The life and times of an enduring work of Jewish spirituality
The Babylonian Talmud is an unlikely bestseller. Originally written in a hybrid of Hebrew and Aramaic and available in myriad translations, it has remained in print for centuries and is more popular today than ever.
Barry Scott Wimpfheimer’s new book The Talmud: A Biography tells the remarkable story of this ancient Jewish book and explains why it has endured for almost two millennia. He explains why reading the Talmud can feel like being swept up in a river or lost in a maze, and why the Talmud has come to be venerated – but also excoriated and maligned – in the centuries since it first appeared.
Professor Wimpfheimer’s accessible book, winner of a 2018 National Jewish Book award, shows why the Talmud is at once a received source of traditional teachings, a touchstone of cultural authority, and a powerful symbol of Jewishness for both supporters and critics.
Barry Scott Wimpfheimer is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Law at Northwestern University and the author of Narrating the Law: A Poetics of Talmudic Legal Stories.
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