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Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction

by Benjamin D. Sommer New York University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 336 pages
AU$63.00 NZ$66.09
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What do Jews think scripture is? How do the People of the Book conceive of the Book of Books? In what ways is it authoritative? Who has the right to interpret it? Is it divinely or humanly written? And have Jews always thought about the Bible in the same way? In seventeen cohesive and rigorously researched essays, this volume traces the way some of the most important Jewish thinkers throughout history have addressed these questions from the rabbinic era through the medieval Islamic world to modern Jewish scholarship. They address why different Jewish thinkers, writers, and communities have turned to the Bible - and what they expect to get from it. Ultimately, argues editor Benjamin D. Sommer, in understanding the ways Jews construct scripture, we begin to understand the ways Jews construct themselves.
''Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction is a lucid, engaging, and creative project that promises to expand the ways in which we view the complex relationship between Judaism and its scriptures. This volume includes essays by experts in their field - from antiquity to the present - who, using their scholarly expertise, write essays that exhibit passion for the material refracted through a critical lens. Each essay deftly combines a general thesis supported by many examples and creative readings of scriptural texts. Jewish Concepts of Scripture will dispel many false notions of the role the Hebrew Bible plays in the development of Judaism. It will introduce the reader to the textured way in which Jews throughout history embrace, subvert, sanctify, read and (mis) read, the formative canon of their tradition.'' Shaul Magid, Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies, Indiana University Bloomington ''For anyone seeking to learn or teach about the role of the Bible in Jewish cultural and intellectual history, this book is the academic equivalent of a god-send. It presents cutting-edged research and is very specific in its insights, and yet it is also very clear, accessible, and comprehensive. A great contribution.'' Steven Weitzman, Daniel E. Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion, Stanford University