The People and the Books by Adam Kirsch
18 Classics of Jewish Literature

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Kirsch’s aptness is equally evident in his ability to draw lines of comparison and contrast among his sundry writers, as when he spells out the antithesis between Maimonides and Yehuda Halevi, near medieval contemporaries, or when he observes the connection between Spinoza and Maimonides...
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Synopsis

An essential exploration of a rich literary tradition from the Bible to modern times, by a “rare literary authority” (New York Times Book Review) and “one of our keenest critics” (Washington Post).

Jews have long embraced their identity as “the people of the book.” But outside of the Bible, much of the Jewish literary tradition remains little known to nonspecialist readers. The People and the Books shows how central questions and themes of our history and culture are reflected in the Jewish literary canon: the nature of God, the right way to understand the Bible, the relationship of the Jews to their Promised Land, and the challenges of living as a minority in Diaspora. Adam Kirsch explores eighteen classic texts, including the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Esther, the philosophy of Maimonides, the autobiography of the medieval businesswoman Glückel of Hameln, and the Zionist manifestoes of Theodor Herzl. From the Jews of Roman Egypt to the mystical devotees of Hasidism in Eastern Europe, The People and the Books brings the treasures of Jewish literature to life and offers new ways to think about their enduring power and influence.

 

About Adam Kirsch

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Adam Kirsch, a book critic for The New York Sun, is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New Republic. He is the author of two poetry collections, The Thousand Wells and Invasions, and two works of nonfiction on poetry, The Wounded Surgeon and The Modern Element. He lives in New York City.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published October 4, 2016 by W. W. Norton & Company. 432 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by Robert Alter on Nov 16 2016

Kirsch’s aptness is equally evident in his ability to draw lines of comparison and contrast among his sundry writers, as when he spells out the antithesis between Maimonides and Yehuda Halevi, near medieval contemporaries, or when he observes the connection between Spinoza and Maimonides...

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