Masters of the Talmud: Their Lives and Views

Overview

Next to the Bible itself, the Talmud is hailed as the greatest literary achievement of the Jewish people. Composed by scholars in Palestine and Babylonia over fifteen centuries ago, the two encyclopedic works that comprise the Talmud contain discussions on subjects as diverse as astronomy, health, sex, domestic affairs, education, prayer, food, and superstition. In fact, so wide-ranging are its contents that those deeply involved in Talmudic study are said to be ?swimming in the...
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Overview

Next to the Bible itself, the Talmud is hailed as the greatest literary achievement of the Jewish people. Composed by scholars in Palestine and Babylonia over fifteen centuries ago, the two encyclopedic works that comprise the Talmud contain discussions on subjects as diverse as astronomy, health, sex, domestic affairs, education, prayer, food, and superstition. In fact, so wide-ranging are its contents that those deeply involved in Talmudic study are said to be “swimming in the sea of the Talmud.”

Achieving an understanding of the interpretations and rulings set forth in the Talmudic text requires not only concentrated study of the tractates themselves, but also a degree of insight into those whose opinions are presented. To that end, Rabbi Alfred J. Kolatch, bestselling author of The Jewish Book of Why, has combed the literature and extracted fascinating biographical and other pertinent information about the great thinkers who devoted their lives to the analysis and formulation of Jewish law. From family upbringing, relationships with colleagues, and treatment of spouses to sources of livelihood, attitudes toward personal hygiene, and methods of argumentation, this important work provides both scholar and novice with the perspective necessary to understand the thinking of the masters of the Talmud.

Startling in its scope, scholarly yet popularly written, The Masters of the Talmud is an essential tool for those interested in penetrating the surface of one of Judaism's most treasured creations.

Author Biography: Alfred J. Kolatch, a graduate of the Teachers' Institute of Yeshiva University and its College of Liberal Arts, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which subsequently awarded him the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa. From 1941 to 1948 he served as rabbi of congregations in Columbia, South Carolina, and Kew Gardens, New York, and as a chaplain in the United States Army. In 1948 he founded Jonathan David Publishers, of which he has been president and editor-in-chief since its inception.

Rabbi Kolatch has authored more than forty books, the most popular of which are the best-selling Jewish Book of Why and its sequel, The Second Jewish Book of Why, as well as The New Name Dictionary and The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names. His most recent works are Great Jewish Quotations: By Jews and About Jews, What Jews Say About God and The Presidents of the United States & the Jews.

In addition to his scholarly work, Rabbi Kolatch has served as president of the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces and as vice-president of the interdenominational Military Chaplains Association of the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For Kolatch, understanding the Talmud involves understanding something about the many famous rabbis and scholars who have studied it through the centuries. Focusing on rabbis from the first five centuries of the common era, Kolatch provides brief entries on the life and times of thinkers such as Rabbis Eliezer, Akiva ben Yosef, Rava and Hillel (who actually lived just before the common era). Most entries are only a few sentences long, but the famous rabbis get their due with long tributes that are filled with the stories passed down through the ages. Kolatch describes the scholars' contributions and cites the precise talmudic passages where they are quoted--an aid to any student of the Talmud. (Oct. 8) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824604349
  • Publisher: David, Jonathan Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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