An Introduction to Judaism / Edition 2

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In this new edition, contemporary Judaism is presented in all its rich diversity, including both traditional and modern theologies as well as secular forms of Jewish identity. While the focus of the book is on developments that have taken place in the past 200 years, they are set against a historical background, going back to the Bible. Beginning with a description of the Jewish people as it exists in today's world, it studies the unique concept of Jewish peoplehood and its survival over the centuries in the face of many challenges. An account of the key texts is followed by studies of the different interpretations of the religion, and the ways that life is lived out both in the home and in the community. Jewish theology is described both historically and in terms of contemporary issues. An important and distinctive section considers the goals of Jewish life and faith.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the first edition: 'Nicholas de Lange has produced an excellent introduction to Judaism, which will doubtless become a standard textbook for undergraduate students. It is not an easy task to write a popular work, which does not err on the side of superficiality, but de Lange has written a lucid and impressive work. This book is one of the best short one volume works on the subject of Judaism to the knowledge of this reviewer.' CCJJ

'… this book is invaluable.' The Times Literary Supplement

'Written with clarity and in a very pleasing style.' Expository Times

'De Lange has written this remarkably comprehensive analysis of Jews and Judaism. … De Lange has clearly satisfied his objective, offering an overall introduction to Judaism that will be useful to both Jewish and non-Jewish readers.' Publishers Weekly

'… a valuable reference … but it is more than that, it provides stimulating introduction to a major world culture.' The Jerusalem Post

'… this volume provides a solid foundation for the study of contemporary Judaism. Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries.' Naomi E. Hafter, Library Journal

'For intelligent readers … who wish to know how Jews variously perceive and practise their Judaism this book is invaluable.' Louis Jacobs, The Times Literary Supplement

'It speaks about Judaism in interesting, if in somewhat broad strokes, always emphasizing the aspects of Judaism that impact contemporary world Jewry.' The Clergy Journal

'It manages as well to provide an excellent sense of the intertwined historical development of the Jews and their religious civilization … De Lange brings comprehensive learning to his task, a love of clear language, and a scrupulous fairness to all elements of the contemporary Jewish scene. I recommend the work for introductory college courses or for adult education settings.' Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521513500
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2009
  • Series: Introduction to Religion Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas de Lange is Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. A distinguished scholar and translator, he is author of The Penguin Dictionary of Judaism (2008), Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide (2005) edited with Miri Freud-Kandel, and of an edited translation of Colette Sirat's Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages (2002, 2008).
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations

List of tables


Map of the Jewish world in 1930

Map of the Jewish world in the 2000s

1 The Jews in the World 1

2 The Jewish People and Its Past 24

3 Jewish Books 43

4 The Jewish Religion 65

5 The Family 81

6 The Community 115

7 God and the Jewish People 150

8 Objectives 182

9 Judaism and the Future 208

Glossary 223

Further reading 235

Index 244

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