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A JPS classic reissue of the critical volume, based on manuscript and early editions. Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael is a classic collection of midrash. It contains commentary on a large part of the Book of Exodus (chapters 12 to 23) and represents the two main modes of interpretation: the halakhah (legal doctrine), and the aggadah (moral and religious teachings). The work also contains allusions to historical events and ancient legends not found elsewhere. A new introduction by noted scholar David Stern highlights the work, now published in a convenient two-volume set. It retains the original text from the JPS 1933 edition, reset in a modern, readable typeface, with Hebrew and English on facing pages and the original indexes. This classic work is widely recognized as a model of meticulous and thorough scholarship. Its translation is accurate, straightforward, and usable by scholars, students, and lay readers. Out of print for many years, it will be heralded as an important reissue that should belong to every rabbi, rabbinical school, and Jewish Studies professor, and will be an important addition to synagogue libraries and public libraries with Judaica collections.
The developments in Judaism which occurred during the Second Temple period (c. 550 BC to 100 AD) were of great importance for the nature of Jewish religion in later centuries, yet few studies have examined the era in full. Now Lester L. Grabbe's lucid and accessible volume provides a much-needed encyclopedic study and holistic interpretation of the period. Topics examined include: * views about God and the spirit world * the temple and priesthood * scripture and synagogue * the main religious sects and revolutionary movements * eschatology and messianism * magic and predicting the future * religion in the Jewish diaspora * converts and 'Godfearers'. With an extensive, up-to-date bibliography, plus numerous helpful cross-references, summaries and syntheses, this book is essential reading for scholars and students of the history of Jewish religion. It will also be of great value as a reference tool.
The eighth and final volume of The Cambridge History of Judaism covers the period from roughly 1815-2000. Exploring the breadth and depth of Jewish societies and their manifold engagements with aspects of the modern world, it offers overviews of modern Jewish history, as well as more focused essays on political, social, economic, intellectual and cultural developments. The first part presents a series of interlocking surveys that address the history of diverse areas of Jewish settlement. The second part is organized around the emancipation. Here, chapter themes are grouped around the challenges posed by and to this elemental feature of Jewish life in the modern period. The third part adopts a thematic approach organized around the category 'culture', with the goal of casting a wide net in terms of perspectives, concepts and topics. The final part then focuses on the twentieth century, offering readers a sense of the dynamic nature of Judaism and Jewish identities and affiliations.
Written by four outstanding Torah scholars, the JPS Torah Commentary series represents a fusion of the best of the old and new. Utilizing the latest research to enhance our understanding of the biblical text, it takes its place as one of the most authoritative yet accessible Bible commentaries of our day. The JPS Torah Commentary series guides readers through the words and ideas of the Torah. Each volume is the work of a scholar who stands at the pinnacle of his field. every page contains the complete traditional Hebrew text, with cantillation notes, the JPS translation of the Holy Scriptures, aliyot breaks, Masoretic notes, and commentary by a distinguished Hebrew Bible scholar, integrating classical and modern sources. Each volume also contains supplementary essays that elaborate upon key words and themes, a glossary of commentators and sources, extensive bibliographic notes, and maps.
Under the brutal conditions of the Dachau-Kaufering concentration camp, a handful of young Jews resolved to resist their Nazi oppressors. Their weapons were their words. Beginning with the Soviet occuption of Kovno, the members of Irgun Brith Zion circulated an underground journal, ""Nitzotz"" (""Spark""), in which they debated Zionist politics and laid plans for postwar settlment in Palestine. When the Kovno ghetto was destroyed, several contributors to ""Nitzotz"" were deported to the camps of Dachau. Against all odds, they did not lay down their pens. ""Nitzotz"" is the only known Hebrew-language publication to have appeared consistently throughout the Nazi occupation anywhere in Europe. Its authors believed that their intellectual defiance would insulate them against the dehumanizing cruelty of the concentration camp and equip them to lead the postwar effort for the physical and spiritual regeneration of European Jewry. Laura Weinrib presents this remarkable document to English readers for the first time. Along with a translation of the five remaining Dachau-Kaufering issues, the book includes an extensive critical introduction. ""Nitzotz"" is a testament to the resilience of those struggling for survival.
Articles examine the city of Jerusalem and other Jewish communities of the Mediterranean diaspora, as reflected in the writings of Luke, Josephus and Philo. Topics covered include social identity, everyday life and religious practice. This will be of interest to students of Roman history, biblical studies, ancient Judaism and Hellenistic history.
Universal equality is a treasured political concept in France, but recent anxiety over the country's Muslim minority has led to an emphasis on a new form of universalism, one promoting loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. This timely book offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. Through close and contextualized readings of the way that major novelists, philosophers, filmmakers, and political figures have struggled with the question of integrating Jews into French society, Maurice Samuels draws lessons about how the French have often understood the universal in relation to the particular. Samuels demonstrates that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of its reach. He traces the development of this discourse through key moments in French history, from debates over granting Jews civil rights during the Revolution, through the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, and up to the rise of a "new antisemitism" in recent years. By recovering the forgotten history of a more open, pluralistic form of French universalism, Samuels points toward new ways of moving beyond current ethnic and religious dilemmas and argues for a more inclusive view of what constitutes political discourse in France.
Jews, Christians and Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue explores the ways in which divergent ethnic, national and religious communities interacted with one another within the synagogue in the Greco-Roman period. It presents new perspectives regarding the development of the synagogue and its significance of this institution for understanding religion and society under the Roman Empire.
Volume 19 of The Jewish Law Annual is a festschrift in honor of Professor Neil S. Hecht. It contains thirteen articles, ten in English and three in Hebrew. Several articles are jurisprudential in nature, focusing on analysis of halakhic institutions and concepts. Elisha Ancselovits discusses the concept of the prosbul, asking whether it is correct to construe it as a legal fiction, as several scholars have asserted. He takes issue with this characterization of the prosbul, and with other scholarly readings of Tannaitic law in general. The concepts of dignity and shame are addressed in two very different articles, one by Nahum Rakover, and the other by Hanina Ben-Menahem. The former discusses halakhic sources pertaining to the dignity inherent in human existence, and the importance of nurturing it. The latter presents a fascinating survey of actual legal practices that contravened this haklakhic norm. Attestations of these practices are adduced not only from halakhic and semi-halakhic documents, but also from literary, historical, and ethnographic sources. Three articles tackle topical issues of considerable contemporary interest. Bernard S. Jackson comments on legal issues relating to the concept of conversion arising from the story of the biblical heroine Ruth, and compares that concept to the notion of conversion invoked by a recent English court decision on eligibility for admission to denominational schools. An article by Dov I. Frimer explores the much agonized-over question of halakhic remedies for the wife whose husband refuses to grant her a get (bill of divorce), precluding her remarriage. Frimer s focus is the feasibility of inducing the husband to grant the get through monetary pressure, specifically, by awarding the chained wife compensatory tort damages. Tort remedies are also discussed in the third topical article, by Ronnie Warburg, on negligent misrepresentation by investment advisors. Two papers focus on theory of law. Shai Wozner explores the decision rules conduct rules dichotomy in the Jewish law context, clarifying how analysis of which category a given law falls under enhances our understanding of the law s intent. Daniel Sinclair explores the doctrine of normative transparency in the writings of Maimonides, the Hatam Sofer, and R. Abraham Isaac Kook, demonstrating that although transparency was universally endorsed as an ideal, some rabbinical authorities were willing to forego transparency where maintenance of the halakhic system itself was imperiled. An article by Alfredo M. Rabello reviews the primary and secondary literature on end-of-life issues, and contextualizes the much-discussed talmudic passage bAvoda Zara 18a. And an article by Chaim Saiman offers a critical survey of the main approaches to conceptualizing and teaching Jewish law in American universities; it also makes suggestions for new, and perhaps more illuminating pedagogic direction. In the Hebrew section, an intriguing article by Berachyahu Lifshitz presents a comparison of Persian and talmudic law on the status of promises and the role of the divine in their enforcement. Yuval Sinai discusses the halakhic law of evidence, particularly the well-known "two witnesses" requirement and departures from it. The volume closes with a historical article by Elimelech Westreich on the official rabbinical court in nineteenth century Jerusalem. It focuses on the rabbinical figures who served on the court, the communities for whom it adjudicated, and its role in the broader geopolitical and sociocultural context.
Few questions exert such a great fascination on human conscience as those related to the meaning of life, history, and death. The belief in the resurrection of the dead constitutes an answer to a real challenge: What is the meaning of life and history in the midst of a world in which evil, injustice, and ultimately death exist? Resurrection is an instrument serving a broader, more encompassing reality: the Kingdom of God. Such a utopian Kingdom gathers the final response to the problem of theodicy and to the enigma of history. This book seeks to understand the idea of resurrection not only as a theological but also as a philosophical category (as expression of the collective aspirations of humanity), combining historical, theological, and philosophical analyses in dialogue with some of the principal streams of contemporary Western thought.
The Bible and Jews in Medieval Spain examines the grammatical, exegetical, philosophical and mystical interpretations of the Bible that took place in Spain during the medieval period. The Bible was the foundation of Jewish culture in medieval Spain. Following the scientific analysis of Hebrew grammar which emerged in al-Andalus in the ninth and tenth centuries, biblical exegesis broke free of homiletic interpretation and explored the text on grammatical and contextual terms. While some of the earliest commentary was in Arabic, scholars began using Hebrew more regularly during this period. The first complete biblical commentaries in Hebrew were written by Abraham Ibn 'Ezra, and this set the standard for the generations that followed. This book analyses the approach and unique contributions of these commentaries, moving on to those of later Christian Spain, including the Qimhi family, Nahmanides and his followers and the esoteric-mystical tradition. Major topics in the commentaries are compared and contrasted. Thus, a unified picture of the whole fabric of Hebrew commentary in medieval Spain emerges. In addition, the book describes the many Spanish Jewish biblical manuscripts that have remained and details the history of printed editions and Spanish translations (for Jews and Christians) by medieval Spanish Jews. This book will appeal to scholars and students of medieval Spain, as well as those interested in the history of religion and cultural history.
Reading Jewish Religious Texts introduces students to a range of significant post-biblical Jewish writing. It covers diverse genres such as prayer and liturgical poetry, biblical interpretation, religious law, philosophy, mysticism and works of ethical instruction. Each text is newly translated into English and accompanied by a detailed explanation to help clarify the concepts and arguments. The commentary also situates the work within its broader historical and ideological context, giving readers an enhanced appreciation of its place in the Jewish religious experience. This volume includes a comprehensive timeline, glossary and bibliography.
Solomon's image as a wise king and the founder of Jerusalem Temple has become a fixture of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literature. Yet, there are essential differences between the portraits of Solomon that are presented in the Hebrew Bible. In this volume, Isaac Kalimi explores these differences, which reflect divergent historical contexts, theological and didactic concepts, stylistic and literary techniques, and compositional methods among the biblical historians. He highlights the uniqueness of each portrayal of Solomon - his character, birth, early life, ascension, and temple-building - through a close comparison of the early and late biblical historiographies. Whereas the authors of Samuel-Kings stay closely to their sources and offer an apology for Solomon's kingship, including its more questionable aspects, the Chronicler freely rewrites his sources in order to present the life of Solomon as he wished it to be. The volume will serve scholars and students seeking to understand biblical texts within their ancient Near Eastern contexts.
The first exhaustive treatment of Eastern European Jewish music tracing its roots from biblical times through its zenith in the nineteenth century to its decline in the late twentieth century. Sholom Kalib has taken on the crucial task of collecting, analyzing, and systematically presenting in over 160 examples a magnificent tradition to future generations of cantors, scholars of Jewish music, and music enthusiasts worldwide. Traditionally, this body of music was a source of great strength, stability, and inspiration to Eastern European Jews amid the uncertainties and upheavals of their everyday lives. With this volume the author reacquaints acculturated Jews with a vital and largely unknown part of their heritage. Comprehensive in breadth and scope, the book will serve as a standard scholarly reference for musicians, cantors, and musicologists.
The forgotten legacy of religious Jewish anarchism, and the adventures and ideas of its key figures, finally comes to light in this book. Set in the decades surrounding both world wars, No masters but God identifies a loosely connected group of rabbis and traditionalist thinkers who explicitly appealed to anarchist ideas in articulating the meaning of the Torah, traditional practice, Jewish life and the mission of modern Jewry. Full of archival discoveries and first translations from Yiddish and Hebrew, it explores anarcho-Judaism in its variety through the works of Yaakov Meir Zalkind, Yitshak Nahman Steinberg, Yehudah Leyb Don-Yahiya, Avraham Yehudah Heyn, Natan Hofshi, Shmuel Alexandrov, Yehudah Ashlag and Aaron Shmuel Tamaret. With this ground-breaking account, Hayyim Rothman traces a complicated story about the modern entanglement of religion and anarchism, pacifism and Zionism, prophetic anti-authoritarianism and mystical antinomianism. -- .
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.
A revealing look at Jewish men and women who secretly explore the outside world, in person and online, while remaining in their ultra-Orthodox religious communities What would you do if you questioned your religious faith, but revealing that would cause you to lose your family and the only way of life you had ever known? Hidden Heretics tells the fascinating, often heart-wrenching stories of married ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and women in twenty-first-century New York who lead "double lives" in order to protect those they love. While they no longer believe that God gave the Torah to Jews at Mount Sinai, these hidden heretics continue to live in their families and religious communities, even as they surreptitiously break Jewish commandments and explore forbidden secular worlds in person and online. Drawing on five years of fieldwork with those living double lives and the rabbis, life coaches, and religious therapists who minister to, advise, and sometimes excommunicate them, Ayala Fader investigates religious doubt and social change in the digital age. The internet, which some ultra-Orthodox rabbis call more threatening than the Holocaust, offers new possibilities for the age-old problem of religious uncertainty. Fader shows how digital media has become a lightning rod for contemporary struggles over authority and truth. She reveals the stresses and strains that hidden heretics experience, including the difficulties their choices pose for their wives, husbands, children, and, sometimes, lovers. In following those living double lives, who range from the religiously observant but open-minded on one end to atheists on the other, Fader delves into universal quandaries of faith and skepticism, the ways digital media can change us, and family frictions that arise when a person radically transforms who they are and what they believe. In stories of conflicts between faith and self-fulfillment, Hidden Heretics explores the moral compromises and divided loyalties of individuals facing life-altering crossroads.
There are times in life when we are caught utterly unprepared: a death in the family, the end of a relationship, a health crisis. These are the times when the solid ground we thought we stood on disappears beneath our feet, leaving us reeling and heartbroken, as we stumble back to our faith. The Days of Awe encompass the weeks preceding Rosh Hashanah up to Yom Kippur, a period in which Jews take part in a series of rituals and prayers that reenact the journey of the soul through the world from birth to death. This is a period of contemplation and repentance, comparable to Lent and Ramadan. Yet, for Rabbi Alan Lew, the real purpose of this annual passage is for us to experience brokenheartedness and open our heart to God. In This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared, Lew has marked out a journey of seven distinct stages, one that draws on these rituals to awaken our soul and wholly transform us. Weaving together Torah readings, Buddhist parables, Jewish fables and stories from his own life, Lew lays bare the meanings of this ancient Jewish passage. He reveals the path from terror to acceptance, confusion to clarity, doubt to belief, and from complacency to awe. In the tradition of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, This Is Real And You Are Completely Unprepared enables believers of all faiths to reconnect to their faith with a passion and intimacy that will resonate throughout the year.
The Jews of France have been liberated for over two centuries; they have been considered free citizens and equal to their compatriots. What purpose, then, does it serve to study their citizenship today? Until World War II, French Jews called themselves "Israelites;" they were deeply patriotic and had found a place for themselves in France's "community of citizens." However outbursts of anti-Semitism during that period reminded them that their new status prevented neither hate nor rejection; they had to persevere in the struggle for citizenship equity.
France has not been spared from recent movements demanding recognition of particular identities in the public space. Ethnicity in French political life has become increasingly obvious, in spite of the constant assertion of "republican values." Questions about immigration, nationality, and integration are constantly in the forefront of public life. Though, in France, the existence of ethnic and religious communities is not legally recognized, certain groups are designated as separate, often creating conflicts among them.
This important book poses the question of whether Christian proclamation can be made ethically safe for the Jewish neighbour. Boesel assesses two major approaches to a Christian theology of Judaism - those exemplified by Rosemary Radford Ruether and Karl Barth. This book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of systematics, ethics, and homiletics at the intersection of Jewish-Christian relations.
Is there life after death? What is the nature of our existence?To know the answers is to nd greater purpose, understanding and comfort in our lives and in our deaths. Updated!With candor, questioning and sharp-eyed scholarship, Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz recounts his own experiences and the rsthand accounts others have shared with him, propelling his own journey from skeptic to believer that, indeed, the soul does survive bodily death.An inexplicable "mistake" he makes while conducting a funeral; his neurologist wife's startling experience during a channeling session with a medium; the awesome moments Rabbi Spitz encounters at the deathbed of a dying friend these events and others punctuate his quest to uncover the Jewish tradition s answers about what happens to our souls after death.In this updated second edition, Rabbi Spitz looks squarely at both sides of the issues (addressing, for example, the discrepancies in afterlife and reincarnation accounts).
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.
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