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Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Studies in Honour of Philip S. Alexander

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Edited by George J. Brooke and Renate Smithuis

In Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages fifteen scholars offer specialist studies on Jewish education from the areas of their expertise. This tightly themed volume in honour of Philip S. Alexander has some essays that look at individual manuscripts, some that consider larger literary corpora, and some that are more thematically organised.

Jewish education has been addressed largely as a matter of the study house, the bet midrash. Here a richer range of texts and themes discloses a wide variety of activity in several spheres of Jewish life. In addition, some notable non-Jewish sources provide a wider context for the discourse than is often the case.

Seeking the Favor of God

Volume 3: The Impact of Penitential Prayer beyond Second Temple Judaism

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Edited by Mark Boda, Richard Falk and Rodney Werline

They shall purify themselves

Essays on Purity in Early Judaism

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Susan Haber

Edited by Adele Reinhartz

Recent decades have witnessed numerous studies of the role of purity in early Judaism, from ancient Israel to the rabbinic period, covering a variety of topics and approaches. The essays in this volume address three less-studied areas of this broader field: the connection, if any, between purity and the synagogue; Jesus’ observance of purity laws; and women’s relationships with purity in the first century. By providing a new perspective on the role of purity in first-century Judaism, this stimulating and refreshing collection illuminates ancient practice and informs our understanding of the role of purity in the contemporary world.
Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

Seeking the Favor of God

Volume 2: The Development of Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism

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Mark Boda, Richard Falk and Rodney Werline

The essays collected in this volume investigate the development of prayers of penitence within Jewish literature of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The book provides a critical overview of the present state of research on these prayers, and leading experts in the field use a variety of methodologies to investigate afresh various texts from the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal (deuterocanonical) and pseudepigraphical works, and the Qumran corpus in order to provide new insights into this prayer tradition. Contributors include Russell C. D. Arnold, Esther G. Chazon, Daniel K. Falk, LeAnn Snow Flesher, Michael H. Floyd, Judith H. Newman, Bilhah Nitzan, Eileen Schuller, Pieter M. Venter, and Rodney A. Werline.

Seeking the Favor of God includes three volumes covering the origins, development, and impact of penitential prayer in Second Temple Judaism.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

Seeking the Favor of God

Volume 1: The Origins of Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism

Series:

Mark Boda, Richard Falk and Rodney Werline

The emergence of penitential prayer represents a significant formal shift in the prayer tradition of Israel. The essays collected in this volume investigate the beginnings of penitential prayer literature in the Hebrew Bible in the Babylonian and Persian periods. The contributors offer a fresh look at various aspects of the shift from communal lament to penitential prayer as well as the relationship between them, in the process applying new approaches and methodologies to such questions as the meaning and importance of confession to penitential prayer and the necessity of penitential prayer as a prequel to repentance. The contributors are Samuel Balentine, Richard J. Bautch, Mark J. Boda, Michael Duggan, Judith Gärtner, Katherine M. Hayes, Jay C. Hogewood, William Morrow, Dalit Rom-Shiloni, and Rodney A. Werline.
Seeking the Favor of God includes three volumes covering the origins, development and impact of penitential prayer in Second Temple Judaism.

Paperback edition available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).

Edited by Jacob Neusner, Alan Avery-Peck and Lezlie C. Green

The Encyclopaedia of Judaism provides a full and reliable account of Judaism, beginning in ancient Israelite times and extending to our own day. About Judaism, the religion, its diverse history, literature, beliefs past and present, observances and practices, and place in the context of society and culture, this is what we know. All principal topics required for the systematic description of Judaism as a religion the world view, way of life, theory of the social entity constituted by the faithful are addressed here.
The Encyclopaedia of Judaism provides a definitive account of contemporary Judaism and a reliable picture of a tradition of nearly four thousand years. A full and detailed index provides ready-reference for facts, and the systematic articles set forth highly readable accounts of the entire range of Judaic systems of belief and behavior put forth over time and in our own time. It is written for people from all backgrounds, scholars and general readers alike.
When the editors completed the initial three volumes of The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, they found satisfaction in having covered the more than one hundred topics. But they also realized that many other important topics remained to be set forth in a systematic way. This led to new inquiries into the history, practices, and theology of the religion, Judaism. Specialists in all these fields were found and the result is more than ninety new studies, which will appear in three Supplements. Supplement One is published in 2002, and Supplement Three is anticipated for 2004.

Published by Brill, Leiden & Continuum, New York.

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Rivka Nir

The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch is a pseudepigraphic apocalyptic work ascribed to Baruch son of Neriah, the scribe of Jeremiah. Its overt content concerning the last days of the First Temple period disguises a description of the fall of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. Contrary to the general scholarly view, this book attempts to show that the internal structure and central ideas of II Baruch must be understood in a Christian context. This theological identity is reflected mainly in traditions which describe the destruction of Jerusalem and the three apocalyptic visions which depict the coming of the Messiah and the eschatological redemption. The author’s conclusion may shed light on the Christian character of other Pseudepigraphic and apocalyptic books.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).

Holy Lives, Holy Deaths

A Close Hearing of Early Jewish Storytellers

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Antoinette Clark Wire

This volume guides the reader in listening to Early Jewish stories about holy figures which appear to have first been told between 150 B.C.E. and 150 C.E. Following new translations, the book provides a close hearing of the oral storytelling that generated these narratives now surviving only in literary form. Historical folklore must reconstruct storytelling performance from literary remains. Making use of contemporary folklore methods, the author examines the text, texture, and context of over one hundred stories, including birth prophecies, provision legends, prophetic stories of destruction or deliverance, and tales of martyrdom. A broad range of stories of these four types is presented in a way that reveals and illumines the oral patterns and characteristics of the storytellers. The stories are drawn from apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature, Early Jewish historians, first-century Christian texts, and the Mishnah and early Talmudic writings. The Christian tradition is included here because it was generated within sectarian Judaism, and the first reports about Jesus appeared from Jewish storytellers. This work aims to shift the attention of biblical scholars and historians of religion away from an exclusive focus on the thought and art of writers or authors, and toward a wider recognition of the work of the storytellers, men and women alike, who generated the traditions that ultimately came to be preserved in written form.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

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Harvey Warren Zev

This book examines central themes in the thought of Rabbi Hasdai Crescas (c. 1340-1410/11), the great Catalan Jewish philosopher who contributed to the revolution of modern science and profoundly influenced Spinoza. Part I treats of Crescas’ radical critique of the Aristotelian concepts of space, time, and the vacuum, and analyzes his vision of an infinite universe; it discusses his criticisms of Maimonides’ proofs of God, and expounds his own proof; and it concludes with a discussion of his concept of God as infinite Love. Part II contains three essays on Crescas’ strictly deterministic theory of human choice.

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Wietse de Boer

This volume, written by one of the leading scholars on Emmanuel Levinas, deals with Levinas’ conception of Transcendence, Prophecy and Philosophy. Among the issues discussed in this volume are ontology and eschatology, Judaism and Hellenism, the relationship between transcendental and dialogical thought, the God of the Philosophers and the God of the Patriarchs. Theodore de Boer is Emeritus Professor of systematic philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.