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Torah Through Time: Understanding Bible Commentary, from the Rabbinic Period to Modern Times
     

Torah Through Time: Understanding Bible Commentary, from the Rabbinic Period to Modern Times

by Shai Cherry, Marc Zvi Brettler (Foreword by)
 

Thanks to these generous donors for making the publication of this book possible: Kinney Zalesne and Scott Siff.

Every commentator, from the classical rabbi to the modern-day scholar, has brought his or her own worldview, with all of its assumptions, to bear on the reading of holy text. This relationship between the text itself and the reader's

Overview

Thanks to these generous donors for making the publication of this book possible: Kinney Zalesne and Scott Siff.

Every commentator, from the classical rabbi to the modern-day scholar, has brought his or her own worldview, with all of its assumptions, to bear on the reading of holy text. This relationship between the text itself and the reader's interpretation is the subject of Torah Through Time.

Shai Cherry traces the development of Jewish Bible commentary through three pivotal periods in Jewish history: the rabbinic, medieval, and modern periods. The result is a fascinating and accessible guide to how some of the world's leading Jewish commentators read the Bible.

Torah Through Time focuses on specific narrative sections of the Torah: the creation of humanity, the rivalry between Cain and Abel, Korah’s rebellion, the claim of the daughters of Zelophechad, and legal matters concerning Hebrew slavery. Cherry closely examines several different commentaries for each of these source texts, and in so doing he analyzes how each commentator resolves questions raised by the texts and asks if and how the commentator’s own historical frame of reference—his own time and place—contributes to the resolution. A chart at the end of each chapter provides a visual summary that helps the reader understand the many different elements at play.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Cherry has analyzed the biblical commentary of some of the renowned Jewish scholars of the last 2,000 years. The result is a work of excellent scholarship and imagination.”—Booklist
Christian Century
“Cherry shows how the Torah functions as literature that is fluid, compelling, and persistently generative of new meanings.”—Christian Century
Jewish Book World
“This book provides a highly readable, engaging introduction to Jewish biblical interpretation.”—Jewish Book World
Library Journal

The Hebrew Bible, or the Tanakh, is really not equivalent to the Christian Old Testament, yet many religious fundamentalists ignore this fact. Cherry (religion studies, emeritus, Vanderbilt Univ.) here provides a useful review of rabbinical tradition and teaching concerning the Torah, particularly the first five books of the Old Testament. Topics he covers include the history of Jewish biblical commentary, sibling rivalry (Cain and Abel), slavery, political intrigue, and inheritance laws. The section on slavery is particularly interesting in that it shows that the authors of the Bible accepted this social custom while, later, rabbis found ways of reinterpreting scripture and hence eliminating slavery from Jewish practice. Cherry claims his book "presents a Jewish model of combating fundamentalism with the Bible itself." That is, single, specific, literal interpretations of the Bible have not been characteristic of Jewish commentary. A helpful glossary of terms and an extensive bibliography round out the book. Recommended for large academic and public libraries.
—James A. Overbeck

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780827608481
Publisher:
The Jewish Publication Society
Publication date:
09/21/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
698,604
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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