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The Jewish Religion: A Companion Hardcover – December 7, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0198264637 ISBN-10: 0198264631 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA?This compendium, arranged in dictionary format, allows students to learn about one of the world's oldest religions. Jacobs deals with topics ranging from personalities in the Bible to Jewish thinkers of the present day; he includes customs, traditions, and Jewish ideas on topics as diverse as adoption and astrology. The author also considers Jewish attitudes towards ecology, insanity, and even worrying. The text is readable and interesting; there is no need to have any grounding in Hebrew language or terminology. High school students asked to examine historical issues associated with Judaism or to understand Judaic allusions in literature will find this work invaluable.?Ron Axelrod, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"...I see this book as a work of great erudition from which knowledge of and insights into Judaism may be derived." Outlook

`Jacobs writes with clarity, grace, sympathy, and conviction ... For student and non-specialist JRC will be a most welcome companion; for admirers of Louis Jacob, it offers a compendium of his learning and thinking on all aspects of Judaism.' Journal of Jewish Studies

`This is a wonderful work which combines his [Jacobs's] great knowledge of Judaism and Jewish thought with his ability to make understandable complex and important issues in Judaism...Dr Jacobs has achieved a uniformity of style which is illuminating, refreshing, and authoritative but not condescending.' Michael Neiditch, President of the Jerusalem Foundation, Inc. of the United States

`A wealth of information on every aspect of Jewish belief and practice arranged accessibly in alphabetical order. An invaluable repository of information on the rich and diverse Jewish heritage for Jew and non-Jew alike.' Books, September 1995

`This fat dictionary can supply all the usual information you might expect, as well as answers to really useful questions ... There is theology and culture, history and humour, in a single volume which is easy to find your way about in.' Church Times

`it is an alphabetical encyclopaedia reflecting his interests in Jewish law, philosophy and spirituality, as well as responses to contemporary issues ... The range of Dr Jacobs's scholarship is impressive, and his plain and lucid style if particularly helpful for the lay reader.' Jonathan Gorsky, Jewish Chronicle

`His companion to the Jewish religion exemplifies the best of his work ... luminously written, crackling with insight and frequently amusing ... it is an erudite aid and guide to reading ... a delightful companion in itself, a book that can be dipped into and savoured for its own sake.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

`Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs is not only one of the most erudite of contemporary students of Judaism, he is also one of the most versatile. The reader is continually surprised and delighted by Jacobs's wry sense of humour. He shows that it is possible to be serious about religion and enjoy it at the same time ... this is a wonderful 'companion' with which to share a leisurely journey through the Jewish religion. There is something new to learn or some new perspective to gain on every page. Rarely has an author communicated so refreshingly the excitement and fun of Jewish learning.' The Expository Times

`a splendid book by a remarkable man ... Louis Jacobs is one of the most elegant and knowledgeable Jewish writers of our times' Leslie Giffiths, Methodist Recorder

`an important one ... This whole volume is infused with a passion and fulfils the author's guiding principle, "to present our religion as the challening, relevant, sublime faith it is" ... as a rabbi once explained, "A sage may have great wisdom, but an illui lights up the world." Louis Jacobs is such a man.' Erich Segal, Times Literary Supplement

`Louis Jacobs presented his material in a distinctively subjective way. The entries contain very instructive data on just every aspect of Jewish belief and practice...this companion has become a first rank literary creation, showing its eminent usefulness as a work of reference.' Journal for the Study of Judaism

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 7, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198264631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198264637
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.7 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've been using this book for years and have always found it readable, scholarly, impartial (as among the different branches of Judaism), and comprehensive. Although that remains my opinion, I was recently shocked to discover a significant error--the article on Rabbi Eliezer (p. 143) tells the famous and philosophically fascinating Talmudic story of Rabbi Eliezer's dispute with an authoritative group of colleagues over a point of law. Jacobs says that "Rabbi Eliezer held fast to his opinion even against ... a voice that came from heaven." In fact, the original Talmudic story (found at Bava Metzia 59b) recounts that the heaveny voice (G-d) was invoked by Rabbi Eliezer and said to the other rabbis (from the Steinsaltz translation) 'Why are you [disputing] with Rabbi Eliezer, for the [law] is in accordance with him everywhere?" Notwithstanding this error, the only one I have come across in many hours with this book, I heartily recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Rabbi Louis Jacobs was a man of immense Jewish learning and understanding. This volume is rich in information about Jewish religious concepts, practices, sources of learning and even historical phenomena. At one time I carried this dictionary with me everywhere and whenever I had an opportunity would read or two entries and felt I had truly learned something.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rosie2U on October 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have had this alphabetically ordered compendium of ideas and names for some years now and am grateful for it every time I dip into it. It is definitely one of the several books I would take were I to have to live on a desert island. Rabbi Jacobs was obviously a profound scholar and a very fair judge. He includes matter that a less open mind would shun, but does so circumspectly and in a way that opens windows to new vistas to explore should one see fit. It is very easy to use and read and will be a great personal resource.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack Millman on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazingly readable work.
A serious aid in my education about the jewish religion.
Jack Millman
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