Stringing the Pearls: How to Read The Weekly Torah Portion

Overview

James Diamond, a consummate teacher of the Bible, provides a clear and simple (but not simplistic) method for reading and understanding the weekly Torah portions. This is a how-to book, not an interpretive one. It is not a commentary on each week's reading, but rather an "instruction manual" on how each of us can read and interpret for ourselves the 54 Torah portions of the year. Diamond provides a set of structured guidelines to the readings, and then he leads us through one Torah portion from each of the five ...
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Overview

James Diamond, a consummate teacher of the Bible, provides a clear and simple (but not simplistic) method for reading and understanding the weekly Torah portions. This is a how-to book, not an interpretive one. It is not a commentary on each week's reading, but rather an "instruction manual" on how each of us can read and interpret for ourselves the 54 Torah portions of the year. Diamond provides a set of structured guidelines to the readings, and then he leads us through one Torah portion from each of the five biblical books to give us examples of how we can continue the "stringing" process on our own. He concludes with a personal guide to recommended Bible commentaries so readers can engage in further study if they choose. Stringing the Pearls is intended for all who would like to reach a greater personal understanding of the Torah, no matter what their biblical knowledge. An invaluable resource for Jewish learners, this book will also be an important tool for rabbis and for Jewish educators.

The JPS inadvertently failed to include Section 8 of Part V: Selected Books (following page 206) in James Diamond's new book Stringing the Pearls. We apologize to our readers for any inconvenience that this has caused.

James S. Diamond teaches in the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University. He combines two personal and professional personae, as a rabbi and an academic. Rabbi Diamond was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, and he holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Indiana University in Bloomington. Adult Jewish learning has been a focal point throughout Diamond's career. In recent years, he has taught the Tanakh course in the Me'ah program, a two-year intensive adult Jewish learning program that is sponsored by the Hebrew College of Boston.

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Editorial Reviews

The Reporter
Serves as an excellent guide for the very beginner (including those who have no knowledge of the Bible), [and] also offers advanced readers the resources to make Bible study more meaningful.—Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter

— Rabbi Rachel Esserman

The Jewish State

"Diamond has brought together a lifetime of both academic and rabbinical learning to create this guidebook for the Torah."—The Jewish State
Suburban & Wayne

"Stringing the Pearls . . . is intended for all who would like to reach a greater personal understanding of the Torah, no matter what their biblical knowledge."—Suburban & Wayne
The Reporter - Rabbi Rachel Esserman

"Serves as an excellent guide for the very beginner (including those who have no knowledge of the Bible), [and] also offers advanced readers the resources to make Bible study more meaningful."—Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter
The Jewish State
Diamond has brought together a lifetime of both academic and rabbinical learning to create this guidebook for the Torah.—The Jewish State
Suburban & Wayne
Stringing the Pearls . . . is intended for all who would like to reach a greater personal understanding of the Torah, no matter what their biblical knowledge.—Suburban & Wayne
Suburban & Wayne Times

Stringing the Pearls... is intended for all who would like to reach a greater personal understanding of the Torah, no matter what their biblical knowledge.

Rachel Esserman

...serves as an excellent guide for the very beginner (including those who have no knowledge of the Bible), [and] also offers advanced readers the resources to make Bible study more meaningful.
The Reporter

Library Journal

Diamond, who teaches in the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University, has created, in under 250 pages, one of the most accessible and broadly useful books ever published by the Jewish Publication Society. Neither a language manual nor yet another commentary on Hebrew Scripture, Diamond's work is literally a how-to for Torah readers of almost any age and level that addresses what Torah is, how to read (and reread) selected Torah portions, the pluses and minuses of differing critical approaches, and a step-by-step example of a reading of several Torah portions. Diamond's excellent guide includes assessments of different translations of Hebrew Scripture, as well as a useful but not overwhelming bibliography. Highly recommended.


—Graham Christian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780827608689
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication date: 3/17/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,418,333
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface     xi
How to Read This Book     xv
A Note to the Christian Reader     xix
What Is What: Some Basic Terms     xxi
Preliminaries: What Are We Talking About?     1
Starting Points     2
The Weekly Torah Portion: What Is a Parashah?     9
What Is the Tanakh?     19
Bible and Torah: What Is the Difference?     25
Reading and Hearing     29
On Reading     30
Reading the Humash     40
On Hearing     42
Hearing the Humash     45
Some Major Approaches to Reading a Parashah     59
Modern Historical-Critical Approaches     62
Premodern Ahistorical Approaches     81
Existential Readings     100
How to Read a Weekly Torah Portion     105
Which Humash to Use?     107
Reading a Parashah: A Four-Step Process     113
What to Look for in a Parashah     120
The Fourth Step     126
Navigating the Parshiyot     130
Commentaries: A Concise Guide     179
Humash Commentaries     183
Other Historical-Critical Commentaries: The Anchor Bible Series     189
TheGreat Medieval Commentaries     191
Synthetic Commentaries     197
Midrash     199
Women's Commentaries     202
Web Resources     205
Afterthoughts     207
Notes     211
Works Cited     227
Index     231

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