The Shofar

The Shofar

by Jeremy Montagu


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In The Shofar, Jeremy Montagu offers a detailed study of the ram’s horn of the Bible, describing its history and use—both ritual and secular—from biblical times to the present. Because the same person normally blows the shofar each year during the Jewish High Holy Days, few are aware of the wide differences among communities around the world: the varying points in the Jewish liturgical service when the shofar is blown, what sound combinations exist, and the many varieties of the instrument.

This is the first work of its kind to detail the full range of historical, musical, antiquarian, and religious issues surrounding the ancient instrument with all relevant citations from the Bible, the Talmud, and key post-Talmudic sources. Jeremy Montagu carefully examines horn types, sound characteristics, liturgical uses, and community functions to illustrate how the shofar has reflected local custom, regional needs, and religious practice. Chapters provide difficult-to-find information on how shofars are made; advice on how to choose, prepare, and maintain shofars; and instructions for aspiring blowers on a variety of traditions.

With more than sixty photographs from the author’s personal collection, this is an ideal work for Jews and Christians, religious scholars and musicologists, and even practicing musicians seeking to understand the crucial role of this instrument in the life of a people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442250277
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/16/2015
Pages: 202
Sales rank: 916,781
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jeremy Montagu is former curator of the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments and lecturer at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, University of Oxford. He is also the president of the Galpin Society, the premier international society for the study of musical instruments. He is the author of a variety of books on musical instruments, including Musical Instruments of the Bible (Scarecrow Press, 2001), Origins and Development of Musical Instruments (Scarecrow Press, 2007), and Horns and Trumpets of the World (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014). A resident of Oxford, England, he has blown the shofar in synagogues since the early 1960s and is a regular worshipper in the synagogue there.   

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Musical Examples
Chapter 1: Description and Preliminary History
Chapter 2: Liturgical Use
Chapter 3: The Sounding of the Shofar
Chapter 4: Who can Blow and on What
Chapter 5: The Secular Uses of the Shofar
Chapter 6: Making a Shofar
Chapter 7: How to Choose and How to Blow a Shofar
Chapter 8: Shofar Typology, Old and New
Chapter 9: The Shofar and its Meaning
Chapter 10: Biblical, Talmudic, and Post Talmudic Sources
Appendix 1: Shofar Inscriptions
Appendix 2: Details of all the Shofars Illustrated
About the Author

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