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The Talmud, The Steinsaltz Edition, Vol. 1: Tractate Bava Metzia, Part 1 Hardcover – December 2, 1989

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; American ed edition (December 2, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394576667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394576664
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition makes Judaism's great compendium of tradition, law, and legend readily accessible to the modern English reader for the first time.

Accepted as the authoritative basis for all codifications of Jewish law and subsequent codifications of Jewish law and practice, the multivolume Babylonian Talmud has been studied constantly by Jewish communities throughout the world since its completion in the sixth century.

Yet for most people, the complexity of the Talmud's Hebrew and Aramaic text is an almost impenetrable barrier to appreciating its riches. Even in translation, the unique system of logic and involved argumentation often baffle the inexperienced reader.

The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition makes it possible for everyone to read the Talmud because it is more than just a translation. Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz becomes your personal instructor, guiding you through the intricate paths of Talmudic logic and thought. His extensive introductions and commentaries make the text crystal clear by providing all the background information needed to follow it, while his illustrated marginal notes supply fascinating insights into daily life in Talmudic times.

This volume, Tractate Bava Metzia, Part One, is one of the first sections traditionally studied by newcomers to the Talmud, since it contains so many or' the basic elements common to all Talmudic logic. It focuses on the resolution of disputes that may arise in daily life and commercial transactions, such as rival claims to the ownership of property.

Many related issues involving claims inevitably come under examination, such as contracts (including marriage contracts and bills of divorce), loans, promissory notes, and other such documents. There is much discussion of how the courts should proceed, including whether or not an oath, which is considered by the Talmud to be a matter of gave consequence, was to be administered to the various claimants.

The extraordinary sensitivity of the courts to ensuring absolute justice for all parties is reflected on every page. And as with all Talmudic discussions, the interplay of personalities and the subtleties of human relationships give rise to a host of possibilities that reflect human life as a whole.

About the Author

Scholar, teacher, mystic, scientist and social critic, Adin Steinsaltz is internationally regarded as one of the leading rabbis of this century.

Hailed by Time magazine as "a once-in-a-millennium scholar," Rabbi Steinsaltz has set as his life's goal the popularization of the Talmud. Over twenty volumes of his monumental translation into modern Hebrew have now been published by the Israel Institute for Talmudic Publications, which he heads, and they have sold more than a million copies worldwide. With its full punctuation, vocalization and crystal-clear commentaries, The Steinsaltz Edition has enabled far greater numbers of people to become familiar with the Talmud than ever before.

However, as Rabbi Steinsaltz says, "We now have a major part of the Jewish people whose native tongue is English and who are really not comfortable with any other language." This English edition, therefore, is designed to further his aim of bringing the Talmud to as broad an audience as possible.

Rabbi Steinsaltz has been a resident scholar at both Yale University and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. In 1988 he was invited to open a Judaic Studies Center in Moscow, the first such institution in sixty years, and to supervise the inventory and replication of the Soviet Union's vast libraries and archives of Judaica.

The same year, Rabbi Steinsaltz was awarded the Israel Prize, his country's highest honor. He is the author of several popular books on Jewish practice and thought, and lives with his family in Jerusalem.

More About the Author

Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz is a teacher, philosopher, social critic and prolific author who has been hailed by Time Magazine as a "once-in-a-millennium scholar."

He has devoted his life to making the Talmud accessible to all Jews. After a 45-year effort, Rabbi Steinsaltz completed a monumental elucidation of the entire Talmud in modern Hebrew, now used all over the world. Rabbi Steinsaltz then partnered with Koren Publishers Jerusalem to launch the Koren Talmud Bavli, a groundbreaking new edition of the Talmud which includes modern English translation, color illustrations and previously-censored passages.

Rabbi Steinsaltz has written 60 books and hundreds of articles, has established the Makor Chaim network of schools in Israel and the former Soviet Union, and holds several honorary degrees. He was born and lives in Jerusalem.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have had this edition of the Talmud for a weeks now and must say that I would recommend it to anybody. I've been wanting to study Talmud for a while, but couldn't find a good English Edition.

The other major Edition of the Talmud in English is Artscroll's Schottenstein Edition. While the Schottenstein certainly has its merits, I find the Steinsaltz Talmud superior. First of all you would have to note the superior layout of the Steinsaltz Talmud. The print is large, and layout clear. This makes for an "easy read." I love the fact that Rav Steinsaltz gives two translations: one is pretty much a word-for-word translation, which is great for those learning Hebrew/Aramaic. The other translation is contextual, i.e. Rav Steinsaltz attempts to put the larger context in, so that what you read makes a lot more sense. Words and phrases from the literal translation are highlighted so that you know which words are from the Talmud and which have been supplemented by Rav Steinsaltz.

The edition includes good notes on the background, although I do think the Schottenstein notes are a bit more extensive. That being said, the Steinsaltz edition excells in sorting through what is and isn't necessary, which I find really helpful for beginnners (you don't want to be overwhelmed the first time you open that Talmud volume).
The only thing I find odd is that Volume 1 is only 250 pages long. I feel they could've made each volume thicker (the present one is maybe only one or one-and-a-half inches thick) so that Bava Metzia wouldn't span 6 (?) Volumes. Having to buy more volumes is a bit harder on the pocket book, especially for me as a student.

PS: Bava Metzia Volume 1 CONTAINS ONLY THE FIRST CHAPTER of Bava Metzia. Volume 2 includes chapters 2 and 3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By attheburningbush on March 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like this set for the translation very much, it restores to the English reader the correct translation. What I mean is this. In most modern English translations (including the Soncino) passages that may be seen as offensive to Gentile readers (and their are quite a few) are changed, or escape clauses are added in the footnotes. For example, Sanhedrin 58b 'A heathen (Goy) who keeps a day of rest deserves death.' In the footnotes it is stated, 'deserves death' is not to be taken 'literally.' This is an escape clause, so that when challenged about the racist nature of the Talmud unsuspecting Gentiles can be placated. The original Hebrew does not have these additions, and Adin Steinsaltz has mantained the intigrity of the Hebrew text.

The problem with this set is that it is not a complete set of the Babylonian Talmud. Random House has only published the first 22 volumes. Although it cannot be proven, many suspect that the printing was stopped because of pressure from the Orthodox Rabbis, who did not want the true nature of Judaism being exposed to non-Hebrew speakers. Because of my own study and knowledge of Judaism I believe this is most likely the case.

The other problem with these volumes is their price, while some are not to expensive, because of the limited availability of this set others are very pricey indeed, with used copies of some over $250 each.

All that being said, if you are looking for a really good English translation these Steinsaltz Talmud are the best available.
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By Packovitch on May 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
will meet my needs for a class to study bible and interpretations. our rabbi made the recommendation of this text.
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