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.