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his book deals with two problems central to Jewish theology: the chosenness of the Jewish people and the rationale of the ritual commandments in Judaism. The two topics are naturally connected since the ritual commandments of Judaism most clearly demarcate Judaism from other religions and therefore contribute to the sense of chosenness so widespread among Jews. Michael Wyschogrod, Baruch College These philosophical reflections sharpen our understanding of Jewish existence and deepen our knowledge of the history of Jewish philosophy, both medieval and modern.
Past Imperatives explores the nature and development of Jewish ethics by analyzing three important sets of issues: the relationship between Jewish law and ethics, the relationship between Jewish ethics and theology, and the problems and prospects for constructing a contemporary Jewish ethic. The penetrating and provocative essays are drawn from a number of fields, including legal theory, literary theory, and theory of religion. These studies illuminate many previously uninvestigated aspects of Jewish biomedical ethics, covenant theology, and textual interpretation in Judaism.
Five twelfth- and thirteenth-century polemicists from southern France and northern Spain are the first known Jewish polemicists from western Christendom, who identified major Christian challenges, as well as appropriate responses for fellow Jews under ever-increasing religious pressure. This analysis suggests that the Jewish polemicists ultimately attempted to offer their followers a significantly contrasting portrait of Christian and Jewish society: the former as powerful but irrational and morally debased; the latter as weak, but profoundly rational and morally elevated.
The set of Jewish mystical teachings known as Kabbalah are often imagined as timeless texts, teachings that have been passed down through the millennia. Yet, as this groundbreaking new study shows, Kabbalah flourished in a specific time and place, emerging in response to the social prejudices that Jews faced.Hartley Lachter, a scholar of religion studies, transports us to medieval Spain, a place where anti-Semitic propaganda was on the rise and Jewish political power was on the wane. Kabbalistic Revolution proposes that, given this context, Kabbalah must be understood as a radically empowering political discourse.
In "Reading the Rabbis" Eva De Visscher examines the Hebrew scholarship of Englishman Herbert of Bosham (c.1120-c.1194). Chiefly known as the loyal secretary and hagiographer of Archbishop Thomas Becket and enemy of Henry II, he appears here as an outstanding Hebraist whose linguistic proficiency and engagement with Rabbinic sources, including contemporary teachers, were unique for a northern-European Christian of his time. Two commentaries on the Psalms by Herbert form the focus of scrutiny.
Until the last century, it was generally agreed that Maimonides was a great defender of Judaism, and Spinoza—as an Enlightenment advocate for secularization—among its key opponents. However, a new scholarly consensus has recently emerged that the teachings of the two philosophers were in fact much closer than was previously thought. In his perceptive new book, Joshua Parens sets out to challenge the now predominant view of Maimonides as a protomodern forerunner to Spinoza—and to show that a chief reason to read Maimonides is in fact to gain distance from our progressively secularized worldview.T
We think of the "Hebrew Bible" as the Book – and yet it was produced by a largely non-literate culture in which writing, editing, copying, interpretation, and public reading were the work of a professional elite. The scribes of ancient Israel are indeed the main figures behind the "Hebrew Bible", and in this book Karel van der Toorn tells their story for the first time.
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism
On a typical weekday, men of the Beverly-La Brea Orthodox community wake up early, beginning their day with Talmud reading and prayer at 5:45am, before joining Los Angeles’ traffic. Those who work “Jewish jobs”—teachers, kosher supervisors, or rabbis—will stay enmeshed in the Orthodox world throughout the workday. But even for the majority of men who spend their days in the world of gentiles, religious life constantly reasserts itself. Neighborhood fixtures like Jewish schools and synagogues are always after more involvement; evening classes and prayers pull them in; the streets themselves seem to remind them of who they are.
Jewish esotericism is the oldest and most influential continuous occult tradition in the West. Presenting lore that can spiritually enrich your life, this one-of-a-kind encyclopedia is devoted to the esoteric in Judaism―the miraculous and the mysterious. In this second edition, Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis has added over thirty new entries and significantly expanded over one hundred other entries, incorporating more knowledge and passages from primary sources.This comprehensive treasury of Jewish teachings, drawn from sources spanning Jewish scripture, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Kabbalah, and other esoteric branches of Judaism, is exhaustively researched yet easy to use.
In "The Second Jewish Revolt: The Bar Kokhba War, 132-136 C.E.," Menahem Mor offers a detailed account on the Bar Kokhba Revolt in an attempt to understand the second revolt against the Romans. Since the Bar Kokhba Revolt did not have a historian who devoted a comprehensive book to the event, Mor used a variety of historical materials including literary sources (Jewish, Christian, Greek and Latin) and archaeological sources (inscriptions, coins, military diplomas, hideouts, and refuge complexes).
The study of the ancient Jewish Diaspora is developing in exciting new directions as a result of fresh archaeological material and new frameworks of interpretation. The six studies collected in this volume have been composed by an international group of scholars at the forefront of Diaspora studies and explore key features of the cultural dynamics of the Jewish Diaspora.Studies on Jews in Rome (Margaret Williams) and Alexandria (Sarah Pearce) examine the dialectic of local and translocal identities, including a new theory on Jewish sabbath-fasting in Rome.
While many studies on Isaiah are interested in the formation of the book, relatively few have addressed the development of the oracles concerning foreign nations. Like many other prophetic books, the book of Isaiah contains a section of foreign nations oracles (Isaiah 13-23), but within this collection is a smaller grouping of literary material that deals with the nations of Cush (Ethiopia) and Egypt (Isaiah 18-20). This book considers the formation of this smaller group about Cush and Egypt within the literary context of the growth of the larger collection and the development of these individual chapters.
Hidden in a secret book of cosmology, written in the ancient Hebrew tongue, long forgotten but not lost by mankind, is a description of a mysterious cube formed from the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This cube of letters is constructed of a center, three interior dimensions, six faces, and twelve edges. These twenty-two components form the cube, and also reveal a map that clearly shows where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are going in our evolutionary journey toward complete spiritual awakening.
The first-century C.E. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus is our main source of information for the early history of the Samaritans, a community closely related to Judaism whose development as an independent religion is commonly dated in the Hellenistic-Roman period. Josephusâ€TM two main works, Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, contain a number of passages that purport to describe the origin, character and actions of the Samaritans. In composing his histories, Josephus drew on different sources, some identifiable others unknown to us.
The articles in the present volume originate from a conference on “Ab-stract Law and Case Narrative in the Bible and in Neighbouring Ancient Cultures”, which was held, with the support of the Deutsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft, at Marburg in September 2009. The focus of the conference was set on the manifold ways in which nar-rative texts—the fundamental difference in genre notwithstanding—can relate to the laws and legal traditions that are formative in their cultural background. Fictional narrative can be critical of a legal reality or ideal; echo attempts to change it; serve exhortatory purposes; or simply reflect current legal practice.
Running from Home chronicles Rita’s flight from the Nazis as it was perceived by a young child. The sense of bewilderment, loss of home, and suffering from hunger and cold create an indelible mark upon her mind and do not leave when she eventually comes to America. Raised in different cultures, she never feels at home but is always the outsider, trying to reconcile her old life and experiences with her new surroundings. Her youth and adolescence are assaulted by the demons that have been imprinted on her young brain.
For centuries, dyed fabrics ranked among the most expensive objects of the ancient Mediterranean world, fetching up to 20 times their weight in gold. Huge fortunes were made from and lost to them, and battles were fought over control of the industry. The few who knew the dyes’ complex secrets carefully guarded the valuable knowledge. The Rarest Blue tells the amazing story of tekhelet, or hyacinth blue, the elusive sky-blue dye mentioned 50 times in the Hebrew Bible. The Minoans discovered it; the Phoenicians stole the technique; Cleopatra adored it; and Jews—obeying a Biblical commandment to affix a single thread of the radiant color to the corner of their garments—risked their lives for it.
This volume is the most recent collective contribution of a group of biblical scholars and archaeologists who are engaged in an ongoing debate about the nature of family and household religion in ancient Israel and its environment. It is intended to complement the volume Household and Family Religion in Antiquity, edited by John Bodel and Saul M. Olyan, which grew out of a conference held at Brown University in 2005 on household and family religion in the ancient Mediterranean world, with an emphasis on cross-cultural comparison.
This book investigates the character of the Peshitta in Psalms 90-150 in order to facilitate the proper use of this version in textual criticism. It identifies the Peshitta’s translation techniques and it discusses the version’s interpretation of difficult passages in the Hebrew text. The question of the Hebrew Vorlage behind the Peshitta Psalter is raised. Also investigated here is the relationship between the Peshitta Psalms and the LXX and Targum, and an assessment of the supposed influence of these versions on the Peshitta Psalter is offered.
This work defends a new thesis for the word "hebel", a word with which the interpreters of Ecclesiastes have struggled (traditionally meaning "vanity", but literally meaning "vapour"). The positions adopted by interpreters have influenced their interpretation of the book as a whole. This book presents a methodology for metaphor and symbol, then demonstrates how Qohelet employs hebel in the book with referents related to "insubstantiality", "transience" and "foulness".
Why have Jews risen to the top of the business and professional world in numbers staggeringly out of proportion to their percentage of the American population? Steven Silbiger has the answer. Based on the author’s synthesis of wide reading and research, The Jewish Phenomenon sets forth seven principles that form the bedrock of Jewish financial success.With startling statistics, a wealth of anecdotes, and the fascinating details behind some of America’s biggest business success stories, Silbiger convincingly shows how these seven keys have helped the Jews historically and how they continue to ensure Jewish success today.
In examining one of the defining events of the twentieth century, Doris L. Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural, and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, this revised, third edition discusses not only the persecution of the Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: Roma, homosexuals, Poles, Soviet POWs, the disabled, and other groups deemed undesirable. In clear and eloquent prose, Bergen explores the two interconnected goals that drove the Nazi German program of conquest and genocide-purification of the so-called Aryan race and expansion of its living space-and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II.
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