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The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus Hardcover


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The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus + JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis + The JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus
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Product Details

  • Series: JPS Torah Commentary
  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: The Jewish Publication Society; 1st edition (1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827603274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827603271
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is the fourth volume in the acclaimed "Jewish Publication Society Torah Commentary" series. Volumes on the books of Genesis and Leviticus were published in 1989, and Numbers in 1990. Following the format of the earlier books, this new work presents the traditional masoretic Hebrew text and the new JPS English translation, along with a masterful commentary by eminent scholar Sarna. Drawing upon classical and modern sources, Sarna's exegesis and historical and philological interpretations are scholarly yet quite accessible to nonspecialist readers. Included are an introduction, six excurses on problematic subjects, a glossary, and notes. Sarna eschews any attempt to discuss the provenance of the Exodus text, although he does state that he considers Exodus a work of historiosophy (a document of faith) rather than a work of historiography. Like its predecessors, this beautifully formatted book will greatly help elucidate the text of a seminal book of the Hebrew Bible. Directed primarily to a Jewish audience (clergy, specialists, and general readers), it could also benefit non-Jewish clergy and specialists as well.
- Robert A. Silver, Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English, Hebrew

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Kaiser on July 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The best commentary on exodus that I have ever seen. This work makes use of literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological discoveries. Yet, it is also based on traditional rabbinic commentary! While accessible to lay people, it is based on the the highest standards of critical historical scholarship.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Tupper on December 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a whole, the JPS series of commentaries on the first five books of the Bible is excellent. However, of the five, I would say Sarna's efforts are the weakest. The Hebrew text is clear, the JPS translation well laid out, and the commentary extensive. However, if you are hesitating the pay the cost of this book, I would recommend Sarna's paperback, Exploring Exodus. While not nearly as lengthy as this commentary, Sarna's paperback contains most of the ideas that he elucidates in this volume. The same can be said of his JPS commentary on Genesis, which does not add much to his shorter paperback book, Understanding Genesis.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The biblical book Genesis is of course the most exciting and thought provoking books of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, at least from a literary point of view. But Exodus comes a close second. And Dr. Nahum Sarna enhances the story with his brilliant commentary built from ancient and modern interpretations and his own unique abilities.

Sarna includes an introduction discussing the book's title, which was drawn from the Greek translation of about 250 BCE, the division of the book into forty chapters, an idea taken from Christian Bibles,the three-parts that divide Exodus, the oppression of the Israelites, the exodus from Egypt and slavery, and the events at Sinai. He also discuses when the events occured.

He includes twenty additional short discussions that preface the biblical narratives on subjects such as the birth and youth of Moses, the plagues, the Sinai covenant, and the Tabernacle.

After the detailed well-written commnetary on the Torah verses, Sarna concludes his book with six discussions on subjects such as who were the Hebrews, the meaning of El Shaddai, and ancient near eastern laws and the bible.

An example of Dr. Sarna's commentary is his discussion of the concept of "hardening Pharaoh's heart," which occurs exactly twenty times in Exodus, half attributed to the man's character and half to divine causuality. Sarna explains the phrase, tells why the verses speak of the heart rather than the mind, why half are assigned as God's work, and what the twenty occurrences mean.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Derek Leman on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nahum Sarna is the kind of commentator we need more of. He combines a thorough command of the issues behind the biblical text with a clear style and much wisdom. His Genesis commentary is one of the best.

The problem with his Exodus commentary is simple: it is too short and inadequately covers some parts of the book. There are hardly any Excurses as compared to the Genesis volume. This book has every sign of having been rushed. Yes, as other commentators said, he is helpful on some issues. But you will find barely any coverage of issues that deserve lengthy treatment.

This goes for the running commentary on some sections. It also goes for the lack of topics that should have been covered in the Excurses (how about an excursus on the number of Israelites, slavery, the place names, etc.?).

I recommend those who want to have a complete JPS Torah library get this volume. But supplement Exodus with other commentaries. My favorite is Umberto Cassuto, but it is out of print.

Derek Leman
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