Scholar and teacher Marc Brettler argues that contemporary Bible readers can only understand the ancient Hebrew Scripture by knowing more about the culture that produced it. Brettler unpacks the literary conventions, ideological assumptions and historical conditions that inform the biblical text and demonstrates how modern critical scholarship and archaeological discoveries shed light on this fascinating and complex literature. Surveying representative biblical texts from different genres, Brettler illustrates a modern reading of these texts. The emphasis of How to Read the Jewish Bible is on showing contemporary Jews, as well as Christians, how they can relate to the Bible in a more meaningful way.
the jewish bible
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In The Jewish Bible: A Material History, David Stern explores the Jewish Bible as a material object—the Bibles that Jews have actually held in their hands—from its beginnings in the Ancient Near Eastern world through to the Middle Ages to the present moment. Drawing on the most recent scholarship on the history of the book, Stern shows how the Bible has been not only a medium for transmitting its text—the word of God—but a physical object with a meaning of its own. That meaning has changed, as the material shape of the Bible has changed, from scroll to codex, and from manuscript to printed book. By tracing the material form of the Torah, Stern demonstrates how the process of these transformations echo the cultural, political, intellectual, religious, and geographic changes of the Jewish community. With tremendous historical range and breadth, this book offers a fresh approach to understanding the Bible’s place and significance in Jewish culture.
Justice for All demonstrates that the Jewish Bible, by radically changing the course of ethical thought, came to exercise enormous influence on Jewish thought and law and also laid the basis for Christian ethics and the broader development of modern Western civilization. Jeremiah Unterman shows us persuasively that the ethics of the Jewish Bible represent a significant moral advance over Ancient Near East cultures. Moreover, he elucidates how the Bible's unique conception of ethical monotheism, innovative understanding of covenantal law, and revolutionary messages from the prophets form the foundation of many Western civilization ideals. Justice for All connects these timeless biblical texts to the persistent themes of our times: immigration policy, forgiveness and reconciliation, care for the less privileged, and attaining hope for the future despite destruction and exile in this world.
Essays exploring and explaining how 'queer' reading makes a difference to biblical exegesis. As with feminism, theoretical questions arise such as whether such readings are characterized by certain questions or can only legitimately be done by gay or lesbian readers. The contributors are drawn from a range of backgrounds and a variety of interests--Jewish, Christian, agnostic, male, female, heterosexual, gay and lesbian--and mostly concentrate on individual passages and books. But the volume also contains some theoretical reflections, and it ends with three +critical responses' from scholars with interdisciplinary interests on the place of queer read-ing of the Bible in broader contexts. A book for anyone interested in contemporary issues of bible interpretation or in queer theory generally.
This book brings together some of the world's most exciting scholars from across a variety of disciplines to provide a concise and accessible guide to the Hebrew Bible. It covers every major genre of book in the Old Testament together with in-depth discussions of major themes such as human nature, covenant, creation, ethics, ritual and purity, sacred space, and monotheism. This authoritative overview sets each book within its historical and cultural context in the ancient Near East, paying special attention to its sociological setting. It provides new insights into the reception of the books and the different ways they have been studied, from historical-critical enquiry to modern advocacy approaches such as feminism and liberation theology. It also includes a guide to biblical translations and textual criticism and helpful suggestions for further reading. Featuring contributions from experts with backgrounds in the Jewish and Christian faith traditions as well as secular scholars in the humanities and social sciences, The Hebrew Bible is the perfect starting place for anyone seeking a user-friendly introduction to the Old Testament, and an invaluable reference book for students and teachers.
This guide to the Jewish Bible explains what the Jewish Bible is, how it developed, its structure and differences between it and Christian Bibles. It also includes short histories of Bible translations and commentaries, a guide to characters and places, plus an introduction to Biblical poetry, storytelling, law and Bible study.
Ratheiser's study provides the framework for a non-confessional, mitzvoth ethics-centered and historical-philological approach to the Jewish bible and deals with the basic steps of an alternative paradigmatic perspective on the biblical text. The author seeks to demostrate the ineptness of confessional and ahistorical approaches to the Jewish bible. Based on his observations and his survey of the history of interpretation of the Jewish bible, Ratheiser introduces an alternative hermeneutical-exegetical approach to the Jewish bible: the paradigm of examples. His study concludes that the biblical text is a collection of writings designed and formed from a specifically ethical-ethnic outlook. In other words, he regards the Jewish bible to be written as an etiology of ancient instruction by ancient Jews to Jews and for Jews. As such, it serves as a religious-ethical identity marker that provides ancient Jews and their descendants with an etiology of Jewish life. Ratheiser regards this religious-ethical agenda to have been the driving force in the minds of the final editors/compilers of the biblical text as we have it today.
In comparison with other literary aspects of the Old Testament, humour has suffered much scholarly neglect. The present collection of essays (by the editors and ten other authors) argues that humour is plentiful in biblical literature and that many passages, indeed even whole books, can be properly understood only when the humorous intention of the author is acknowledged. This collection is a particularly interesting, innovative and provocative one.
A guide to locating and learning about 3,000 people in the Bible
"Understanding the Hebrew Bible: A Guide for the Perplexed is written clearly and jargon-free and provides an orientation to the vast compendium of biblical materials by explaining the different kinds of writing found in the Bible, including storytelling, law, history, prophecy, wisdom and poetry. Each section is informed by current biblical scholarship, but presented in a manner accessible to a general audience. Unlike other introductions that focus entirely on biblical history and its historical context, this book surveys the full range of biblical writing. A preface establishes a conceptual model for understanding the Bible, and explorers the differences between the traditional Jewish and Christian readings of this Scripture. Readers will discover in this book a concise, useful companion to the Book of Books.