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See below for a selection of the latest books from Judaism: sacred texts category. Presented with a red border are the Judaism: sacred texts books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Judaism: sacred texts books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
Jewish Bible Translations is the first book to examine Jewish Bible translations from the third century BCE to our day. It is an overdue corrective of an important story that has been regularly omitted or downgraded in other histories of Bible translation. Examining a wide range of translations over twenty-four centuries, Leonard Greenspoon delves into the historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious contexts of versions in eleven languages: Arabic, Aramaic, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish. He profiles many Jewish translators, among them Buber, Hirsch, Kaplan, Leeser, Luzzatto, Mendelssohn, Orlinsky, and Saadiah Gaon, framing their aspirations within the Jewish and larger milieus in which they worked. Greenspoon differentiates their principles, styles, and techniques-for example, their choice to emphasize either literal reflections of the Hebrew or distinctive elements of the vernacular language-and their underlying rationales. As he highlights distinctive features of Jewish Bible translations, he offers new insights regarding their shared characteristics and their limits. Additionally, Greenspoon shows how profoundly Jewish translators and interpreters influenced the style and diction of the King James Bible. Accessible and authoritative for all from beginners to scholars, Jewish Bible Translations enables readers to make their own informed evaluations of individual translations and to holistically assess Bible translation within Judaism.
Jonathan Schofer offers the first theoretically framed examination of rabbinic ethics in several decades. Centering on one influential anthology, The Fathers according to Rabbi Nathan, Jonathan Schofer situates that text within a broader spectrum of rabbinic thought, while bringing rabbinic thought into dialogue with current scholarship on the self, ethics, theology, and the history of religions.
This work includes a student's introduction to the books of the Pentateuch . This textbook focuses primarily on the content and structure of the Pentateuch. The process which produced the Pentateuch and the long record of its use within Judaism and Christianity are intricate and fascinating stories, but it is the final forms of these five books to which we have the most reliable access. Discussions of historical and theological issues are included when they serve to illustrate the content and structure of the text. After an opening chapter, which introduces the major issues in the study of the Pentateuch, including a summary of the history of scholarship, a full chapter engages each of the five books. Attention to literary shape, texture, and artistry are at the forefront of the discussion, while historical and theological discussions are included where they are most informative. The book also includes many lists of textual data in each chapter. Most of these provide a view of features, which serve to connect and draw together the diverse literature of the Pentateuch. They are intended to serve as starting points for active textual research in a classroom setting. The material in this book is classroom tested and was even developed during successive opportunities to teach courses in the Pentateuch.
The Bible has always been vital to Jewish religious life, and it has been expounded in diverse ways. Perhaps the most influential body of Jewish biblical interpretation is the Midrash that was produced by expositors during the first five centuries CE. Many such teachings are collected in the Babylonian Talmud, the monumental compendium of Jewish law and lore that was accepted as the definitive statement of Jewish oral tradition for subsequent generations. However, many of the Talmud's interpretations of biblical passages appear bizarre or pointless. From Sermon to Commentary: Expounding the Bible in Talmudic Babylonia tries to explain this phenomenon by carefully examining representative passages from a variety of methodological approaches, paying particular attention to comparisons with Midrash composed in the Land of Israel. Based on this investigation, Eliezer Segal argues that the Babylonian sages were utilizing discourses that had originated in Israel as rhetorical sermons in which biblical interpretation was being employed in an imaginative, literary manner, usually based on the interplay between two or more texts from different books of the Bible. Because they did not possess their own tradition of homiletic preaching, the Babylonian rabbis interpreted these comments without regard for their rhetorical conventions, as if they were exegetical commentaries, resulting in the distinctive, puzzling character of Babylonian Midrash.
The life and times of an enduring work of Jewish spirituality The Babylonian Talmud, a postbiblical Jewish text that is part scripture and part commentary, is an unlikely bestseller. Written in a hybrid of Hebrew and Aramaic, it is often ambiguous to the point of incomprehension, and its subject matter reflects a narrow scholasticism that should hardly have broad appeal. Yet the Talmud has remained in print for centuries and is more popular today than ever. Barry Scott Wimpfheimer tells the remarkable story of this ancient Jewish book, explaining why the Talmud is at once a received source of traditional teachings, a touchstone of cultural authority, and a powerful symbol of Jewishness for supporters and critics alike.
In Rabbinic Tales of Destruction, Julia Watts Belser examines early Jewish accounts of the Roman conquest of Judea. Faced with stories of sexual violence, enslavement, forced prostitution, disability, and bodily risk, Belser argues, our readings of rabbinic narrative must wrestle with the brutal body costs of Roman imperial domination. She brings disability studies, feminist theory, and new materialist ecological thought to accounts of rabbinic catastrophe, revealing how rabbinic discourses of gender, sexuality, and the body are shaped in the shadow of empire. Focusing on the Babylonian Talmud's longest sustained account of the destruction of the Temple, Belser reveals Bavli Gittin's distinctive sex and gender politics. While Palestinian tales frequently castigate the 'wayward woman' for sexual transgressions that imperil the nation, Bavli Gittin's stories do not portray women's sexuality as a cause of catastrophe. The Bavli's resistance to Rome makes a critical difference. While other rabbinic texts commonly inveigh against women's beauty as the cause of sexual sin, Bavli Gittin's tales express a strikingly egalitarian discourse that laments the vulnerability of the beautiful Jewish body before the conqueror. Bavli Gittin's body politics, Belser maintains, align with a significant theological reorientation. While most early Jewish narratives link the destruction of the Temple to communal sin, Bavli Gittin's account does not explain catastrophe as divine chastisement. Instead of imagining God as the architect of Jewish suffering, it evokes God's empathy with the subjugated Jewish body. As it navigates the ruins of Jerusalem, Bavli Gittin forges a sharp critique of empire. Its critical discourse aims to pierce the power politics of Roman conquest, to protest the brutality of imperial dominance, and to make plain the scar that Roman violence leaves upon Jewish flesh.
The environmental crisis has prompted religious leaders and lay people to look to their traditions for resources to respond to environmental degradation. In this book, Mari Joerstad contributes to this effort by examining an ignored feature of the Hebrew Bible: its attribution of activity and affect to trees, fields, soil, and mountains. The Bible presents a social cosmos, in which humans are one kind of person among many. Using a combination of the tools of biblical studies and anthropological writings on animism, Joerstad traces the activity of non-animal nature through the canon. She shows how biblical writers go beyond sustainable development, asking us to be good neighbors to mountains and trees, and to be generous to our fields and vineyards. They envision human communities that are sources of joy to plants and animals. The Biblical writers' attention to inhabited spaces is particularly salient for contemporary environmental ethics in their insistence that our cities, suburbs, and villages contribute to flourishing landscapes.
Samuel Lebens takes the three principles of Jewish faith, as proposed by Rabbi Joseph Albo (1380-1444), in order to scrutinize and refine them with the toolkit of contemporary analytic philosophy. What could it mean for a perfect being to create a world from nothing? Could our world be anything more than a figment of God's imagination? What is the Torah? What does Judaism expect from a Messiah, and what would it mean for a world to be redeemed? These questions are explored in conversation with a wide array of Jewish sources and with an eye towards diverse fields of contemporary research, such as cosmology, philosophical logic, the ontology of literature, and the metaphysics of time. The Principles of Judaism articulates the most fundamental axioms of Orthodox Judaism in the vernacular of contemporary philosophy.
Hasidism is an influential spiritual revival movement within Judaism that began in the eighteenth century and continues to thrive today. One of the great classics of early Hasidism, The Light of the Eyes is a collection of homilies on the Torah, reading the entire Five Books of Moses as a guide to spiritual awareness and cultivation of the inner life. This is the first English translation of any major work from Hasidism's earliest and most creative period. Arthur Green's introduction and annotations survey the history of Hasidism and outline the essential religious and moral teachings of this mystical movement. The Light of the Eyes, by R. Menahem Nahum of Chernobyl, offers insights that remain as fresh and relevant for the contemporary reader as they were when first published in 1798.