29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Valuable Reading For the Jew and Non-Jew Alike,
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This review is from: The Classic Midrash: Tannaitic Commentaries on the Bible (Classics of Western Spirituality) (Paperback)
The Classic Midrash is a series of Biblical commentaries written by the Sages - Rabbinical scholars after the fall of the second temple in 70 CE. Reading the Midrash is a lifetime work, and I would be unable to do it justice in a single reading and a single review.
The Midrash reminded me that scriptual reading takes on many levels, including allegorical, literal and symbolic, and that there is a depth to our Western scripture that can and does keep us coming back to it for thousands of years. There is also a not so subtle reminder that the Pentateuch in Hebrew holds a deeper meaning than any translations could, given common word roots, gematria and "sounds like" elements that are unfortunately lost in translation.
Rabbi Hammer does a nice job of providing commentaries on the commentaries - which were necsessary for me as the work was not written for the modern reader, is not in Hebrew, and I am not Jewish and so would miss many of the subtleties and cutural references but for his well written exegesis.
If you have an interest in the Bible, in studying religious history, Judacia or want to get in touch with Western Spirituality, this is a good book. It is also one in a long series of Classics of Western Spirituality published by Paulist Press which covers a broad landscape in a scholaraly way.