People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority / Edition 1

People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority / Edition 1

by Moshe Halbertal
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674661125

ISBN-13: 9780674661127

Pub. Date: 11/20/1997

Publisher: Harvard

While Scripture is at the center of many religions, among them Islam and Christianity, this book inquires into the function, development, and implications of the centrality of text upon the Jewish community, and by extension on the larger question of canonization and the text-centered community. It is a commonplace to note how the landless and scattered Jewish

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Overview

While Scripture is at the center of many religions, among them Islam and Christianity, this book inquires into the function, development, and implications of the centrality of text upon the Jewish community, and by extension on the larger question of canonization and the text-centered community. It is a commonplace to note how the landless and scattered Jewish communities have, from the time of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. until the founding of modern Israel in 1948, cleaved to the text and derived their identity from it. But the story is far more complex. The shift from the Bible to the Torah, from biblical religion to rabbinic Judaism mediated by the Sages, and the sealing of the canon together with its continuing interpretive work demanded from the community, amount to what could be called an unparalleled obsession with textuality. Halbertal gives us insights into the history of this obsession, in a philosophically sophisticated yet straightforward narrative.

People of the Book offers the best introduction available to Jewish hermeneutics, a book capable of conveying the importance of the tradition to a wide audience of both academic and general readers. 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. With a gift for weaving complex issues of interpretation into his own plot, he animates ancient texts by assigning them roles in his own highly persuasive narrative.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674661127
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
11/20/1997
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
198
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Canonical Text and Text-Centered Community1
1Canon and Meaning11
The Uses of Canon11
The Sealed Canon16
Authority and Sealing19
The Meaning of the Canonical Text23
Canon and the Principle of Charity27
Textual Closure and Hermeneutical Openness32
Uncharitable Readings of Canons40
2Authority, Controversy, and Tradition45
Authorial Intention and Authoritative Meaning45
Canon and Controversy50
Three Views on Controversy and Tradition54
From a Flexible Canon to a Closed Code72
The Institution and the Canon81
3Canon and Curriculum90
Formative Text90
The Concept of Torah in "Talmud Torah"94
The Challengers of Talmudism100
Codification and Decanonization103
Esotericism and Censorship109
Kabbalists and the Talmudic Curriculum119
Strong Canonicity and Shared Discourse124
Conclusion129
AppThe Sovereign and the Canon137
Notes145
Index181

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