Judaism: An Introduction

Judaism: An Introduction

by Oliver Leaman

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Overview

The story of Judaism is a story of paradox. It is the story of how a small cluster of desert tribes gave birth to a monotheistic doctrine that profoundly shaped the history of human civilization. It is the story of how that initially obscure desert doctrine came to be codified into the Hebrew Bible, one of the world's greatest works of literature. It is the story of how a small minority came to be viewed by the majority as disproportionately powerful and, following pogrom and Holocaust, were driven to the edge of extinction. And it is the story of how a displaced people, globally dispersed throughout other nations for two-and-a-half millennia, came to forge a modern, secular Israeli state which many Jews believe to have been granted an explicitly divine mandate. Oliver Leaman carefully and creatively explores the nature of these apparent contradictions.
He discusses the origins of the Jewish Bible; recounts the history of the Jewish people from the era of Patriarchs and Prophets through the Middle Ages up to the contemporary era; outlines the Jewish liturgical calendar and its major rites and modes of worship; and, considers the great variety of Jewish literatures (including modern post-Holocaust writers like Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel), art, food and culture. Further chapters examine such topics as mysticism and kabbalah; modern Hebrew; interfaith relations; and, the highly contested question, 'Who is a Jew?'

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848853942
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 11/25/2010
Series: I.B.Tauris Introductions to Religion
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.66(w) x 8.88(h) x 1.17(d)

About the Author

Oliver Leaman is Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Kentucky. His many books include: 'Evil and Suffering in Jewish Philosophy' (1995); 'Moses Maimonides' (1997, revised edition); 'Averroes and his Philosophy' (1997, second edition), 'An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy' (2001); 'The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy' (edited with D Frank, 2003) and 'Jewish Thought: An Introduction' (2006).

Table of Contents

Preface
• Abbreviations and Technical Details
• The Bible in Jewish History
• Exile
• Conflict and Survival
• What Jews Do
• Festivals and Rites of Passage
• Issues
• Illustration, Map and Picture Credits
• Bibliography
• Index

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