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The latest in the series based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, this volume presents the first full history of philosophy in the Islamic world for a broad readership. It takes an approach unprecedented among introductions to this subject, by providing full coverage of Jewish and Christian thinkers as well as Muslims, and by taking the story of philosophy from its beginnings in the world of early Islam all the way through to the twentieth century. Major figures like Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimonides are covered in great detail, but the book also looks at less familiar thinkers, including women philosophers. Attention is also given to the philosophical relevance of Islamic theology (kalam) and mysticism-the Sufi tradition within Islam, and Kabbalah among Jews-and to science, with chapters on disciplines like optics and astronomy. The book is divided into three sections, with the first looking at the first blossoming of Islamic theology and responses to the Greek philosophical tradition in the world of Arabic learning. This 'formative period' culminates with the work of Avicenna, the pivotal figure to whom most later thinkers feel they must respond. The second part of the book discusses philosophy in Muslim Spain (Andalusia), where Jewish philosophers come to the fore, though this is also the setting for such thinkers as Averroes and Ibn Arabi. Finally, a third section looks in unusual detail at later developments, touching on philosophy in the Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid empires and showing how thinkers in the nineteenth to the twentieth century were still concerned to respond to the ideas that had animated philosophy in the Islamic world for centuries, while also responding to political and intellectual challenges from the European colonial powers.
This book is both a themed volume on translation and a Festschrift for Leonard J. Greenspoon, the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor in Jewish Civilization and professor of classical and near Eastern studies and of theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Professor Greenspoon has made significant contributions to the study of Jewish biblical translations, particularly the ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, known as the Septuagint. In this volume, an internationally renowned group of scholars presents a wide range of essays on Bible translation, the influence of culture on biblical translation, Bible translations' reciprocal influence on culture, and the translation of various Jewish texts and collections, especially the Septuagint.
Though considered one of the most important informants about Judaism in the first century CE, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus's testimony is often overlooked or downplayed. Jonathan Klawans's Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism reexamines Josephus's descriptions of sectarian disagreements concerning determinism and free will, the afterlife, and scriptural authority. In each case, Josephus's testimony is analyzed in light of his works' general concerns as well as relevant biblical, rabbinic, and Dead Sea texts. Many scholars today argue that ancient Jewish sectarian disputes revolved primarily or even exclusively around matters of ritual law, such as calendar, cultic practices, or priestly succession. Josephus, however, indicates that the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes disagreed about matters of theology, such as afterlife and determinism. Similarly, many scholars today argue that ancient Judaism was thrust into a theological crisis in the wake of the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE, yet Josephus's works indicate that Jews were readily able to make sense of the catastrophe in light of biblical precedents and contemporary beliefs. Without denying the importance of Jewish law-and recognizing Josephus's embellishments and exaggerations-Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism calls for a renewed focus on Josephus's testimony, and models an approach to ancient Judaism that gives theological questions a deserved place alongside matters of legal concern. Ancient Jewish theology was indeed significant, diverse, and sufficiently robust to respond to the crisis of its day.
Who am I? How do I feel about myself? Do I seem cool? Do I fit in?
"At a bar mitzvah people talk about becoming a man in the Jewish religion, but what is that supposed to mean? For sure it means you are no longer a child, but you are also not yet an adult. Fortunately, there's no one official definition of manhood, just as there is no one official way of being Jewish. That s where this book comes in." from the Preface
Courage, friends, stress, sex, God, identity these are some of the things that concern teen guys. This book addresses those concerns without preaching, judgment or criticism to help you figure out what becoming a Jewish man means to you.
It presents surprising facts, interesting stories, ideas and actions taken by Jewish men today and all the way back to biblical times to show how they answered the same kinds of questions you re asking yourself. It challenges stereotypes and myths, and offers different opinions, not only from old guys but from dozens of teenage Jewish guys just like you.
Like the Talmud, The JGuy s Guide offers many perspectives and reflection questions to help you find your own truths."
The life of a congregational rabbi is often seen as an ivory-tower existence - full of prayers and piety - but Jonathan Romain's has radically departed from that image. Virtually no one has ever asked him about their spiritual life and instead he has dealt with a rollercoaster of crises, emotional traumas, moral dilemmas, attempts at seduction, multiple murders, Machiavellian families, funerals that go wrong, weddings that are hijacked, and fighting his way through a maze of other people's sexual fantasies. Nothing in rabbinic training ever hinted that this catalogue of human misery would become part of his calling, nor gave any clues as to how to handle it. Luckily, his previous careers - as a radio agony aunt, prison chaplain, postman and nightclub bouncer - gave him insights that proved very useful in navigating through the human jungle, and hopefully helping some of those he has met on the way. Candid, poignant and often hilarious, this highly original and very readable book offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an extraordinary job dealing with timeless human scenarios.
An inspiring introduction to the most important lesson for today's busy world: the take-away is to take away.
"All we can hope to accomplish by paying attention is to learn to live with the mystery, become more comfortable with not knowing and try to enjoy life s uncertainty. Every day is a gift, but we often squander it by missing what matters most." from the Introduction
Every day we are faced with choices that entail saying no and frankly we re not very good at it. Whether it s the desire to please, get ahead, accumulate or impress, our lives have become so full and so busy that it is hard to determine what we really need and what s really important to us.
The purpose of this book is to help you regain control of the things that matter most in your life. It taps timeless Jewish wisdom that teaches how to hold on tightly to the things that matter most while learning to let go lightly of the demands, worries, activities and conflicts that do not ultimately matter. Drawing insights from ancient and modern sources, it helps you identify your core values as well as the opportunities that do not reflect those values, and that you can learn to pass up. It also shows you how to establish a disciplined practice to help you adhere to your choices.
Whether it s letting go of resentment, learning to say no at work or to your loved ones, downsizing your diet or asking less of the earth, this book will help you distinguish between the trivial and the profound."
Why do bad things happen to good people? Rabbi Kushner has sensible and unorthodox and mind-opening things to say about God, and about ourselves.
A political crisis erupts when the Persian government falls to fanatics, and a Jewish insider goes rogue, determined to save her people at all costs. God and Politics in Esther explores politics and faith. It is about an era in which the prophets have been silenced and miracles have ceased, and Jewish politics has come to depend not on commands from on high, but on the boldness and belief of each woman and man. Esther takes radical action to win friends and allies, reverse terrifying decrees, and bring God's justice into the world with her own hands. Hazony's The Dawn has long been a cult classic, read at Purim each year the world over. Twenty years on, this revised edition brings the book to much wider attention. Three controversial new chapters address the astonishingly radical theology that emerges from amid the political intrigues of the book.
A revealing look at the Jewish American encounter with Buddhism Today, many Jewish Americans are embracing a dual religious identity, practicing Buddhism while also staying connected to their Jewish roots. This book tells the story of Judaism's encounter with Buddhism in the United States, showing how it has given rise to new contemplative forms within American Judaism-and shaped the way Americans understand and practice Buddhism. Taking readers from the nineteenth century to today, Emily Sigalow traces the history of these two traditions in America and explains how they came together. She argues that the distinctive social position of American Jews led them to their unique engagement with Buddhism, and describes how people incorporate aspects of both into their everyday lives. Drawing on a wealth of original in-depth interviews conducted across the nation, Sigalow explores how Jewish American Buddhists experience their dual religious identities. She reveals how Jewish Buddhists confound prevailing expectations of minority religions in America. Rather than simply adapting to the majority religion, Jews and Buddhists have borrowed and integrated elements from each other, and in doing so they have left an enduring mark on the American consciousness. American JewBu highlights the leading role that American Jews have played in the popularization of meditation and mindfulness in the United States, and the profound impact that these two venerable traditions have had on one another.
It is well-known that Jesus was Jewish and that there are considerable connections between the Old and New Testaments. This book details the astonishingly large number of these connections and reveals how much of what Jesus taught had already been written in the Old Testament. The fact that he was Jewish is often interpreted ethnically and not in terms of his religion. When the pagan additions to Christian doctrine are removed what is left is the teaching of a superlative Jewish prophet. What is revealed in this book is the unexpectedly large overlap between Judaism and Christianity. The main body consists of comparative quotes from the Old and New Testaments, followed by a chapter showing the darker side of Jesus' teaching, which is a result of his place, time and circumstances. There is a chapter quoting those teachings which transcend his circumstances and are his spiritual gift to humanity. The book ends by discussing antisemitism historically and includes an analysis of Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church's alleged exoneration of the Jewish people from the attribution of eternal guilt for the crucifixion. Rescuing Jesus from Christianity will appeal to readers with an interest in religion, spirituality and inter-faith communication.
Nobel Prize - winning author S. Y. Agnon was the foremost Hebrew writer of the twentieth century. His work navigated the world of Jewish tradition and that of secular modernity, capturing the conflict between old and new. In ""Language, Absence, Play"", Yaniv Hagbi explores Agnon's theological and philosophical attitudes toward language, attitudes that to a large extent shaped his poetics and aesthetic values. Drawing on anthologies compiled by Agnon, among others, Hagbi examines his theoretical orientation and the ways he integrated into his poetics ideas about language that are rooted in Jewish theology. In doing so, Hagbi casts light on profound parallels between religiously inspired Jewish hermeneutics and the language-centered superstructuralist theories that have dominated academic discourse in the humanities since the mid-twentieth century. With deep insight and lucid prose, ""Language, Absence, Play"" demonstrates how the traditional and the contemporary forces shaping Agnon's literary art inform and transform each other.
The Holy Land is a focus for people of many different faiths, its historical and spiritual significance well documented. Israel Through My Eyes, however, written by a young Christian Ghanaian doctor, offers a new perspective on this unique country. On the one hand, it is an extremely personal account of life as a black man in Israel, staying in a student flat with Orthodox Jews. We learn of his growing understanding of the Jewish faith, others' reactions to his own faith, and the effects that such a diverse community has on the practices of the hospital at which he works. On the other, it is a detailed, informative and often humorous guide to the principal landmarks of Israel and will be of interest to anyone who wishes to get a greater insight into life in a place where religious devoutness and political upheaval so closely co-exist.
The religious buildings of the Jewish community in Britain have never been explored in print. Lavishly illustrated with previously unpublished images and photographs taken specially by English Heritage, this book traces the architecture of the synagogue in Britain and Ireland from its discreet Georgian- and Regency-era beginnings to the golden age of the grand "cathedral synagogues" of the High Victorian period. Sharman Kadish sheds light on obscure and sometimes underappreciated architects who designed synagogues for all types of worshipers--from Orthodox and Reform congregations to Yiddish-speaking immigrants in the 1900s. She examines the relationship between architectural style and minority identity in British society and looks at design issues in the contemporary synagogue.
How can I lead others with authority and kindness? How can I strengthen my self-control? How can I balance work and family? How can I get along with difficult coworkers? How can I best relate to people in need? Enter the Talmudic study house with innovative teacher Rabbi Amy Scheinerman and continue the Jewish values-based conversations that began two thousand years ago. The Talmud of Relationships, Volume 2 shows how the ancient Jewish texts of Talmud can facilitate modern relationship building-with family members, colleagues, strangers, the broader Jewish community, and ourselves. Scheinerman devotes each chapter to a different Talmud text exploring relationships-and many of the selections are fresh, largely unknown passages. Overcoming the roadblocks of language and style that can keep even the curious from diving into Talmud, she walks readers through the logic of each passage, offering full textual translations and expanding on these richly complex conversations, so that each of us can weigh multiple perspectives and draw our own conclusions. Scheinerman provides grounding in why the selected passage matters, its historical background, a gripping narrative of the rabbis' evolving commentary, insightful anecdotes and questions for thought and discussion, and a cogent synopsis. Through this firsthand encounter with the core text of Judaism, readers of all levels-Jews and non-Jews, newcomers and veterans, students and teachers, individuals and chevruta partners and families alike-will discover the treasure of the oral Torah.
Why does the story of secret Jews fascinate us? What is crypto-Judaism? In recent decades religious practices that were preserved in hiding for centuries have become more widely known. Specifically, families of Spanish Jewish descent have retained elements of Judaism for five hundred years. What incredible religious and cultural tenacity! For many these elements represent a discovered identity that helps to explain mysteries in their lives. Is a person Jewish by genes, cultural heritage, religious practice, or by choice? What survives for a person whose ancestors were Jewish five hundred years ago? Fractured Faiths traces the history of the Sephardic and converso (converted) Jews from their Golden Age to the twenty-first century, in both the land they left behind and in the lands they later settled. Documents, maps, paintings, and objects illuminate the history of Sephardic Jews from Spain to Mexico to New Mexico.
This book sheds light on some of the Jews most daunting and mystifying questions: What is our role on this planet? Are we truly "the chosen people"? If we are, what were we chosen for? What is causing anti-Semitism, and can it be cured? Using numerous quotes and references from Jewish sages and historians of all times, the book offers a roadmap for achieving one of the Jews most sought-after, yet elusive goals: social cohesion and unity. Indeed, unity is the very gift that the Jews alone can give to the world, and which the world impatiently awaits. When we unite and share our unity with all, then peace, brotherly love, and happiness will forever prevail throughout the world.
Maimonides was the greatest Jewish philosopher and legal scholar of the medieval period, a towering figure who has had a profound and lasting influence on Jewish law, philosophy, and religious consciousness. This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to his life and work, revealing how his philosophical sensibility and outlook informed his interpretation of Jewish tradition. Moshe Halbertal vividly describes Maimonides's childhood in Muslim Spain, his family's flight to North Africa to escape persecution, and their eventual resettling in Egypt. He draws on Maimonides's letters and the testimonies of his contemporaries, both Muslims and Jews, to offer new insights into his personality and the circumstances that shaped his thinking. Halbertal then turns to Maimonides's legal and philosophical work, analyzing his three great books--Commentary on the Mishnah, the Mishneh Torah, and the Guide of the Perplexed. He discusses Maimonides's battle against all attempts to personify God, his conviction that God's presence in the world is mediated through the natural order rather than through miracles, and his locating of philosophy and science at the summit of the religious life of Torah. Halbertal examines Maimonides's philosophical positions on fundamental questions such as the nature and limits of religious language, creation and nature, prophecy, providence, the problem of evil, and the meaning of the commandments. A stunning achievement, Maimonides offers an unparalleled look at the life and thought of this important Jewish philosopher, scholar, and theologian.
A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax introduces and abridges the syntactical features of the original language of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. An intermediate-level reference grammar for Biblical Hebrew, it assumes an understanding of elementary phonology and morphology, and it defines and illustrates the fundamental syntactical features of Biblical Hebrew that most intermediate-level readers struggle to master. The volume divides Biblical Hebrew syntax and morphology into four parts. The first three cover the individual words (nouns, verbs, and particles) with the goal of helping the reader move from morphological and syntactical observations to meaning and significance. The fourth section moves beyond phrase-level phenomena and considers the larger relationships of clauses and sentences. Since publication of the first edition, research on Biblical Hebrew syntax has substantially evolved. This new edition incorporates these developments through detailed descriptions of grammatical phenomena from a linguistics approach. It retains the labels and terminology used in the first edition to maintain continuity with the majority of entry-level and more advanced grammars.
This groundbreaking collection presents for the first time in English a substantial body of poetry that emerges directly from the sublime and often startling world of Jewish mysticism. Taking up Gershom Scholem's call to plumb the "tremendous poetic potential" concealed in the Kabbalistic tradition, Peter Cole provides dazzling renderings of work composed on three continents over a period of some fifteen hundred years. In addition to the translations and the texts in their original languages, Cole supplies a lively and insightful introduction, along with accessible commentaries to the poems. Aminadav Dykman adds an elegant afterword that places the work in the context of world literature. As a whole, the collection brings readers into the fascinating force field of Kabbalistic verse, where the building blocks of both language and existence itself are unveiled. Excerpts from The Poetry of Kabbalah have been featured in the Paris Review, Poetry, and Conjunctions. "Studded with insight, and written with great verve, this book will become a classic."-Lawrence Fine, author of Physician of the Soul, Healer of the Cosmos
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