Halbertal provides a panoramic survey of Jewish attitudes toward Scripture, provocatively organized around problems of normative and formative authority, with an emphasis on the changing status and functions of Mishnah, Talmud, and Kabbalah.
Edited by the acclaimed scholar Jacob Neusner, this thirty-five volume English translation of the Talmud Yerushalmi has been hailed by the Jewish Spectator as a "project...of immense benefit to students of rabbinic Judaism."
This book provides a new conceptual and methodological framework the social scientific study of Mishnah, as well as a series of case studies that apply social science perspectives to the analysis of Mishnah's evidence. The framework is one that takes full account of the historical and literary-historical issues that impinge upon the use of Mishnah for any scholarly purposes beyond philological study, including social scientific approaches to the materials. Based on the framework, each chapter undertakes, with appropriate methodological caveats, an avenue of inquiry open to the social scientist that brings to bear social scientific questions and modes of inquiry to Mishnaic evidence.
This book launches a landmark four-volume collaborative work exploring the political thought of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present. Each volume includes a selection of texts—from the Bible and Talmud, midrashic literature, legal responsa, treatises, and pamphlets—annotated for modern readers and accompanied by new commentaries written by eminent philosophers, lawyers, political theorists, and other scholars working in different fields of Jewish studies. These contributors join the arguments of the texts, agreeing or disagreeing, elaborating, refining, qualifying, and sometimes repudiating the political views of the original authors. The series brings the little-known and unexplored Jewish tradition of political thinking and writing into the light, showing where and how it resonates in the state of Israel, the chief diaspora settlements, and, more broadly, modern political experience. This first volume, Authority, addresses the basic question of who ought to rule the community: What claims to rule have been put forward from the time of the exodus from Egypt to the establishment of the state of Israel? How are such claims disputed and defended? What constitutes legitimate authority? The authors discuss the authority of God, then the claims of kings, priests, prophets, rabbis, lay leaders, gentile rulers (during the years of the exile), and the Israeli state. The volume concludes with several perspectives on the issue of whether a modern state can be both Jewish and democratic. Forthcoming volumes will address the themes of membership, community, and political vision. Among the contributors to this volume: Amy Gutmann Moshe Halbertal David Hartman Moshe Idel Sanford Levinson Susan Neiman Hilary Putnam Joseph Raz Michael Sandel Allan Silver Yael Tamir
This collection of papers by Aharon Oppenheimer contributes to the ongoing discussion of the history of the Jews in Palestine and Babylonia in the period of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Most of the papers appear now for the first time in translation from Hebrew. All of them have been selected and edited to suit this collection, and cross-references as well as indices have been added.
Through an innovative synthesis of narrative critique, oral-formulaic study, folkloric research, and literary analysis, Kristen H. Lindbeck reads all the Elijah narratives in the Babylonian Talmud and details the rise of a distinct, quasi-angelic figure who takes pleasure in ordinary interaction. During the Talmudic period of 50-500 C.E., Elijah developed into a recognizable character quite different from the Elijah of the Bible. The Elijah of the Talmud dispenses wisdom, advice, and, like the Elijah of Jewish folklore, helps people directly, even with material gifts. Lindbeck highlights particular features of the Elijah stories, allowing them to be grouped into generic categories and considered alongside Rabbinic literary motifs and non-Jewish traditions of late antiquity. She compares Elijah in the Babylonian Talmud to a range of characters angels, rabbis, wonder-workers, the angel of death, Christian saints, and even the Greek god Hermes. She concludes with a survey of Elijah's diverse roles from medieval times to today, throwing into brilliant relief the complex relationship between ancient Elijah traditions and later folktales and liturgy that show Elijah bringing benefits and blessings, appearing at circumcisions and Passover, and visiting households after the Sabbath.
Holy war, sanctioned or even commanded by God, is a common and recurring theme in the Hebrew Bible. Rabbinic Judaism, however, largely avoided discussion of holy war in the Talmud and related literatures for the simple reason that it became dangerous and self-destructive. Reuven Firestone's Holy War in Judaism is the first book to consider how the concept of ''holy war'' disappeared from Jewish thought for almost 2000 years, only to reemerge with renewed vigor in modern times. The revival of the holy war idea occurred with the rise of Zionism. As the necessity of organized Jewish engagement in military actions developed, Orthodox Jews faced a dilemma. There was great need for all to engage in combat for the survival of the infant state of Israel, but the Talmudic rabbis had virtually eliminated divine authorization for Jews to fight in Jewish armies. Once the notion of divinely sanctioned warring was revived, it became available to Jews who considered that the historical context justified more aggressive forms of warring. Among some Jews, divinely authorized war became associated not only with defense but also with a renewed kibbush or conquest, a term that became central to the discourse regarding war and peace and the lands conquered by the state of Israel in 1967. By the early 1980's, the rhetoric of holy war had entered the general political discourse of modern Israel. In Holy War in Judaism, Firestone identifies, analyzes, and explains the historical, conceptual, and intellectual processes that revived holy war ideas in modern Judaism.
“Like any classic, the Torah appears in different guises with each rereading. Its infinite layers of meaning and depth offer the opportunity to harvest anew, without any fear of exhausting its supply of wisdom, counsel, and kedushah (holiness). To encounter Torah is to encounter God.” --from the Introduction In this inspiring collection, Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson illuminates the sacred text at the heart of Jewish spirituality. Enlightening and original, The Everyday Torah brings the ancient text to life with poignant reflections that will guide to you to a deeper understanding of the Torah, of Judaism, of yourself. "Torah goes its weekly way, and we go ours, and do the two paths ever cross? They cross often in many minds and hearts, but when it is Bradley Shavit Artson who provides their point of intersection, the crossroads widens into a town square." --Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography "Every page is a joy to read. Many, many readers will treasure this book." --Richard Elliott Friedman, author of Commentary on the Torah and Who Wrote the Bible? "Rabbi Bradley Artson remains one of the most inviting of modern day teachers of Torah. This book will offer needed guidance and inspiration to all who turn its pages." --Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
More than 800 years after his death, the figure of Moses Maimonides—rabbi, philosopher, doctor, and communal leader—continues to fascinate. Studies in Maimonides and His Interpreters unites the traditional rabbinic approach and the modern academic perspective to forge a new understanding of this iconic teacher. This groundbreaking work by Marc B. Shapiro, which includes an essay on Maimonides’ approach to superstition in rabbinic literature and features three previously unpublished letters by Rabbi Joseph Kafih, will be essential reading for scholars and students of Jewish studies.