Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages (Routledge Advances in Sociology) 1st Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415476409
ISBN-10: 0415476402
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Kraemer is Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1979. Over the course of these 25 years, he has contributed to the training of thousands of rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and others, many of whom are now active as leaders in Jewish communities across the country and abroad. He has published six books on topics as varied as Rabbinic understandings of human suffering, beliefs concerning death and the afterlife in Rabbinic Judaism, and the Jewish family. His intellectual history of the Babylonian Talmud, The Mind of the Talmud, was named an "Outstanding Academic Book of 1991" by Choice (May 1992). Kraemer has also published hundreds of articles, columns and opinion pieces, both scholarly and popular.

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Advances in Sociology
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415476402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415476409
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Florance Berman on September 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read an excellent piece in the Forward written by David Kraemer. The biography mentioned this book and I was excited to order it. I got it used (I can't possible afford it new) and it smelled of smoke. I worked to get much of the smoke out so that I could finally read this much waited for volume. It is really a waste of time and energy.

I teach Jewish Law in Israel to American post-high-school students. I cover more sources in one hour than Kraemer does in the entire book. The analysis is weak at best and the references to historical data lacking. I bought this book to give me insight from an academic perspective into Jewish eating customs. Instead, it was an aggravating pocket full of mumbles. Very little history in what is really just a survey of a few basic issues which really show he is no expert in the area of Jewish law and especially medieval commentaries.

In the kashruth section, for instance, he quotes Maimonides about the period of waiting between milk and meat, but omits Rashi -- a critical position to balance Rambam and R. Yaakov b. Meir. He claims that Rambam has no source -- really, I (and all super-commentaries) thought it was a clear interpretation of the Talmud in Hulin. He speaks with authority of the history of eating utensils as if no one in the ancient world had any -- a simply stroll in the British Museum will dispel much of that (or at least demand a more nuanced and supported view.) There are a few FULL SETS of pots and the like from the Byzantine period.

He mentions the new revisionist school's minimalist position about the extent of rabbinic power in the first and second century claiming that Philo is more representative of the Jew on the street.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donald I. Siegel on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Jewish Eating.." tells why there are kosher "certified" products with no non-kosher food items in them (e.g. soft drinks and waters)--and far more. It traces the history of kashrus from biblical observance (following only what the text of the Torah says)to later Rabbical one-upsmanship ("Rabbinical kashrus) designed to see who could be more restrictive than the other, largely to prevent social intercourse (and other intercourse) between Jew and Gentile.

The author includes detailed Talmudic and historical scholarship to buttress his points, coupled to a wry sense of humor. Together, these make for a very good read for those Jews who want to know why we do (or are urged to do) with respect to traditional observance.

Simply learning why the pig became so reviled by Jews is worth the price of the book or the time spent reading it. But I won't tell you. This review constitutes a book trailer.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brochstein on February 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jewish law about kashrut has changed much much more than I ever knew or would have guessed over the years. David's book illuminated this in a very readable fashion. I was quite surprised about how much stricter the laws of kashrut have become over the last few thousand years (and especially over the last few hundred years). David also explains why this evolution has taken place and that is in itself very interesting.
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