Synopses & Reviews
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The Hebrew Bible is only part of ancient Israel’s writings. Another collection of Jewish works has survived from late- and post-biblical times, a great library that bears witness to the rich spiritual life of Jews in that period. This library consists of the most varied sorts of texts: apocalyptic visions and prophecies, folktales and legends, collections of wise sayings, laws and rules of conduct, commentaries on Scripture, ancient prayers, and much, much more.
While specialists have studied individual texts or subsections of this vast library, Outside the Bible seeks for the first time to bring together all the major components into a single collection, gathering portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the biblical Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha, and the writings of Philo of Alexandria and Josephus.
The editors have brought together these diverse works in order to highlight what has often been neglected; their common Jewish background. For this reason the commentaries that accompany the texts devote special attention to references to Hebrew Scripture and to issues of halakhah (Jewish law), their allusions to motifs and themes known from later Rabbinic writings in Talmud and Midrash, their evocation of recent or distant events in Jewish history, and their references to other texts in this collection.
The work of more than seventy contributing experts in a range of fields, Outside the Bible offers new insights into the development of Judaism and Early Christianity. This three-volume set of translations, introductions, and detailed commentaries is a must-have for scholars, students, and anyone interested in this great body of ancient Jewish writings.
The collection includes a general introduction and opening essays, new and revised translations, and detailed introductions, commentaries, and notes that place each text in its historical and cultural context. A timeline of the Second Temple Period, two appendixes (Books of the Bible; Second Temple Literature), and a general subject index complete the set.
and#8220;An engaging presentation of the most current scholarship about the Jewish Bible. Carasikand#8217;s description of the numerous voices, which speak in its pages, illumines their teachings, illustrates their origin, and clarifies their relationships with each other and the world from which they emerged.and#8221;and#8212;Frederick E. Greenspahn, Gimelstob Eminent Scholar of Judaic Studies, Florida Atlantic University.
“Breathtaking in its scope and eminently satisfying in its execution, Outside the Bible will prove to be an indispensable reference for every scholar of the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, the New Testament, and early Christianity. With introductions to and translations of the mass of noncanonical Jewish writings produced from the Exile up to the Mishnah, by an eminent group of internationally renowned scholars, here we have a resource that will meet scholarly needs for generations to come.”—Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Outside the Bible is a well-conceived and magnificently executed answer to the question of what Jews were reading in the centuries before and after the Common Era. High-quality English translations appear for each document, along with sufficient material to place these documents within their original contexts and to provide insight into their meaning. We are thus able, as it were, to enter into arguments and expositions from antiquity, many of which are virtually unknown within today’s Jewish communities and even within academic circles. Such far-reaching scholarship may lead us not only to rethink our past but also to reconsider our present and future possibilities.”—Leonard Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization and professor of classical and Near Eastern studies and of theology, Creighton University
"JPS should be congratulated for making these works available to a general audience."—Off The Shelf
"Leviticus is a worthy addition to this series. This book of commentary wrestles with ideas rarely appreciated outside of houses of Jewish learning . . . . This book, with its accessible new translation of these commentaries, brings a whole world of learning to the English-speaking Jewish world."—Jewish Book World
“Anyone who is unfamiliar with medieval commentary, or who is unable to study the commentators in the original Hebrew, will find The Commentators Bible a worthy addition to their book shelves. Carasik has done a real service making this material available.”—The Reporter
“The importance of this volume cannot be overestimated—for the first time, we have a responsible translation of the miqraot gedolot . . . that is accessible to those without great facility in Hebrew.”—Jbooks.com
“This publication is a gold mine. The series is beautifully printed and bound. On display are the creative geniuses of Second Temple Judaism who have excited both Jews and Christians. The insights shared in the commentaries are superb.”—James H. Charlesworth, Bible History Daily
"Outside the Bible is probably the most ambitious project undertaken by The Jewish Publication Society in many years."—Peter L. Rothholz, Jewish Book Council
andquot;[Carasikand#39;s] prose is easy to read and he has no political or theological agenda other than to help readers appreciate the richness and depth of the biblical material. The Bibleand#39;s Many Voices would be perfect for an adult education class or a multi-month discussion at a book club, although anyone interested in the Bible might want to add this work to their shelves.andquot;andmdash;Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter
andldquo;A good addition to any nonfiction collection that includes Bible study.andrdquo;andmdash;Association of Jewish Libraries
“The JPS Commentators Bible is one of the most useful resources I now have in my library. It opens the door to the wisdom of the classic commentators to Jewish students of all levels of Hebrew fluency. The translations are fluid and accessible, and this important work represents an invaluable invitation to join the centuries-long conversation of Torah commentary and interpretation. I eagerly await the completion of the remaining volumes of The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot.”—Rabbi Dan Levin (Temple Beth El, Boca Raton, Florida)
"Biblical scholars, Second Temple period historians, and Jewish educators will find themselves consulting Outside the Bible regularly."—Igal German, Society of Biblical Literature
"The work of more than seventy contributing experts in a range of fields, Outside the Bible offers new insights into the development of Judaism and Early Christianity. This three-volume set of translations, introductions, and detailed commentaries is a must for scholars, students, and anyone interested in this great body of ancient Jewish writings."—Review of Biblical Literature
The most common English translations of the Bible often sound like a single, somewhat archaic voice. In fact, the Bible is made up of many separate books composed by multiple writers in a wide range of styles and perspectives. It is, as Michael Carasik demonstrates, not a remote text reserved for churches and synagogues but rather a human document full of history, poetry, politics, theology, and spirituality.and#160;Using historic, linguistic, anthropological, and theological sources, Carasik helps us distinguish between the Jewish Bibleandrsquo;s voicesandmdash;the mythic, the historical, the prophetic, the theological, and the legal. By articulating the differences among these voices, he shows us not just their messages and meanings but also what mattered to the authors. In these contrasts we encounter the Bible anew as a living work whose many voices tell us about the world out of which the Bible grewandmdash;and the world that it created.
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Thanks to these generous donors for making the publication of this book possible: The Friedman French Foundation.
First published 500 years ago as the “Rabbinic Bible,” the biblical commentaries known as the Miqraot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers.
Each page of The Commentators Bible contains several Hebrew verses from the book of Exodus, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations and new English translations of the major commentators. This large-format volume is beautifully designed for ease of navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others. JPS is pleased to make available for group study and teaching purposes individual parshiyot (weekly Torah readings) from The Commentators Bible.
About the Author
LOUIS H. FELDMAN is Wouk Family Professor of Classics and Literature Emeritus at Yeshiva University, where he has taught since 1955. Feldman’s many publications include Josephus and Modern Scholarship; Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World; and Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible. A leading scholar of ancient Judaism and Hellenistic culture, Feldman is associate editor of Classical Weekly, managing editor of Classical World, and former editor of Hellenistic Literature for the Encyclopedia Judaica.
JAMES L. KUGEL is professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and the former Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University. Kugel specializes in the Hebrew Bible, the history of biblical exegesis, and the study of ancient Judaism. His many books include How to Read the Bible; The God of Old; and The Bible as It Was.
LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN is professor of Judaic studies and vice provost of undergraduate education at Yeshiva University. Schiffman is former chair of New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Schiffman is a leading scholar of ancient Judaism with special interest in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition to his many publications, he is the coeditor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls and editor of The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after Their Discovery.
The Contributors: Patricia Ahearne-Kroll, Gary A. Anderson, Joseph L. Angel, Kenneth Atkinson, Harold W. Attridge, David E. Aune , John M. Barclay, Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Albert I. Baumgarten, Adam H. Becker, Ellen Birnbaum , Peder Borgen, Miryam T. Brand, George J. Brooke, Silvia Castelli, Esther G. Chazon, Naomi G. Cohen, John J. Collins, Sidnie White Crawford, David A. deSilva, Devorah Dimant, Lorenzo DiTommaso, Jean Duhaime, Peter Enns, Esther Eshel, Hanan Eshel, Daniel K. Falk, Louis H. Feldman, Michael V. Fox, Steven D. Fraade, David M. Goldenberg, Andrew D. Gross, Erich S. Gruen, Betsy Halpern-Amaru , Angela Kim Harkins, David M. Hay, Matthias Henze, Karina Martin Hogan, Howard Jacobson, Sara Japhet, Alex P. Jassen, Sara Raup Johnson, James L. Kugel, Alexander Kulik, Armin Lange, Matthew J. Morgenstern, Gohar Muradyan, George W. E. Nickelsburg, Maren R. Niehoff , Bilhah Nitzan, Sarah Judith Pearce, Annette Yoshiko Reed, David T. Runia, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Eileen Schuller, Daniel R. Schwartz, Michael Segal, Paul Spilsbury , Gregory E. Sterling, Michael E. Stone, Loren Theo Stuckenbruck, Michael D. Swartz, Aram Topchyan, Pablo Torijano, Emanuel Tov, Shani Berrin Tzoref, Pieter W. van der Horst, Walter T. Wilson, Benjamin G. Wright III, Miriam Zangi, and Yevgeniy Y. Zingerman .