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The Book of Legends/Sefer Ha-Aggadah: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash Hardcover – November 10, 1992
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From Library Journal
- Maurice Tuchman, Hebrew Coll. Lib., Brookline, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
-- 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
Top Customer Reviews
Further, the previous reviewer incorrectly charged the editors with falsely mistranslation passages in order to please a certain point of view. This is pure fiction.
The fact is that the Jewish tradition has always held the aggadah in the highest esteem, and it is only among the post-16th century Ashkenazi Orthodox that we find it reduced to the pathetic state that is has been in. Fortunately, the editors of this compilation come to the resuce by presenting all the classic aggadic passages from the Mishna, both of the Talmuds (Yerushalmi and Bavli), and most of the major midrash compilations.
I cannot overemphasize the ease of use; any English speaker will find it extremely easy to look up any aggadic passage based on subject or verse. further, it is comprehensive beyond anything that I couldhave wished for. if you are secular, or religious Jew, this book is for you. If you a Reform Conservative or Modern Orthodox Jew, it is for you. If you are a gentile who wants to learn about Judaism, this is for you.
However, as the above reviewer demonstrates, if you are an uneducated religious fundamentalist, this book may not be to your liking.
Irreverently, I think of 'The Book of Legends' as the 'juicy parts' redaction of the some of the most important bodies of work in the Jewish faith. The Talmud is composed of both law and legend, and the stones of that law grind exceedingly fine. To be honest, I am much more drawn to the lore and legends; because I believe it is there that the true center of the Jewish spirit can be found. Whether it be the story of Solomon's struggles with demon kind, or the thoughts of the sages on the nature of God, this is the imagination and the heart of thousands of years of belief.
Am I exaggerating? I don't know. But this material has lived as oral tradition from generation to generation, and now we are able to hold it in printed form, simply to read or for research. Bialik and Ravnitsky put an immense effort into gather the material together from many diverse sources, and then managing to arrange it is such a fashion that it is accessible. The first parts are organized in accordance with Jewish biblical history, and then as the deeds of the Sages. Following sections turn to Israel's place in the world, the nature of God, man, his community and the world itself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps the best anthology of Jewish wisdom from, primarily, early rabbinic sources. Beautifully arranged by topic. Well translated and comprehensive.Published 4 months ago by ravads
I gave this a top rating but maybe it should have been less than perfect because the printing is very small, If there is a next edition maybe it should be two volumes. Read morePublished 5 months ago