From Library Journal
The publication of the complete Book of Legends in English is a landmark event in Jewish learning. Since its original compilation (1908-11) by Bialik and Ravnitzky, two commanding figures in Hebrew literature, this work has been a classic text of rabbinic legend and lore. It is a thematic anthology of nonlegal rabbinic literature on all aspects of human life (e.g., creation, redemption, wisdom, clothing, folk medicine studied through Jewish stories, parables, sayings, homilies, and anecdotes). The translation by Braude is clear, lucid, and readable and includes interpolations that increase the sense and comprehension of the text. The introduction by David Stern analyzes both the volume's place in Rabbinic Judaism and the achievement of the compilers, noting both strengths and weaknesses. This volume is recommended to all libraries with an interest in Judaism, folklore, and religion.- Maurice Tuchman, Hebrew Coll. Lib., Brookline, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
To have Book of Legends/Sefer Ha-Aggadah available in English is to open to the entire English-reading world -- Jew, non-Jew, religionist, secularist -- one of the very great creations of humankind: a rich and intricately woven tapestry of tales, homilies, legends and dreams that come to us from the very roots of the imagination. What a treasure!"
-- Chaim Potok
"Bialik and Ravnitzky's great compendium of Rabbinic legend and homily has been an indispensable resource ever since its publication in Hebrew eight decades ago....English readers are very fortunate to be able at last to avail themselves of this extraordinary compilation."
-- Robert Alter
"In translating Bialik and Ravnitzky's incomparable thematic anthology into very readable English, William Braude, master translator of Rabbinic texts, has provided the English reader with a wonderful access to the wealth of Rabbinic interpretation and lore. This book should be a fixture in the library of every serious Jew."
-- Norman J. Cohen, Dean, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
"Sefer Ha-Aggadah has long been one of my favorite volumes of Jewish literature. Bialik and Ravnitzky arranged topically a vast collection of Talmudic and midrashic material. Whatever one is looking for, be it stories about biblical characters or reflections on love, evil, childrearing, or healing; it is there .... A most welcome addition to the growing collection of Jewish classics now available in English translation."
-- Judith Hauptman, Associate Professor of Talmud, Jewish Theological Seminary
"Sefer Ha-Aggadah restored the prestige of the non-legal sections of the Talmud and nurtured aesthetic appreciation for one of the world's most creative and colorful literatures. I fully endorse this marvelous translation by William Braude."
-- David Weiss-Halivni, Columbia University