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One Hundred Great Jewish Books: Three Millennia of Jewish Conversation Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: BlueBridge (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933346310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933346311
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Hoffman's lucid and eloquent interpretations will appeal to Jewish and non-Jewish readers searching to understand Judaism and to 'connect the dots' in their own lives." —Publisher's Weekly on The Journey Home

"The ultimate Jewish book review! Lawrence Hoffman has made a fascinating selection of one hundred great Jewish books, offering a brief introduction to each. This reader-friendly approach masks a wide-ranging erudition, embracing the great variety of Jewish literature throughout the ages. Want to know what Jewish books are worth reading? You could have no better guide!"—Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector, Hebrew College Rabbinical School

"Rabbi Hoffman is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant scholars in Jewish life today. This, his latest book, is Hoffman at his best: wise, artful, and deeply engaging. It is a spectacular introduction to Judaism in a new and exciting way: a conversation through the ages that his book opens up in a compelling and page-turning way."—Rabbi Richard Jacobs, President-Elect, Union for Reform Judaism

"What is a great Jewish book? In this fascinating volume, renowned scholar and omnivorous reader Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman offers wise, pithy introductions to one hundred amazing books, each a vibrant participant in the clamorous Jewish conversation that began when God called out to Abraham and continues still. Anyone interested in the greatest productions of the People of the Book should start here."—Jonathan D. Sarna, Chief Historian, National Museum of American Jewish History

"Rabbi Hoffman . . . has compiled a list of what he considers to be great Jewish books. . . . The selections are organized by broad topic. . . . Guaranteed to spark conversation and offer excellent selections for book clubs." —Booklist (November 1, 2011)

About the Author

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman is a rabbi and the Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship, and Ritual at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He lectures widely on bringing spiritual innovation into contemporary Jewish life and is the author of many books, including Israel: A Spiritual Travel Guide, The Journey Home, and the National Jewish Book Award winner My People's Prayer Book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By V. Stewart on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subtitle is the real key here. Hoffman's book is a doorway into a new and exciting way of looking at Judaism: as an ongoing
conversation. And the 100 great Jewish books mentioned in the title are the means Hoffman uses to introduce the reader to that
conversation. Just the list alone would make the book worth buying. So would Hoffman's concise and expert descriptions of the books and
their importance. But the real jewel here is the package Hoffman has put together. This is as much a book about the nature of Judaism as
it is about Jewish books.

Moreover, in spite of its depth, the book is an easy read, in part because the content is so conveniently divided up into two to three page

One of the most intriguing books I've read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jsa on December 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite its title, which subliminally implies limitation, "One Hundred Great Jewish Books" is not a top one hundred listing - an absurdity given the immense catalog of essential Jewish reading - but instead is meant to be what Lawrence Hoffman describes as "an altogether new kind of introduction to Judaism, intended to enrich the explanations of Jewish history, thought, and practice that other books provide." Unfortunately, on the first page of the introduction Hoffman makes a statement that's bound to alienate many readers, and also defines his surprisingly limited frame of reference regarding what constitutes a "great" book. "For the majority of Jews in Israel," he writes, "religion is associated with Jewish fundamentalism and its ultra-Orthodox political parties that would return Judaism to the Middle Ages if they could." This statement is at best a gross simplification; at worst, deliberately divisive if not provocative. As a rabbi, especially one who identifies with a branch of Judaism that supposedly emphasizes diversity, inclusiveness and open-mindedness, Hoffman should know better than this.

Hoffman acknowledges that his choices for inclusion in his survey are "somewhat personal"; and even though he never mentions it, the one hundred book cut-off is artificial given that there are far more than a hundred books on his list. It just depends on how you count them. For example, the Babylonian Talmud is counted as only one book despite the 63 named tractates which run to 72 volumes in the current Hebrew/English Artscroll edition. Hoffman also counts the Midrash Rabbah as one book even though it takes up 10 volumes in the Soncino Press edition.
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