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Torah Commentary

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Alter, Judah; Aryeh Leib, Shai Gluskin, Arthur Green (tr.). The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary of Sefat Emet. Jewish Publication Society. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 0827606508.

The Sefat Emet achieved wide popularity both within and without Hasidic circles. In a community openly hostile toward non-Orthodox Jewry, the Sefat Emet embraces the nontraditionalists. Author Green, one of the leading scholars of Hasidism and modern Jewish theology, has brought together a wide selection of the Sefat Emet's teachings. The Language of Truth is a remarkable work of Jewish scholarship.

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Alter, Robert (ed.). Genesis: Translation and Commentary. W. W. Norton & Company. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 039331670X.

The biblical book of Genesis contains some of the most sublime poetry known to man as well as the powerful and bloody history of early Israel. Author Alter joins the ranks of contemporary authors who have tried to mimic, in English, the sonorous rhythms and parallel constructions of the original Hebrew. He also supplies an insightful, fascinating commentary that emphasizes the dramatic unity of the Genesis story. This is an essential contribution to biblical scholarship.

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Alter, Robert (ed.). The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. W. W. Norton & Company. 2004. AISN/ISBN: 0393019551.

This brilliant and rigorous book by Alter strikes the perfect balance between literary and biblical scholarship, yet it is accessible to the general reader. It argues forcefully and persuasively, but is never arrogant, even when Alter is detailing the inadequacies of other biblical translations. It points to the ways a single Hebrew word can make all the difference in our understanding of the text, but it never loses sight of the overall text. Alter's majestic translation recovers the mesmerizing effect of these ancient stories, the profound and haunting enigmas, the ambiguities of motive and image, and the distinctive cadences and lovely precision of the Hebrew text. In a stimulating and thorough introduction, Alter makes a case for the coherence of the Torah as a whole, while acknowledging that it is "manifestly a composite construction" that was written and edited by many people over several centuries. Alter's translation conveys the music and the meaning of the Hebrew text in a lyrical, lucid English. His accompanying commentary illuminates the text with learned insight and reflection on its literary and historical dimensions. This may well be the best one-volume introduction to the Torah ever published in English.

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Armstrong, Karen. In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis. Alfred A. Knopf. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0679450890.

The brilliance of the author's analysis of Genesis lies in her ability to draw together the story, the contemporaneous situations of the characters and the writers, and the relevance of themes amid multifarious contradictions and then hold them up for us to contemplate. Edifying and engaging, this short but impressive book includes the entire Genesis text.

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Ben Isaiah, Abraham and Benjamin Sharfman (eds.). The Pentateuch: Genesis, A Linear Translation into English (The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary, V. S. S. and R. Publishing Co, Inc. 1976. AISN/ISBN: B000OZYSPE.

The Pentateuch in Hebrew is the first five books of the Bible. This is Book I, Genesis, in Hebrew with a linear translation into English, by Rashi, the commentator par excellence on the Hebrew Bible, whose interpretation derives largely from the Talmud and the Midrash, making it more accessible to all who desire to study it.

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Berlin, Adele; Marc Zvi Brettler, and Michael Fishbane (ed.). The Jewish Study Bible: Tanakh Translation, Torah, Nevi'im, Kethuvim. Oxford University Press. 2003. AISN/ISBN: 0195297512.

Serious students of Judaism will want to have a copy of this outstanding and surprisingly affordable study Bible, which stands in the tradition of Oxford's great study Bibles. Using the Jewish Publication Society translation, the books of the Jewish canon are presented in their traditional order: Torah; Nevi'im; and Kethuvim. Leading Jewish scholars introduce each book and offer extensive sidebar commentary, discussing the views of ancient and modern rabbinic scholars. In addition, the volume provides two dozen scholarly essays on different aspects of interpretation: the Bible's use in various periods in Jewish history, in the liturgy, in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are essays on biblical languages, canonization, textual criticism, philosophical and mystical traditions, and biblical poetry. This landmark volume is at once serious and accessible, and spans the spectrum of Jewish thought.

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Bloom, Harold and David Rosenberg (tr.). The Book of J. Grove Press. 2005. AISN/ISBN: 0802141919.

This controversial, bestselling collaboration is a translation of and critical look at text within Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy written by an ostensibly female author known only as "J." Modern biblical critics have called the author of the oldest texts in the Hebrew Bible "J," standing for Jahweh. Bloom and translator Rosenberg, authors of many works of literary criticism and of Jewish and biblical studies, have collaborated on a clear but controversial translation and analysis of parts of the Pentateuch ascribed to the "J" author. Bloom claims that "J"'s author was a woman, living in or at the time of the Solomonic court, ca. 950-900 B.C.E., who wrote these selections not as a religious or historical treatise but as a literary work that Bloom compares to Shakespeare. While Rosenberg's translation is both modern and moving, he has made significant changes in the meanings of the Hebrew text. The proofs offered for these theories are no substitute for hard evidence. Nevertheless, The Book of J deserves consideration as a literary work.

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Brisman, Leslie. The Voice of Jacob: On the Composition of Genesis. Indiana Univ Press. 1990. AISN/ISBN: 0253312647.

This work explores Genesis as the scene of conflict between a pious and a revisionary spirit. Experimenting with the idea of a text as a conversation between authors of very different perspective, Leslie Brisman imagines Genesis to emerge from an inspired competition for divine blessing-or for readers' allegiance. His basic hypothesis is that great writing is made from wrestling with other writing, and that the biblical author "J" (here named Jacob) wrestled with the preceding material (of "E," Isaac) found in certain passages of Genesis as we have it. Rather than a collection of old fragments, assembled by a redactor whose piety was a thing apart from the old author's creativity, Genesis may offer us the playful work of an imagination that re-sees an old story in a new light. Brisman's work lets readers see that the stories of Genesis may have their origin not in pre-literate folktales but in one writer's inventive need to react to what was for him a normative tradition. In Brisman's work, "J" is a person, not a text, someone whose originality emerges as a function of his iconoclastic spirit,The Voice of Jacob takes seriously the idea of the Bible as literature??as work shaped in its greatest moments by literary as well as theological or political motives. Standing outside the mainstream of biblical interpretation and criticism, Leslie Brisman gives us a superb work of literary criticism informed by a profound knowledge of the original text.

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Cairns, Ian. Word and Presence: A Commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1992. AISN/ISBN: 0802801609.

In this commentary Ian Cairns presents Deuteronomy as a slowly evolving, complex composite: as legal code, as treaty text or covenant, as Moses' farewell speech, and as the final volume of the Pentateuch. Despite Deuteronomy's structural complexity, however, Cairns shows how the theme "Word and Presence" permeates the entire book: God is the living Presence who can be encountered and known through his Word addressed to each generation in turn. This commentary is unique in its emphasis on the theology of Deuteronomy (e.g., law as "humane instruction") as well as in its modern applications and illustrations from non-Western cultures.

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Campbell, Antony F. and Mark A. O'Brien. Sources of the Pentateuch: Texts, Introductions, Annotations. Augsburg Fortress Publishers. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 0800627016.

This book presents the whole of the Pentateuch as what it first of all for the reader--and where every interpretation must begin--as literature, especially as a part of the history of ancient Israel's literature.

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Carasik, Michael. The Commentator's Bible: The JPS Miqra'ot Gedolot: Exodus. Jewish Publication Society of America. 2005. AISN/ISBN: 0827608128.

First published 500 years ago as the "Rabbinic Bible," the biblical commentaries known as the Miqra'ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers. Each page of The Commentators' Bible contains several Hebrew verses from the book of Exodus, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations and new English translations of the major commentators. This large-format volume is beautifully designed for ease of navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others.

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Carasik, Michael. Commentator's Bible: The JPS Miqra'ot Gedolot: Leviticus. Jewish Publication Society of America. 2009. AISN/ISBN: 0827608977.

First published 500 years ago as the "Rabbinic Bible," the biblical commentaries known as Miqra'ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval Bible commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers. Each page of this second volume in "The Commentators' Bible" series contains several verses from the Book of Leviticus, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations, and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. The book also includes an introduction, a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study. This large-format volume is beautifully designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others.

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Chavel, Charles B (tr.). Moses Maimonides: The 613 Commandments. Soncino Press Ltd. 1967. AISN/ISBN: 1871055202.

A translation of Maimonides' Sefer HaMitzvot, a list and explaination of the 613 commandments.

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Chavel, Charles B (tr.). Ramban: Nachmanides Commentary on the Torah. Shilo Publishing House. 5 Vols. 1971. AISN/ISBN: 0686867432.

This is a translation of the second most used commentary, after Rashi. The translation is not literal nor complete.

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Chill, Abraham. The Mitzvot: The Commandments and Their Rationale. Bloch. 1974. AISN/ISBN: 0819703761.

This work takes each mitzvah of the Torah and, using as sources the most recognized biblical commentators, presents reasons for its existence. Chill writes clearly, condensing the commentaries, and presenting contradictory opinions to allow the reader to decide on the most persuasive.

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Cohen, A. and A. J. Rosenberg. The Soncino Chumash. Soncino Press. 1947. AISN/ISBN: 0900689242.

This popular Chumash presents the Hebrew text and English translation along with a commentary digest which presents midrashic, philosophical and literary interpretations by such commentators as Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Rambam, Sforno, Nachmanides and Gersonides

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Culi, Yaacov. The Torah Anthology: The Tabernacle. Volume IX. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1981. AISN/ISBN: 0940118092.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Acceptance. Volume VIII. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1982. AISN/ISBN: 0940118084.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Admonition. Volume XV. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1984. AISN/ISBN: 0685422593.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Beginnings. Volume I. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1977. AISN/ISBN: 0940118017.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Divine Service. Volume XI. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1982. AISN/ISBN: 094011884X.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Faith and Optimism. Volume XVI. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1984. AISN/ISBN: 0940118459.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Final Wanderings. Volume XIV. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1983. AISN/ISBN: 0940118432.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: First Journeys. Volume XIII. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1983. AISN/ISBN: 0940118033.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: From Jacob Until Joseph. Volume III-B. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1978. AISN/ISBN: 0940118890.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Gratitude and Discipline. Volume XVII. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1985. AISN/ISBN: 0940118467.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Holiness. Volume XII. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1982. AISN/ISBN: 0940118378.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Israel in Egypt. Volume IV. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1978. AISN/ISBN: 0940118041.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Laws and Warning. Volume XVIII. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1987. AISN/ISBN: 0940118548.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Partriarchs. From Abraham Until Jacob. Volume II. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1977. AISN/ISBN: 0940118025.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Redemption. Volume V. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1979. AISN/ISBN: 094011805X.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Repentance and Blessings. Volume XIX. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1987. AISN/ISBN: 0940118556.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: Sin and Reconciliation. Volume X. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1981. AISN/ISBN: 0940118009.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: The Law. Volume VII. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1981. AISN/ISBN: 0940118076.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: The Ten Commandments. Volume VI. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1980. AISN/ISBN: 0940118068.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Culi, Yaakov. The Torah Anthology: The Twelve Tribes. Volume III-A. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1978. AISN/ISBN: 0940118882.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'Am Lo'Ez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Eskenazi, Tamara Cohn and Andrea L. Weiss (eds.). The Torah: A Women's Commentary. Union of Reform Judaism Press. 2007. AISN/ISBN: 0807410810.

For generations, the task of interpreting the texts of Torah has been almost exclusively the province of men. In our generation, this has changed and the voices of women and their understandings of the Torah have enriched our people. This commentary will be a valuable addition to every synagogue, Torah study group, and Jewish home. Almost 15 years in the creation, The Torah: A Women's Commentary is a scholarly commentary on the Five Books of Moses, including post-biblical interpretations and contemporary reflections. It is structured in a "user-friendly" way to enable the reader to access the richness of the Jewish text. It is a beautifully designed, scholarly work that will be a source for study and learning for many years to come.

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Fields, Harvey J. and Giora Carmi (ill.). A Torah Commentary for Our Times. 3 vols. Union of American Hebrew Congregations. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 0807405302.

The beauty and the power of this series is that it gives you the context through which the parsha has been analyzed through the exegesis of famous scholars, and in doing so, it gives a framework on which to develop your own exegesis. The summaries of the commentaries are written in both an extremely short form and then in a more detailed form. The series is excellent for all levels of scholarship and for all levels of observance.

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Finegan, Jack. Let My People Go: A Journey Through Exodus. Harper and Row. 1963. AISN/ISBN: B0007E1ZEO.

Here the reader takes a memorable and stimulating trip through Exodus. A realiable guide with infectious enthusiasm, he includes the most recent historical and archaeological discoveries in the field. Combining scholarly research with a concern for the contemporary relevance of Exodus, Finegan makes the book's power, message, and spirit come alive. He gives clear answers to such questions as: "What was the man Moses like?" "What really happened at the crossing of the Red Sea?" "How did the ancient Hebrews get to Egypt in the first place?" The result is a lively account of the early history of Israel and of the events on which the Israelite people's religious faith was grounded.

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Fox, Everett. Genesis and Exodus: A New English Rendition wth Commentary & Notes. Schocken. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0805209948.

This work presents a unique approach to the art of biblical translation. Based on principles developed by Buber and Rosenzweig, the author's translation seeks to restore the poetics of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew Bible uses a variety of stylistic devices--repetition, play on words, rhythym, alliteration--to rhetorically underscore its meaning. These features are lost in more conventional translations, along with the spoken quality of the Hebrew text. Readers unfamiliar with Hebrew will find here a whole new perspective of the Bible, and the oral character of the text is immediately apparent in ways that ate not seen in other translations.

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Fox, Everett. Now These Are the Names. Schocken. 1986. AISN/ISBN: 0805240209.

Based on the same principles used in Fox's translation of the Book of Genesis, In the Beginning, this translation of the Book of Exodus attempts to echo the oral, rhetorical character of the original Hebrew. Special attention is paid to the use of repetition, allusion, word play, and alliteration. Each chapter includes explanatory notes and a brief introduction.

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Fox, Everett. The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. (The Schocken Bible,. W Publishing Group. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 084995228X.

Based on the Buber-Rosenzweig translation of the Hebrew Bible, completed in 1960, Fox's new rendering of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is a breathtaking translation that captures the beautiful, majestic, and dynamic character of biblical Hebrew. In his translation, Fox lovingly caresses the language of the Bible so that readers may listen to it as it was heard and read by its earliest Jewish audience. Fox provides keen and insightful notes and commentary, and the introductions to each book are crisp and fresh. The Five Books of Moses demonstrates the living character of scripture in the modern world. An essential purchase for all libraries.

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Fox, Everett (tr.). The Five Books of Moses: A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary and Notes. Schocken. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 080524140X.

Fox's translation has the rare virtue of making constantly visible in English the Hebraic quality of the original, challenging preconceptions of what the Bible is really like. A bracing protest against the bland modernity of all the recent English versions of the Bible

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Friedman, Richard Elliot. Commentary on the Torah. HarperSanFrancisco. 2003. AISN/ISBN: 0060507179.

This work is a complete new translation of the Torah with commentary that invites comparison with the legendary commentary written by Rashi, which has served as the standard work of its kind for almost 1,000 years. This new commentary draws on recent archeological discoveries, medieval commentaries, and modern textual scholarship "to shed new light on the Torah, and, more important, to open windows through which it sheds its light on us." The book also continues Friedman's ongoing project of making serious religious scholarship accessible to the general reader, as did his previous works, including Who Wrote the Bible? and The Hidden Face of God. To that end, it is organized not only with chapter and verse markings, but also by traditional weekly synagogue readings. This textual organization, combined with Friedman's relentless focus on the text's meaning for faithful lay readers, makes his commentary an ideal resource for synagogue and church study groups, as well as a necessary reference work for individual students of religion.

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Friedman, Richard Elliot. Hidden Book In the Bible. HarperCollins Publishers. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 0965685713.

The author, in this work, makes the claim, audacious to some, that he has discovered a secret structure of meaning in the Five Books of Moses. Extending more than a century of biblical textual criticism, Friedman writes that one author, probably a lay person, wrote many of the most familiar stories in the Hebrew Bible, including the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, and David, in one unified text. His introduction defends this thesis with close readings of the patterns of punctuation, word choice, sentence structure, and allusion used in these stories; the remainder of the book is a reconstruction of what Friedman says is the original, foundational text at the heart of the Bible, the text known as the "J" source. Friedman makes an important point for contemporary readers from the story he has found: In this age of relativism, Friedman writes, "Suddenly this work comes back from nearly three thousand years ago. And it says yes, humans have the power to make judgments of what is good and bad and right and wrong. In this story, the Creator of the earth does not always reveal what is good and bad, but rather the humans take the fruit that enables them to make these judgments." This is an essential work for those interested in biblical scholarship.

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Friedman, Richard Elliot. The Bible with Sources Revealed. HarperSanFrancisco. 2003. AISN/ISBN: 0060530693.

For centuries, biblical scholars have labored on determining how the Bible came about. The consensus that emerged from experts of various traditions is termed the "Documentary Hypothesis": the idea that ancient writers produced documents of poetry, prose, and law over many hundreds of years, which editors and redactors then used as sources to fashion the books of the Bible as we now know it. In this work, the author offers a unique presentation of the Torah, unlocking its complex and fascinating tapestry of sources. Using different colors and type styles to represent each of the distinct source documents together with an illuminating commentary, Friedman provides a new way to explore the riches of scripture. This allows both scholars and laypersons to explore the rich resources of the Torah in a unique, rewarding way

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Friedman, Richard Elliot. Who Wrote the Bible?. HarperCollins. 1989. AISN/ISBN: 0060972149.

"J," "P," "E," "D," and "R" are the names scholars have given to the unknown authors of the Bible, and over the last two centuries of biblical scholarship the so-called "documentary hypothesis" has survived fairly intact, overcoming debate about how the individual interwoven threads of dialog can be teased apart into coherent source works. Richard Elliott Friedman's survey of this debate in this work may be the best written popular book about this question. Without condescension or the use of technical language, Friedman carefully describes the history of textual criticism of the Bible--a subject in which his authority is unparalleled. But perhaps even more impressive than Friedman's erudition is his sensitivity to the power of textual criticism to influence faith. He carefully sifts through clues available in the text of the Hebrew Bible and those provided by biblical archaeology searching for lost the writer(s) of, primarily, the Pentateuch. He does so with clarity and engaging style, turning a potentially dry scholarly inquiry into a lively detective story. The reader is guided through the historical circumstances that occasioned the writing of the sources underlying the Torah and the combining of these diverse sources into the final literary product. According to Friedman, the most controversial part of his case is the identification of the writer and date of the Priestly source. This book is neither comprehensive nor unduly complex, making it a good introductory text for beginners and nonspecialists. It's recommended for the libraries of everyone with an interest in biblical scholarship and commentary.

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Gerstenberger, Erhard S.. Leviticus: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0664220649.

Leviticus offers many challenges for interpretation, including the laws contained within the book, as well as questions of the book's origins and compilation. This commentary by Bible scholar Gerstenberger provides a sure guide through the text of Leviticus and these questions. Gerstenberger understands that Leviticus is the product of an Israel reconstituted as a community of faith during the Persian period. The commentary provides suggestions regarding daily life questions on how one worships the one universal God within the local communities of congregation and family. In this interpretation, the book of Leviticus offers clear words of instruction to those throughout the world who would live faithfully for Israel's God.

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Goldstein, Elyse (ed.). The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Jewish Lights Publishing. 2000. AISN/ISBN: 1580230768.

It was only in the early 1970s that the first woman was ordained a rabbi by the Reform branch of Judaism. Now women are making their mark on Torah commentary, bringing their own unique interpretations to the religion's most important writings. In this book, women rabbis write their own commentaries on the 54 Torah portions. As editor Goldstein admits in the introduction, some feminists feel that the Bible is hopelessly sexist and encourage women to disregard its teachings. Other women become "skilled apologists," fixing the blame on the reader not on the Bible itself. These rabbis try to understand the writings in a new way. Employing midrash, the traditional rabbinic use of parable and metaphor to extend the text, they explore the lives and motives of biblical women, including Leah, Tamar, Dinah, Miriam, and others. With sometimes very little to work with, the rabbis "write ourselves in, reinterpret ourselves in, or critique our absence." Throughout, the ideas raised are worthy of discussion and the writing is uniformly high in quality. The women rabbis give new life to ancient sisters.

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Grishaver, Joel Lurie (ed.). Learn Torah With... Annuals: A Collection of the Year's Best Torah. Torah Aura Productions. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 1881283283.

A collection of Torah commentaries are presented as part of an ongoing project bringing together people from everywhere and from all denominations to comment on the Torah portion of the week.

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Grishaver, Joel Lurie (ed.). Learn Torah With..., 1994-1995 Torah Annual: A Collection of the Year's Best Torah. Torah Aura Productions. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 1881283135.

A collection of Torah commentaries are presented as part of an ongoing project bringing together people from everywhere and from all denominations to comment on the Torah portion of the week.

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Halevi, Shira. The Life Story of Adam and Havah: A New Targum of Genesis 1:26-5:5. Jason Aronson. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0765759624.

This book is constructed in a format in which each chapter consists of a feminist targum, a translation and commentary, on a pericope and a conversation critiquing the targum by the woman offering the targum: a rabbi and a stridently traditional/male chauvinist. The support for the targum comes from the traditional techniqiue of manipulating the original text, the offering of multiple alternative readings, and traditional support from targums, midrash, Philo, pseudepigrapha, kabbala. The strength of the book is in the innovative interpretation of the original text: the garden is portrayed as a temple, and the injunction not to eat of the fruit was to apply only to Adam, not to Eve. By using this innovative approach, the book is sufficient to drive its readers to original source material, a sign of excellence in books such as this.

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Hertz, J.H. (ed.). The Pentateuch and Haftorahs: Hebrew Text, English Translation, and Commentary. Soncino Press Ltd. 1976. AISN/ISBN: 0900689218.

More popularly known as "The Hertz Chumash," this standard Chumash is used in most Conservative and Orthodox shuls. It presents the Hebrew text and English translation of the Torah and the Haftorahs with a lucid exposition of the text, explaining the ethical and spiritual teachings of the Torah from a wide range of classical and scholarly literature.

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Hirsch, Samson Raphael and Isaac Levy (eds.). Hirsch Chumash. 7 vols. Judaica Press. 1963. AISN/ISBN: 0910818126.

The author's textual and conceptual commentary on the Chumash gives full expression to his philosophy of Torah in derekh eretz--the interconnectedness of Torah and world civilization. This classic English edition of his German translation of the Torah text, and of his complete commentary on the Torah and Haftarot, is presented in full in seven handsome volumes. The accompanying Hebrew text is fully vocalized. The Haftorot, the seventh volume of the set, is translated by the author's eldest son, Dr. Mendel Hirsch.

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Jeansonne, Sharon Pace. The Women of Genesis: From Sarah to Potiphar's Wife. Augsburg Fortress Publishers. 1990. AISN/ISBN: 080062419X.

The women of Genesis 12-50 function as much more than ancillary characters to men. Through close attention to the literary features of the text, Jeansonne depicts Sarah, the daughters of Lot, Hagar, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, Dinah, Tamar, and Potiphar's wife as integral persons who shaped Israel's destiny, revealed perspectives on God's involvement in the course of history, and portrayed human failure, freedom, and strength. Jeansonne's analysis of the narratives about women in Genesis 12-50 is literarily sensitive and theologically alert. Certainly readers of this well-written and easily read book will come to a greater appreciation of the role of women in Genesis. Further, Jeansonne offers interesting insights about the narrative art and theological nuances of the Book of Genesis. Laypersons, seminarians, and pastors will all find The Women of Genesis accessible and interesting.

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Kaplan, Aryeh. The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses and the Haftarot. Moznaim Pubublishing Corp. 1981. AISN/ISBN: 0940118726.

This is one of the clearest, most readable translations of the Torah. The author brings to his translation work a deep sensitivity that not only renders the literal meaning of the text, but also clarifies its implied meaning through careful choice of words and detailed footnotes, including maps, diagrams, and drawings of different species of plants and animals (based upon the flora and fauna of Israel), common utensils, clothing, etc. described in the text, as well as archaeology. The diagrams in Leviticus are especially helpful in visualizing the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the species of permitted and forbidden foods. This work is recommended for the quality of its translation and lucid commentary.

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Kelman, Stuart L. and Joel Lurie Grishaver (eds.). Learn Torah With.... Torah Aura Productions. 1999. AISN/ISBN: 1881283305.

A collection of Torah commentaries are presented as part of an ongoing project bringing together people from everywhere and from all denominations to comment on the Torah portion of the week. Readers' comments fill another section of this project which is now in its fifth consecutive year.

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Kugel, James L.. How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now. Free Press. 2007. AISN/ISBN: 074323586X.

Kugel's tour de force of biblical scholarship juxtaposes two different ways of reading the Bible: the ancient biblical interpretations, ranging from the Book of Jubilees to Augustine that he explored in The Bible as It Was, and the modern historical approach that challenges the historical veracity of scripture and seeks instead to find its writers' original sources and purposes. It can be a jarring journey for those schooled in traditional views, but what emerges is a fresh, even strange, and very rich view of everything from the Garden of Eden to Isaiah's dream vision of God. Refreshingly undogmatic and often witty, Kugel brings an intimate knowledge of the Hebrew Bible to illuminate small points as well as large. He discusses who the ancient Israelites were; the resemblances between YHWH and Canaanite gods; the unique role of the prophet in Ancient Near Eastern religions; the nature of ancient wisdom literature; and what the Bible means when it calls Solomon the wisest of men. The result is a stunning narrative of the evolution of ancient Israel, of its God and of the entire Hebrew Bible, contrasted with ancient interpretations that aimed to uncover hidden meanings and moral lessons. So, for example, for the ancients, the story of Cain and Abel is a tale of good versus evil. For the moderns, it was originally a story of origin, about the relation between ancient Israelites and the fierce Kenites to their south. While Kugel is a traditional Jew, he sees the modern approach as compelling, so the dilemma is whether a person of faith can read scripture in both the old way and the new. Drawing on Judaism's nonfundamentalist approach, Kugel's proposed answer is that the original purpose of the texts and their lack of historical accuracy matters less than their underlying message: to serve God.

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Kugel, James L.. The Bible As It Was. Belknap Press. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0674069404.

This work is an eye-opening study of early scriptural interpretation. Kugel focuses on readings of the Torah from 100-300 C.E., particularly on the Jewish tradition of midrash, a practice of filling in the narrative gaps where biblical stories are ambiguous or unclear. Kugel's interest in midrash is more than academic, however. He wants readers to consider the ways these early readings of the Bible affect today's popular understandings of scriptural texts (such as the sacrifice of Isaac or the creation in Genesis); and he provides a convincing description of the richness and complexity that informs what seem to many like simple, common-sense readings of scripture.

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Kushner, Lawrence S. and Kerry M. Olitzky. Sparks Beneath the Surface: A Spiritual Commentary on the Torah. Jason Aronson. 1995. AISN/ISBN: 1568210167.

This work is an invaluable tool to bring the teachings of Torah to modern Jews. Organized around the weekly Torah portions, it is designed to designed to resemble the pages of the Talmud. In the center of each page the targum, the English translation of the phrase or verse being explored, is presented. Material is included from great Chasidic teachers, and the work offers insights from Jewish tradition to add depth to the point under discussion and provide sources for further study. This work represents the first time Chasidic insights have been brought to a liberal context without compromising either ideological framework.

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Leibowitz, Nechama and Aryeh Newman (tr.). Studies in Bamidbar. Lambda Publishers. 1982. AISN/ISBN: B0007B07VE.

This work is based on Professor Leibowitz's weekly Parsha study sheets that were mailed all over the world in the 1950s. The work contains discussions of each parsha with basic concepts learned from the meforshim.

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Leibowitz, Nechama and Aryeh Newman (tr.). Studies in Bereshit. Lambda Publishers. 1981. AISN/ISBN: 9995376849.

This work is based on Professor Leibowitz's weekly Parsha study sheets that were mailed all over the world in the 1950s. The work contains discussions of each parsha with basic concepts learned from the meforshim.

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Leibowitz, Nechama and Aryeh Newman (tr.). Studies in Devarim. Lambda Publishers. 1982. AISN/ISBN: 0686762649.

This work is based on Professor Leibowitz's weekly Parsha study sheets that were mailed all over the world in the 1950s. The work contains discussions of each parsha with basic concepts learned from the meforshim.

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Leibowitz, Nechama and Aryeh Newman (tr.). Studies in Shemot. Lambda Publishers. 1978. AISN/ISBN: B0007C1VDG.

This work is based on Professor Leibowitz's weekly Parsha study sheets that were mailed all over the world in the 1950s. The work contains discussions of each parsha with basic concepts learned from the meforshim.

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Leibowitz, Nechama and Aryeh Newman (tr.). Studies in Vayikra. Lambda Publishers. 1982. AISN/ISBN: 0686762622.

This work is based on Professor Leibowitz's weekly Parsha study sheets that were mailed all over the world in the 1950s. The work contains discussions of each parsha with basic concepts learned from the meforshim.

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Leibowitz, Yeshayahu and Shmuel Himelstein (tr.). Accepting the Yoke of Heaven: Commentary on the Weekly Torah Portion. Urim Publications. 2002. AISN/ISBN: 9657108330.

Accepting the Yoke of Heaven is a compelling collection of thoughts on the weekly Torah portion by the acclaimed Jewish philosopher, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. As he leads us from Creation to the death of Moses, Professor Leibowitz takes us on a dramatic journey of philosophical discovery. Revealing his rational views on the nature of God and his relationship with Man, Leibowitz challenges our conceptions of the purpose of prayer and the presence of holiness in the world. He demands compliance with Jewish law for its own sake, irrespective of expectations of reward or punishment. Written with unflinching honesty and conviction, Accepting the Yoke of Heaven is a work of startling erudition.

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Levine, Baruch A.. Numbers 1-20: The Anchor Bible, Vol. 4. Doubleday. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 0385156510.

Baruch A. Levine has written a masterful study of the first half of the Book of Numbers for the Anchor Bible Commentaries. The Book of Numbers--from the numbering or census of the people in the opening chapters--is a much-neglected part of the Torah, the five books of Moses. The Book of Numbers is an account of the young would-be nation of Israel's wanderings in the Wilderness after the magnificent event at Sinai, where Moses speaks with God face-to-face and receives the Ten Commandments. Throughout this time of trial, the people complain, sensing the contrast between the relative security of slavery in Egypt, from which they have fled, and the precarious insecurity of freedom in the Wilderness. Numbers is a book filled with power struggles, raising questions about who speaks for God, along with personal and communal crises of faith and rumors of revolt. Yet despite the people's blindness and rebelliousness, God remains faithful to the promises made to Israel's ancestors--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now Moses--and remains at Israel's side, guiding her slowly but surely to the Promised Land. In all, Numbers describes a terrific journey of discipline and dependence upon the God who liberated the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt: a journey to strengthen Israel for the challenge of a new and wondrous land and the battles she wifl have to fight in order to claim and keep it. Despite the importance of The Book of Numbers, its rich collection of stories is not easily assimilated, even by the most conscientious of readers. As such, it requires the help of an expert guide to thread one's way through this mixture of interesting episodes and anecdotes on the one hand, and the many lists, prescriptive rules, ritual regulations, and repeated admonitions on the other. Professor Levine shows us the way into this difficult and sometimes forbidding book of the Bible, and we can be confident of our guide, and secure in the knowledge that the one who led us into the thicket will lead us out again into a broad and fair land.

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Levine, Baruch A.. Numbers 21-36: The Anchor Bible, Vol. 4A. Doubleday. 2000. AISN/ISBN: 0385412568.

In Numbers 21-36, world-renowned Bible scholar Baruch A. Levine unravels the complexity and confusing details of this Old Testament book. His lucid translation, based on thorough textual and linguistic research, including the ancient Deir 'Alla texts, opens the door for modern readers to understand and appreciate the richness of this intriguing book. Further, Levine examines the route of the wilderness wanderings, the ancient Near Eastern context of the laws, the social organization of early Israel, and the meaning of this biblical book for the contemporary world.

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Levine, Baruch A. (ed.). The JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827603282.

Each volume covers one book of the Torah, and contains the Hebrew text of the book, the new translation, an extensive commentary, and a series of additional essays and notes on significant subjects. This series makes use of traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud, as well as literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological, discoveries. This is now the official commentary of the Conservative movement.

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Magriso, Yitzchok. The Torah Anthology: Avoth. Volume XX. Moznaim Publishing Corporation. 1990. AISN/ISBN: 094011822X.

Volumes cover the Torah, with separate works on megillot and Psalms, translated from the classic Ladino work Me'am Loez. An amazing compendium of insights and commentary.

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Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 1-16: The Anchor Bible, Vol. 3. Doubleday. 1998. AISN/ISBN: 0385114346.

Drawing upon classical (and some obscure) Jewish interpreters, modern scholarship, and his own brilliant insights, Milgrom argues that Leviticus' seemingly dry recounting of rituals and practices expresses a profound theology of Israel, a theology based upon life and death, good and evil, with the God of Israel supreme. Milgrom argues that Leviticus banishes demons from its theology and posits man's choices as the cause of evil. Analogizing the sacrificial system to "The Portrait of Dorian Grey," Milgrom argues that sin creates impurity in the Tabernacle and the more serious the sin, the more severe the impurity, which, unchecked, can drive the divine presence from the people's midst. Sacrifice served to remove the impurity but only if the sinner was motivated by asham, guilt. In addition to explaining the different types of sacrifices, Milgrom also explains the dietary laws (kashrut) as a reflection of the priestly theology. Milgrom argues that the dietary laws reflected and fostered a profound respect for life, both animal and human. Milgrom also investigates in detail the purity laws regulating childbirth, menstruation, sex, certain diseases and similar physical causes of impurity. He argues that the laws governing physical impurity reflected the priestly life/death theology but that physical causes of impurity were understood differently than moral causes of impurity. Milgrom proceeds verse by verse and each chapter is followed by fascinating essays in which he sets out in a more orderly fashion his interpretation. His work is regularly cited by leading scholars but the work is accessible to non-experts.

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Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 17-22: The Anchor Bible, Vol. 3A. Yale Anchor Bible. 2000. AISN/ISBN: 0300140568.

Jacob Milgrom, a rabbi and Bible scholar, has devoted the bulk of his career to examining the laws of the Torah. His incisive commentary on Leviticus, which began with Leviticus 1-16, continues in this second volume of three. It provides an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of ethical values concealed in Israel??s rituals. Although at first glance Leviticus seems far removed from the modern-day world, Milgrom??s thoughtful and provocative comments and notes reveal its enduring relevance to contemporary society. With English translations that convey the nuance and power of the original Hebrew, this trilogy will take its place alongside the best of the Anchor Bible Commentaries.

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Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 23-27: The Anchor Bible, Vol. 3B. Yale Anchor Bible. 2001. AISN/ISBN: 0300139411.

Jacob Milgrom, a rabbi and Bible scholar, has devoted the bulk of his career to examining the laws of the Torah. His incisive commentary on Leviticus, which began with Leviticus 1-16, continues in this last volume of three. It provides an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of ethical values concealed in Israel??s rituals. Although at first glance Leviticus seems far removed from the modern-day world, Milgrom??s thoughtful and provocative comments and notes reveal its enduring relevance to contemporary society. Leviticus 23-27 brings us to the climactic end of the book and its revolutionary innovations, among which are the evolution of the festival calendar with its emphasis on folk traditions, and the jubilee, the priestly answer to the socio-economic problems of their time. With English translations that convey the nuance and power of the original Hebrew, this trilogy will take its place alongside the best of the Anchor Bible Commentaries.

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Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus: A Book of Ritual and Ethics. Augsburg Fortress Publishers. 2004. AISN/ISBN: 0800695143.

Building upon his life-long work on the Book of Leviticus, Milgrom makes this book accessible to all readers. He demonstrates the logic of Israel??s sacrificial system, the ethical dimensions of ancient worship, and the priestly forms of ritual. ??Values are what Leviticus is all about. They pervade every chapter and almost every verse. You may be surprised to read this, since the dominant view of Leviticus is that it consists only of rituals, such as sacrifices and impurities. This, too, is true: Leviticus does discuss rituals. However, underlying the rituals, the careful reader will find an intricate web of values that purports to model how we should relate to God and to each other.? ?? from the Introduction.

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Milgrom, Jacob (ed.). The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827603290.

Milgrom's commentary reveals a healthy respect for classical Jewish commentators but doesn't hesitate to address and add modern Biblical research. Milgrom excels when explaining the more obscure portions of Numbers, such as the rituals, calendars, and sacrifices. In addition to his verse by verse commentary, Milgrom adds lengthy excurses, exploring in more depth the issues raised in the commentary. Each volume covers one book of the Torah, and contains the Hebrew text of the book, the new translation, an extensive commentary, and a series of additional essays and notes on significant subjects. This series makes use of traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud, as well as literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological, discoveries. This is now the official commentary of the Conservative movement.

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Mitchell, Stephen (ed.). Genesis: A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories. Perennial, HarperCollins. 1997. AISN/ISBN: 0060928565.

In this new translation of the Bible's first book, the author's sensitivity to the original Hebrew language and the history of biblical scholarship is evident. But it is his overwhelming concern with contemporary relevance that marks this translation. The writing is fluid and graceful. Mitchell (a translator of poetry and spiritual writings) strives to convey the simplicity, dignity, and power of the original Hebrew. In his introductory essay, he puts the historical Genesis in context. Mitchell contends that his translation differs from others in that he has pieced together a text from the best version of each of the stories of Genesis from what modern scholarship has identified as at least four sources of the original Hebrew text. In doing so, he believes that he has contributed to the clarity and power of the narrative and created a document of significance and beauty. His writing is clear and direct. Those interested in new means of situating the spiritual message of Genesis will likely welcome Mitchell's phrasings and interpretations. He appends a lengthy scholarly commentary on the problems of making such a translation (which will appeal to specialists); detailed footnotes; and a discussion of the narrative of Genesis as a powerful literary expression (which will appeal to all readers). Readers who are familiar with the best-known English translation, the King James version of the early 17th century, will find that both Alter's and Mitchell's renditions are like breaths of fresh air rustling through that version's musty pages. Both are highly recommended for all libraries.

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Orlinsky, Harry M. (ed.). The Torah: The Five Books of Moses. Jewish Publication Society. 1992. AISN/ISBN: 0827600151.

Translating the Hebrew writings commonly and collectively known as the Tanakh is a complex task. In the case of the JPS Torah, the result is better than average. This translation is highly recommended over all comprehensive editions of the Bible.

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Plaut, W. Gunther and David E. S. Stein (eds.). The Torah: A Modern Commentary, Revised Edition. Union of American Hebrew Congregations. 2005. AISN/ISBN: 0807408832.

Nearly twenty-five years after the groundbreaking publication of the first-ever English language liberal Torah commentary, we present The Torah: A Modern Commentary, Revised Edition. This volume features updated commentary and translations, including a gender-sensitive version of the JPS translation, with largely gender-neutral God language and a completely fresh translation of Genesis and of the haftarot by the late Rabbi Chaim Stern. In addition, the volume is reorganized by parashah and includes a helpful index and aliyot markers, improving upon the 1981 original. As Rabbi David Ellenson, President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, states, "This book provide a dazzling compendium of sources both classical and modern, and a variety of voices that will enhance worship and study of everyone."

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Propp, William H.. Exodus 1-18: A New Translation with Notes and Comments, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 2A. Doubleday. 1999. AISN/ISBN: 0385148046.

This work is a masterful translation, exploration, and analysis of first eighteen chapters of the Book of Exodus, which center around the dramatic conflict between the God of Israel and the pharaoh of Egypt over the fate of the Israelite slaves. With divine intervention and Moses on their side, the enslaved descendants of Abraham manage a harrowing escape across the parted Red Sea, leading to the birth of the nation of Israel. Threaded throughout this story of an oppressed people struggling for freedom are some of the most intriguing episodes in the Bible. From the discovery of Moses in a basket made of bulrushes to the story of the burning bush, from the plagues visited upon the Egyptians by God to water from rock and quail and manna from the skies, Exodus is filled with the miraculous and the dramatic. Exhaustive, meticulous, and brilliantly researched, this work will be regarded as the definitive analysis of this crucial biblical text.

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Propp, William H.. Exodus 19-40: A New Translation with Notes and Comments, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 2B. Doubleday. 2006. AISN/ISBN: 0385246935.

The long-awaited conclusion of William H. C. Propp's masterful study of Exodus, this informative, clearly written commentary provides a new perspective on Israelite culture and on the role of ritual, law, and covenant in biblical religion. Exodus 19-40 sets a new standard in biblical scholarship. Thorough and up-to-date, it is the first commentary on Exodus to include critical textual evidence from the recently edited Dead Sea Scrolls. Informed by Propp's deep understanding of ancient cultural mores and religious traditions, it casts new light on the Israelites' arrival at Sinai, their entry into a covenant with God, their reception of the Law, their worship of the golden calf, and their reconciliation to God. The incisive commentary on the building of the Holy Tabernacle-God's wilderness abode-is supplemented by numerous illustrations that clarify the biblical text. Propp extends the scope and relevance of this major work in five appendices that discuss the literary formation of the Torah, the historicity of the Exodus tradition, the origins of Israelite monotheism, the Exodus theme in the Bible, and the future of Old Testament scholarship. By taking an anthropological rather than strictly theological approach, Propp places familiar stories within a fresh context. The result is a fully accessible guide to one of the most important and best known books of the Bible.

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Rabinowitz, Abraham Hirsch. Taryag: A Study of the Tradition That the Written Torah Contains 613 Mitzvot. Jason Aronson. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 1568214499.

In the Talmud it is explained that 613 commandments were revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai: 365 prohibitive precepts, corresponding to the number of days of the solar year, and 248 positive precepts, corresponding to the number of parts in the human body. The body of 613 commandments is usually known by the Hebrew mnemonic TaRYaG, whose letters, when tallied according to their numerical equivalents, equal 613. The concept of TaRYaG is generally known and accepted. However, throughout history there has been much discussion about the commandments themselves and the question as to which are considered part of the TaRYaG because the Torah clearly contains more than 613 laws. In TaRYaG, noted scholar Rabbi Rabinowitz investigates the major debates and problematic issues connected with the tradition of TaRYaG study. Rabbi Rabinowitz begins by explaining the historical dilemmas pertaining to and the origins of the TaRYaG tradition, including its basis in halachah (Jewish law). The greatest scholars of Jewish thought have contributed studies on TaRYaG and this volume clearly shows why the subject merited their attention. Maimonides' Sefer HaMitzvot, in which the 613 commandments are explained and categorized, is fully analyzed, and its relationship to his Mishneh Torah is shown. The contributions of the Tosafists and later authors are also examined. A bibliography of TaRYaG works is included to encourage further study. The 613 commandments serve as the basis for learning all of the written and oral laws. For this reason, TaRYaG is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in delving into serious study of halachah and a helpful resource for anyone already engaged in such study.

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Rosenberg, A. J.. Genesis: A New English Translation; Volume I: Mikraot Gedolot. Judaica Press. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 1880582082.

This first volume of Genesis includes the Torah portions of Bereshit, Noach, Lech Lecha, and Vayera. The Judaica Press "Books of the Bible" series continues the style and format of our best-selling landmark series--"Books of the Prophets & Holy Writings." Each volume contains the Hebrew Chumash text and all the classical Mikraoth Gedoloth commentaries. The facing page contains a modern English translation with extensive translation of the Mikraoth Gedoloth commentary--including a translation of every Rashi, and explanations of Rashi based on Gur Aryeh and Mizrachi. Also featured is commentary from the Ramban, Sforno, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, Ohr Hachayim, Keli Yakar, selections from Talmudic and Midrashic sources and numerous other commentaries never before translated.

Rosenberg is responsible for translating and putting together the excellent commentary for the Judaica Press "Prophets" series. Here he brings his enormous knowledge to the Chumash. And he does an excellent, in-depth job. If you want to have a deeper understanding of Genesis--get Rosenberg's Volume I, II & III. You'll find this little-known series astonishingly good!

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Sarna, Nahum M.. Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel. Schocken Books. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0805210636.

Sarna examines the distinctiveness of the Exodus narrative in light of ancient Near Eastern history and contemporaneous cultures--Egyptian, Assyrian, Canaanite, and Babylonian. The author takes up the debate over whether the exodus from Egypt really happened, clarifying the arguments on both sides and drawing us back to the uniqueness and enduring significance of biblical text.

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Sarna, Nahum M.. Understanding Genesis: The Heritage of Biblical Israel. Schocken Books. 1970. AISN/ISBN: 0805202536.

This work deals with interpretation of some of the stories in Genesis (creation, flood, tower of Babel, etc). Sarna explains that these accounts were written particularly to show the superiority of Yahweh to pagan religions and not as much to simply narrate how these events actually occurred. The author writes from a relatively conservative viewpoint but does not assume a literal interpretation of Bereshit; rather he sees Bereshit being written in ways that pagan polytheists of 2,800 years ago would understand and appreciate. Highly recommended for any reader interested in biblical interpretation.

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Sarna, Nahum M. (ed.). The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827603274.

Each volume covers one book of the Torah, and contains the Hebrew text of the book, the new translation, an extensive commentary, and a series of additional essays and notes on significant subjects. This series makes use of traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud, as well as literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological, discoveries. This is now the official commentary of the Conservative movement.

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Sarna, Nahum M. (ed.). The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827603266.

Each volume covers one book of the Torah, and contains the Hebrew text of the book, the new translation, an extensive commentary, and a series of additional essays and notes on significant subjects. This series makes use of traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud, as well as literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological, discoveries. This is now the official commentary of the Conservative movement.

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Sarna, Nahum M. and Chaim Potok (eds.). The JPS Torah Commentary. 5 vols. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827603312.

Because of the degree of specialty of the writers (each is a specialist on the Law), some amount of Hebrew knowledge is key to allow the reader to evaluate decisions made by the authors. Each volume covers one book of the Torah, and contains the Hebrew text of the book, the new translation, an extensive commentary, and a series of additional essays and notes on significant subjects. This series makes use of traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud, as well as literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological, discoveries. This is now the official commentary of the Conservative movement. A great work, worth the shelf space of anyone interested in biblical commentary.

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Scherman, Nosson. The Chumash: Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash. Mesorah Publications Ltd. 1993. AISN/ISBN: 0899060145.

This is a contemporary English translation of the Five Books of Moses. Classic commentaries are set in Hebrew/Aramaic (Rashi and Onkelos) and modern commentaries are included as well. This is an easy to read, concise, and excellent Chumash but it must be made clear that it is a "beginners guide," a starting point to the Torah. If you only want one Chumash in your library then make this the one.

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Schneersohn, Menahem Mendel. The Chassidic Dimension: Interpretations of the Weekly Torah Readings Based on the Talks of the Luba. Kehot Publications Society. 1990. AISN/ISBN: 0826604846.

This book provides the non-Yiddish speaking reader the opportunity to study selections and adaptations from Likkutei-Sichos in English. As explained in the foreword, the Rebbe taught that true hiskashrus comes through studying Torah. "If this was vital at all times, how much more so after Gimmel Tammuz."

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Schneersohn, Menahem Mendel and Jonathan Sacks. Torah Studies: Discourses. Kehot Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0826604935.

From the Chassidic point of view, this work consists of short essays on the weekly Torah reading based on talks of the late Lubavitch Rebbe.

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Silberman, A. M. and M. Rosebaum. Chumash with Rashi's Commentary. Philipp Feldheim. 1985. AISN/ISBN: 0873060199.

First published in 1934, this work includes comments and explanatory notes accompanying the translation.

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Speiser, Ephraim A.. Genesis, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 1. Doubleday. 1964. AISN/ISBN: 0385008546.

Using authoritative evidence from archaeology, linguistics, and comparative religion, the author presents some startling conclusions about the first book of the Bible. Speiser was one of the greatest experts on Semitic languages of the 20th century. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how biblical Hebrew can be interpreted in terms of linguistic cognates found in the other languages of the period. There is much helpful background material (though after 40 years this text obviously does not reflect recent research) and thoughtful analysis. Speiser was no fundamentalist, and was often prepared to say that the text is not to be taken literally, but he was less "critical" than many other writers of his period. He believed firmly in the Documentary Hypothesis, and each passage is carefully dissected into its "J," "E," and "P" divisions. There is probably no single commentary that would suffice for a detailed study of Genesis, but this book should be one of the commentaries at hand for the serious student. In the book Speiser shows that the best-known stories of Genesis are grounded in pagan mythology. Speiser is an iconoclast in the tradition of Abraham; he exposes the false in order to help achieve truth. As he says in his introduction, he "is not motivated by mere pedantry but by the hope that each new insight may bring us that much closer to the secret of the Bible's universal and enduring appeal." Essential for the serious student of biblical criticism, this book remains a valuable source of information for layperson as well.

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Strickman, H. Norman, Abraham Ben Meir Ibn Ezra, Arthur M. Silver. Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Genesis (Bereshit). Menorah. 1988. AISN/ISBN: 0932232078.

This book provides a valuable service to readers of the Hebrew Bible in that it makes Ibn Ezra's commentary comprehensible even to the non-scholar. The authors have based their work on scholarly interpretations of Ibn Ezra's sometimes telegraphic comments, which are often obscure in their original form. Ibn Ezra would have been very proud to know how his commentary has been translated. As a traveler, Ibn Ezra always had a fondness for England. At any rate, not only is the commentary clear and easy to read, the authors provide lucid footnotes which neatly explain how Ibn Ezra's ideas compare with the other great scholars of his time.

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Tigay, Jeffrey (ed.). The JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy. Jewish Publication Society. 1996. AISN/ISBN: 0827603304.

Each volume covers one book of the Torah, and contains the Hebrew text of the book, the new translation, an extensive commentary, and a series of additional essays and notes on significant subjects. This series makes use of traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud, as well as literary analysis and comparative Semitics; intertextual commentary relating each book to other biblical books, and evidence from modern archaeological, discoveries. This is now the official commentary of the Conservative movement.

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Von Rad, Gerhard. Deuteronomy: A Commentary. Westminster, John Knox Press. 1966. AISN/ISBN: 0664207340.

The author's research into Deuteronomic origins has made its impact on all critical study of that book in the past decade. The proposal here is that Deuteronomy in its final form belongs to the form of covenants of the office-bearers. The contents of Deuteronomy come to us out of a long practice of Levitical preaching which drew upon legal and traditionary elements of the most varied sorts and origins. The martial spirit which dominates the whole work bespeaks an origin in circles where the old traditions of holy war were preserved; this militant piety, together with literary and other considerations, points to the era of the late eighth to late seventh centuries for the formation of the book, and its connection finally with Josiah. The theological importance of the book centers in the fact that never before had there been such an all-inclusive treatment of the traditions of Israel in terms of loyalty to one God and his worship at one place; and it was forthcoming at a time of unparalleled threat to the existence of the nation and its distinctive worship. Now, for the first time, this recent and valued commentary in the series Das Alte Testament Deutsch is made available to the English-speaking student. It begins with a discussion of the literary form of Deuteronomy, the material peculiar to the book, and its origin and purpose. This is followed by a verse-by-verse commentary on the entire book. Interpreting Deuteronomy in the light of the most recent Biblical scholarship, this commentary will be of immense value to clergy, Bible students, and teachers.

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Weinfield, Moshe. Deuteronomy 1-11: The Anchor Bible, Vol. 5. Doubleday. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0385175930.

Deuteronomy 1-11 is here presented in a groundbreaking new translation, with a comprehensive introduction and thorough commentary by world-renowned Israeli biblical scholar Moshe Weinfeld. The "second law," Deuteronomy portrays Moses as the founder and great lawgiver of Israel. In a series of addresses, Moses reviews his life and the life of God's people. He reminds them of the guiding hand of God, which has brought them thus far along the way, and will bring their Exodus and Wanderings to a triumphal conclusion in the Holy Land. Through a beautiful translation and insightful comments in this first of two volumes on Deuteronomy, Weinfeld reinvigorates the basic laws of society with their life-giving power: the Shema ("Hear 0 Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One"), the Great Commandment ("You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might"). These laws govern Israelite religious and communal life under God's guidance. Moshe Weinfeld is the foremost commentator on the Deuteronomist and the Deuteronomic School. He is professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Wolf, Herbert M.. An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch. Moody Publishers. 1991. AISN/ISBN: 0802441297.

The five books of the Pentateuch are filled with color and adventure, noise and upheaval. They are books of promise, hope, love, and redemption. The Pentateuch is unique in ancient literature for its portrayal of the God who is personal and eternal. He stands in sharp contrast to the false gods worshiped at that time. Herbert Wolf supplies the foundation for a solid understanding of the Pentateuch and its place in the whole of Scripture. He addresses the problems raised over the centuries by higher critics of various schools. He answers technical questions in a way that enlightens scholar and layman alike. This book will contribute substantially to the layman's understanding of and the scholar's progress in Old Testament studies.

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Zornberg, Avivah Gottlieb. Genesis: The Beginning of Desire. Jewish Publication Society. 1995. AISN/ISBN: 0385483376.

An unusual view is explored by the author in the multi-layered meanings of Genesis in all its emotional and psychological splendor. The meditations weave biblical, midrashic and literary sources into a seamless story.





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