Essential Figures in the Talmud by Ronald L. Eisenberg

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The Talmud chronicles the early development of rabbinic Judaism through the writings and commentaries of the rabbis whose teachings form its foundation. However, this key religious text is expansive, consisting of 63 books containing extensive discussions and interpretations of the Mishnah accumulated over several centuries. Sifting through the huge number of names mentioned in the Talmud to find information about one figure can be tedious and time-consuming, and most reference guides either provide only brief, unhelpful entries on every rabbi, including minor figures, or are so extensive that they can be more intimidating than the original text.

In Essential Figures in the Talmud, Dr. Ronald L. Eisenberg explains the importance of the more than 250 figures who are most vital to an understanding and appreciation of Talmudic texts. This valuable reference guide consists of short biographies illustrating the significance of these figures while explaining their points of view with numerous quotations from rabbinic literature. Taking material from the vast expanse of the Talmud and Midrash, this book demonstrates the broad interests of the rabbis whose writings are the foundation of rabbinic Judaism.

Both religious studies and rabbinical students and casual readers of the Talmud will benefit from the comprehensive entries on the most-frequently discussed rabbis and will gain valuable insights from this reader-friendly text. Complete in a single volume, this guide strikes a satisfying balance between the sparse, uninformative books and comprehensive but overly complex references that are currently the only places for inquisitive Talmud readers to turn. For any reader who wishes to gain a better understanding of Talmudic literature, Eisenberg’s text is just as “essential” as the figures listed within.

About Ronald L. Eisenberg

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Ronald L. Eisenberg is a Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and on the faculty at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Eisenberg has been awarded Masters and Doctoral degrees in Jewish Studies from Spertus Institute in Chicago and has published six critically acclaimed books on Jewish topics, including The Jewish World in Stamps (Schreiber, 2003), The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions (Jewish Publication Society, 2004), The 613 Mitzvot (Schreiber, 2005), Dictionary of Jewish Terms (Schreiber, 2008), and What the Rabbis Said (Praeger, 2010). He has authored more than 20 books in his medical specialty and is also a non-practicing attorney.
Published September 28, 2012 by Jason Aronson, Inc.. 320 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Essential Figures in the Talmud

More than 2,000 rabbis are mentioned in the Talmud (the collection of the teachings of the major Jewish scholars between 200 and 500 CE), and while standard comprehensive reference works, such as the 22-volume Encyclopaedia Judaica, include at least brief references to most of them, searching for...

May 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Essential Figures in the Talmud

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