found overwhelming evidence that
Jesus of Nazareth really was the Jewish Messiah.
First published in 2004, The Jewish Study Bible is a landmark,
one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students
of the Hebrew Bible. It has won acclaim from readers in all
How does literary form change as Christianity and rabbinic Judaism take shape? What is the impact of literary tradition and the new pressures of religious thinking? Tracing a journey over the first millennium that includes works in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, this book changes our understanding of late antiquity and how its literary productions make a significant contribution to the cultural changes that have shaped western Europe.
Every area of Jewish life is filled with rich symbolism and special meaning. From meals, clothing, and figures of speech to worship, holidays, and weddings, we find hundreds of fascinating traditions that date as far back as two or three thousand years.
There's Bar Mitzvah, which Jewish boys celebrate at the age of accountability. In weddings, the groom breaks a wine glass with his foot. In the front doorway of Jewish homes you'll find a mezuza -- a small container with Scripture parchments. Prayer shawls are made with blue or black stripes.
How did customs such as these get started? What special meaning do they hold? And, what can they teach us?
The big picture is well-known: over the last century, religion in Britain has lost power, popularity, and plausibility. Here, Steve Bruce charts the quantifiable changes in religious interest and observance over the last fifty years by returning to a number of towns and villages that were the subject of detailed community studies in the 1950s and 1960s, to see how the status and nature of religion has changed. Drawing on both detailed data on baptism rates, church weddings, church attendance and the like, and on his extensive fieldwork, he considers the broader picture of religion today: the status of the clergy, the churches' attempts to find new roles, links between religion and violence, and the impact of the charismatic movement. Along the way, Bruce encounters and engages with the contemporary rise of secularism, considering our everyday secular tensions with religion: arguments over moral issues such as abortion and gay rights, the effect of social class on belief, the impact of religion on British politics, and the ways that local social structures strengthen or weaken religion. Analysing the obstacles to any religious revival, he explores how the current stock of religious knowledge is so depleted, religion so unpopular, and committed believers so scarce that any significant reversal of religion's decline in Britain is unlikely.
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