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In this section, the core beliefs of the Jewish people are explored. Central beliefs of Judaism highlighted in this section include monotheism, God, the Torah, covenants, practices within exile, practices surrounding death and the afterlife, and philosophic practices & perspectives.
Table of Contents - Beliefs
Judaism: a Very Short Introduction by
Call Number: BM45 .S666 2000
Publication Date: 2000-06-15
"An ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. In addition to surveying the nature and development of Judaism, this Very Short Introduction outlines the basics of practical Judaism -- its festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects. Modern concerns and debates of the Jewish people are also addressed, such as the impact of the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, the status of women, and medical and commercial ethics." - from the publisher
The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Theology by
Call Number: BM602 .C36 2020
Publication Date: 2020-12-17
"The reader will find here, in this Cambridge Companion to Jewish Theology, essays by leading Jewish Studies scholars that display the Jewish theological tradition as long, sustained, complex, and deep. This collection aims to show this with essays that cover the full historical span of Judaism from the Biblical through to the contemporary periods. Each essay is a gem filled with not only an overview of a topic that employs and reviews the best in contemporary scholarship, but also brings important new insights to it. One thing that will become obvious for the reader is the variety of theological approaches that Jews have taken to presenting and understanding God. For example, on the crucial issue of revelation, Alan Brill presents us with seven models of revelation in modern Jewish theology. I should also say, from the outset, that Jewish theology encompasses not only the issue of the nature of God but also the dynamic of inter-relations between God and humans and God and the world. I have attempted to focus the attention of my authors mainly on God but, quite naturally, a number of authors also discuss the relations between God and humans, God and the world. Here, for example, a figure like Emmanuel Levinas stands out for wanting to focus almost exclusively on ethical relations between humans." - from the publisher
The Principles of Judaism by
Call Number: BM562 .L43 2020
Publication Date: 2020-08-30
"In this book, Samuel Lebens takes the three principles of Jewish faith, as they were proposed in the 15th Century by Rabbi Joseph Albo, and seeks to scrutinise and refine them with the tool-kit of contemporary analytic philosophy. What could it mean for a perfect being to create a world out of nothing? Could such a world be anything more than a figment of God's imagination? What is the Torah, and what must a person believe before it would make sense to treat it as Orthodox Judaism does? What does Judaism expect from a Messiah, and what would it mean for a world to be redeemed? These questions are explored in conversation with a wide array of Jewish sources - the Bible, Philo, the Rabbis of the Mishna and Talmud, the medieval rationalists and mystics, the Hassidim, and more, with an eye towards diverse fields of contemporary research, such as cosmology, logic, the ontology of literature, and the metaphysics of time. This book is an attempt to articulate the most fundamental axioms of Orthodox Judaism in the vernacular of contemporary philosophy." - from the publisher
Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals by
Call Number: BM561 .R58 2016
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
"You’ll find everything you need to know about being Jewish in this indispensable, revised and updated guide to the religious traditions, everyday practices, philosophical beliefs, and historical foundations of Judaism.
What happens at a synagogue service? What are the rules for keeping kosher? How do I light the Hanukah candles? What is in the Hebrew Bible? What do the Jewish holidays signify? What should I be teaching my children about being Jewish?
With the first edition of Essential Judaism, George Robinson offered the world the accessible compendium that he sought when he rediscovered his Jewish identity as an adult. In his “ambitious and all-inclusive” (New York Times Book Review) guide, Robinson illuminates the Jewish life cycle at every stage and lays out many fascinating aspects of the religion—the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, the evolution of Hasidism, and much more—while keeping a firm focus on the different paths to living a good Jewish life in today’s world.
Now, a decade and a half later, Robinson has updated this valuable introductory text with information on topics including denominational shifts, same-sex marriage, the intermarriage debate, transgender Jews, the growth of anti-Semitism, and the changing role of women in worship, along with many other hotly debated topics in the contemporary Jewish world and beyond." - from the publisher
Living Judaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition, and Practice by
Call Number: BM561 .B65 1995
Publication Date: 1995-10-01
"Living Judaism is an engaging overview of the Jewish faith - a perfect introduction for people with little knowledge of Jewish history, tradition, or practice and an equally thought-provoking guide for those already steeped in Jewish life. Living Judaism covers the whole spectrum of Jewish life: Jewish beliefs, the Jewish people, Jewish literature, Jewish days and holidays, Jewish worship, Jewish living, the Jewish life cycle, and the Jewish land." - from the publisher
To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life by
Call Number: BM700 .D58
Publication Date: 2001-09-19
"The classic guide to the ageless heritage of Judaism
Embraced over many decades by hundreds of thousands of readers, To Be a Jew offers a clear and comprehensive introduction to traditional Jewish laws and customs as they apply to daily life in the contemporary world. In simple and powerful language, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin presents the fundamentals of Judaism, including the laws and observances for the Sabbath, the dietary laws, family life, prayer at home and in the synagogue, the major and minor holidays, and the guiding principles and observances of life, such as birth, naming, circumcision, adoption and conversion, Bar-mitzvah, marriage, divorce, death, and mourning.
Ideal for reference, reflection, and inspiration, To Be a Jew will by greatly valued by anyone who feels that knowing, understanding, and observing the laws and traditions of Judaism in daily life is the essence of what it means to be a Jew." - from the publisher
The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice their Religion Today by
Call Number: BM205 .W457 2018
Publication Date: 2018-08-28
"A leading expert provides an engaging firsthand portrait of American Judaism today-American Judaism has been buffeted by massive social upheavals in recent decades. Like other religions in the United States, it has witnessed a decline in the number of participants over the past forty years, and many who remain active struggle to reconcile their hallowed traditions with new perspectives--from feminism and the LGBTQ movement to "do-it-yourself religion" and personally defined spirituality. Taking a fresh look at American Judaism today, Jack Wertheimer, a leading authority on the subject, sets out to discover how Jews of various orientations practice their religion in this radically altered landscape. Which observances still resonate, and which ones have been given new meaning? What options are available for seekers or those dissatisfied with conventional forms of Judaism? And how are synagogues responding? Wertheimer provides new and often-surprising answers to these questions by drawing on a wide range of sources, including survey data, visits to countless synagogues, and revealing interviews with more than two hundred rabbis and other informed observers." - source of summary not specified
Must a Jew Believe Anything? by
Call Number: BM602 .K45 2006
Publication Date: 2006-01-26
"The crucial question for today's Jewish world, Menachem Kellner argues, is not whether Jews will have Jewish grandchildren, but how many different sorts of mutually exclusive Judaisms those grandchildren will face. Kellner's short, brisk, and accessible book examines how the split that threatens the Jewish future can be avoided. The first six chapters of this strongly argued book analyse what religious faith means in classical Judaism and will be of interest to anyone seeking lucid insights into the nature of Judaism. The final chapter builds upon the conclusions of the first six in order to argue for a new way of construing the relationship of Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox Jews and institutions. Kellner argues that the Orthodox practice of framing the debate with non-Orthodox movements in terms of dogmatic fidelity contrasted with heresy is not the traditional Jewish approach, and that the debate could well be framed in other ways, ways that would allow all Jews to work together towards a less polarized Jewish future. Undoubtedly, Must a Jew Believe Anything? has the potential to make a difference to how Orthodoxy understands itself and its relationship to other Jewish movements in the modern world." - from the publisher
The Jewish God Question by
Call Number: B755 .P47 2018
Publication Date: 2018-11-15
"This book shares what a diverse array of Jewish thinkers have said about the interrelated questions of God, the Book, the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel. Accessible chapters present fascinating insights from ancient times to today, from Philo to Judith Plaskow. An intriguing and provocative book for readers wrestling with big questions." - from the publisher
The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion Through the Lens of Divinity by
Call Number: BM610 .L494 2020
Publication Date: 2020-07-21
"Few topics are as broad or as daunting as the God of Israel, that deity of the world's three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, who has been worshiped over millennia. In the Hebrew Bible, God is characterized variously as militant, beneficent, inscrutable, loving, and judicious. Who is this divinity that has been represented as masculine and feminine, mythic and real, transcendent and intimate? The Origin and Character of God is Theodore J. Lewis's monumental study of the vast subject that is the God of Israel. In it, he explores questions of historical origin, how God was characterized in literature, and how he was represented in archaeology and iconography. He also brings us into the lived reality of religious experience. Using the window of divinity to peer into the varieties of religious experience in ancient Israel, Lewis explores the royal use of religion for power, prestige, and control; the intimacy of family and household religion; priestly prerogatives and cultic status; prophetic challenges to injustice; and the pondering of theodicy by poetic sages. A volume that is encyclopedic in scope but accessible in tone, The Origin and Character of God is an essential addition to the growing scholarship of one of humanity's most enduring concepts." - from the publisher
The Torah (The Hebrew Bible)
The Jewish Bible: A Material History by
Call Number: BS1130 .S74 2017
Publication Date: 2017-07-01
"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." - from the publisher
For more resources, see the subject headings Jews Election, Doctrine of History of doctrines and Covenants Religious aspects Judaism.
Avoiding confusion: Most Jews will understand the word bris to mean the custom of bris milah (circumcision), unless you clarify otherwise.
The Election of Israel: The Idea of the Chosen People by
Call Number: BM613 .N68 1995
Publication Date: 1995-05-04
"In this book, David Novak conducts a historical, philosophical, and theological reflection on the central Jewish doctrine of Israel's election by God, also known as the idea of the chosen people. historically, he analyzes the great change in modern jewish thought brought about by Spinoza's inversion of the doctrine: that it was not god, who elected Israel, but Israel who elected god." - from the publisher
The Jews As a Chosen People : Tradition and Change by
Call Number: BM613 .G87 2009
Publication Date: 2014-03-27
"The concept of the Jews as a chosen people is a key element of the Jewish faith and identity. This book explores the idea of chosenness from the ancient world, through modernity and into the Post-Holocaust era. Analysing a vast corpus of biblical, ancient, rabbinic and modern Jewish literature, the author seeks to give a better understanding of this central doctrine of the Jewish religion. She shows that although the idea of chosenness has been central to Judaism and Jewish self-definition, it has not been carried to the present day in the same form. Instead it has gone through constant change, depending on who is employing it, against what sort of background, and for what purpose. Surveying the different and sometimes conflicting interpretations of the doctrine of chosenness that appear in Ancient, Modern, and Post-Holocaust periods, the dominant themes of ‘Holiness’, ‘Mission’, and ‘Survival’ are identified in each respective period. The theological, philosophical, and sociological dimensions of the question of Jewish chosenness are thus examined in their historical context, as responses to the challenges of Christianity, Modernity, and the Holocaust in particular." - from the publisher
Exile (Galut / Golut) and Redemption (Moshiach / Messiah)
Galut: Modern Jewish Reflection on Homelessness and Homecoming by
Call Number: BM613.5 .E57 1986
Publication Date: 1986-11-01
"Pt. 1 deals with biblical and rabbinic texts on exile and relations with non-Jews. Pt. 2 deals with Zionism and the views of thinkers such as Herzl, Jacob Klatzkin, and Yehezkel Kaufmann, who believed that secular messianism would solve the "Jewish question" and tended to view antisemitism as a natural response to the Jewish refusal to assimilate. Examines changes in the perception of Jewish history as a result of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. (From the Bibliography of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism)." - from the publisher
Messianic Mystics by
Call Number: BM615 .I34 1998
Publication Date: 1998-11-10
"In this stimulating book, one of the world’s leading scholars of Jewish thought examines the long tradition of Jewish messianism and mystical experience. Moshe Idel calls upon his profound knowledge of ancient and medieval texts and of Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Eastern sources to uncover new perspectives on the nature and development of Jewish messianism. He shows that, contrary to Gershom Scholem’s view that mysticism and messianism are incompatible religious tendencies, they are in fact closely related spiritual phenomena. Messianism regularly emerges from mystical experiences, Idel contends. Exploring the interplay of Jewish messianism and mysticism from the twelfth through the eighteenth centuries, the book looks closely at pivotal figures and movements, including Abraham Abulafia, Sabbatai Sevi, and hasidism. Idel discerns three types of messianism—theosophical-theurgical, ecstatic, and talismanic—and through these demonstrates that Kabbalah, from the very beginning, was messianically oriented. He counters the common belief that messianism typically arises as a response to such calamities as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and shows that messiahs often gain great popularity in times of political tranquility. Idel also finds that Jewish messianic and mystical experience bears a much greater resemblance to Christian messianism than has been recognized before."
The Jewish Messiahs : from the Galilee to Crown Heights by
Call Number: BM615 .L39 2001
Publication Date: 2001-09-27
"In this book, Harris Lenowitz explores the fascinating history of Jewish messianic movements. Looking in detail at all of the Jewish messiahs about whom anything is known, he introduces each of these figures in turn, and offers extensive excerpts of the original texts that tell their stories. The messiahs whom we meet in these pages range from the inspiring to the tragic and bizarre. By examining the messianic idea in the tradition which gave birth to it, Lenowitz both sheds new light on this engrossing aspect of Jewish history and provides a firmer basis for understanding contemporary messianic groups." - from the publisher
Death and Afterlife
Jewish Views of the Afterlife by
Call Number: BM635 .R37 2009
Publication Date: 2009-06-15
"Originally published in 1994, Jewish Views of the Afterlife is a classic study of ideas of afterlife and postmortem survival in Jewish tradition and mysticism.
As both a scholar and pastoral counselor, Raphael guides the reader through 4,000 years of Jewish thought on the afterlife by investigating pertinent sacred texts produced in each era. Through a compilation of ideas found in the Bible, Apocrypha, rabbinic literature, medieval philosophy, medieval Midrash, Kabbalah, Hasidism and Yiddish literature, the reader learns how Judaism conceived of the fate of the individual after death throughout Jewish history. In addition, this book explores the implications of Jewish afterlife beliefs for a renewed understanding of traditional rituals of funeral, burial, shiva, kaddish and more.
This newly released twenty-fifth anniversary edition presents new material on little-known Jewish mystical teachings on reincarnation, a chapter on “Spirits, Ghosts and Dybbuks in Yiddish Literature”, and a foreword by the renowned scholar of Jewish mysticism, Rabbi Arthur Green.
Both historical and contemporary, this book provides a rich resource for scholars and laypeople and for teachers and students and makes an important Jewish contribution to the growing contemporary psychology of death and dying." - from the publisher
Tikkun Olam = Healing the World
The Jewish Approach to Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam) : A Brief Introduction for Christians by
Call Number: BJ1285.2 .D668 2008
Publication Date: 2008-09-01
"The concept of repairing the world (tikkun olam) is an integral part of Jewish life. It helps shape Jewish social and family relationships, and even mandates how Jews should speak to others. But why is it important for Christians to understand this Jewish approach to life? And what kind of impact can understanding this fundamental aspect of Judaism have on Christians seeking to develop a deeper understanding of their own faith? With insight and wisdom, award-winning author Rabbi Elliot Dorff provides an accessible, honest and thorough exploration of this important Jewish concept. With easy-to-understand explanations of Jewish terms, practices and history, each chapter explores a different facet touched by the tradition of tikkun olam. Rabbi Dorff also addresses parallel themes and practices in the Christian tradition, helping you better understand the roots of Christianity and how the fundamentals of Judaism relate and reflect your own aspirations to repair the world." - from the publisher
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