By Mark Kurlansky

In a selected Few, Mark Kurlansky explores the numerous the reason why Jews have again to Germany and Poland, and why Jews stay in Europe, how they've got controlled not just to proceed their lifestyle, yet to thrive and prosper. in the course of the lives of people either usual and recognized, Kurlansky indicates us the face of ecu Jewry - a face that could put on the scars of persecution, yet seems to be towards a greater destiny with desire and boundless decision.

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The Book of J

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A debatable nationwide top vendor upon its preliminary book, The e-book of J is an audacious paintings of literary recovery revealing one of many nice narratives of all time and unveiling its mysterious writer. J is the identify that students ascribe to the anonymous author they suspect is accountable for the textual content, written among 950 and 900 BCE, on which Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers is predicated. within the ebook of J, accompanying David Rosenberg's translation, Harold Bloom persuasively argues that J was once a woman—very most probably a girl of the royal apartment at King Solomon's court—and a author of the stature of Homer, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy. Rosenberg's translations from the Hebrew carry J's tales to lifestyles and demonstrate her towering originality and grab of humanity. Bloom argues in different essays that "J" was once no longer a non secular author yet a fierce ironist. He additionally bargains historic context, a dialogue of the speculation of ways different texts got here jointly to create the Bible, and translation notes.

Contents:
Acknowledgments
THE writer J / Harold Bloom
Preface on Names and Terms
Chronology
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Enfolding an Author
Imagining an writer
David: J and the court docket Historian
Translating J

THE ebook OF J / Translated via David Rosenberg

COMMENTARY / Harold Bloom
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Jacob
Tamar
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Moses
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Extra info for A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry

Sample text

There, even after the ravages of Rome, Jews continued to live a religious life centered on the study and endless interpretation of their holy texts—the Bible and later the Mishnah, the midrashim, and liturgy. Such study required a profound understanding of the Hebrew language, which some clearly possessed and which many more aspired to achieve. This era would continue in force down to the fourth century CE and beyond. Scattered minorities, by contrast, soon find themselves at cul- tural and linguistic risk.

To guarantee its survival, this new Judaism had to be meticulously ratified and codified. Thanks to a series of relatively benevolent Roman emperors, life for Jews in the Holy Land regained a semblance of normality. But who could foresee what new calamities and dispersions might lie ahead? So the Sages began to create a written record of their teachings and practices. Collected in the land of Israel in the second and third centuries CE, that record included a voluminous code of religious practice (the Mishnah) and several anthologies of interpre- tation on the Torah (known as the Midrash).

Many con- gregations heard the weekly portions of the Torah in Greek, or at least with a running Greek translation. The second-century sage Shimon ben Gamliel taught that “the only language [other than Hebrew] that is permitted us for Torah scrolls is Greek” (Talmud Me- gillah 8b). , Israel). Could this grand Greek-Jewish culture have lasted? Maybe. But times changed. Most important, early Christianity made a pact with Hellenism. When Constantine embraced Christianity in 313 CE and moved his capital to the Greek-speaking eastern part of the Roman Empire, Hellenist Christians gained the upper hand.

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