The People and the Books PDF/EPUB Ç The People PDF \

The People and the Books PDF/EPUB Ç The People PDF \


The People and the Books ❮Reading❯ ➳ The People and the Books ➬ Author Adam Kirsch – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk 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 B Jews have long and the eBook ´ 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 uestions 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 The People PDF \ 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 People and the Kindle Ñ think about their enduring power and influence.

  • Hardcover
  • 432 pages
  • The People and the Books
  • Adam Kirsch
  • 23 May 2015
  • 9780393241761

About the Author: Adam Kirsch

Adam Kirsch is and the eBook ´ the author of two collections of poems and several books of poetry criticism A senior editor at the New Republic and a columnist for Tablet he also writes for The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books He lives in New York City with his wife and son.



10 thoughts on “The People and the Books

  1. Adam Graubart Adam Graubart says:

    Kirsch does a fantastic job reviewing many of the major works that shaped Jewish thinking and history Each chapter provides a thorough summary of a Jewish text as well as necessary historical context about the author and period yet the book lacks a sense of being pedantic or overly academic In all honesty this book may deserve 45 stars rather than 5 primarily due to its lack of post Holocaust 20th21st century literature and its focus on Ashkenazic history However with those caveats it informs its audience in a clear captivating way and I especially appreciated the chapter about Yehuda HaLevi's Kuzari and the chapter about the Zohar

  2. Michael Johnston Michael Johnston says:

    The Jewish people have often been described as the People of the Book but as Kirsch highlights in this wonderful compendium of the greatest most influential books in Jewish history it is apt to describe Judaism as the people of the books Books were not just one element in Jewish culture Kirsch notes they were the core of that culture the binding force that sustained a civilization Most often it is the canonical texts of Judaism the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud that are described as defining our modern understanding of the faith As Simon Schama has said the Talmud was suitcase ready meaning that it's comprehensive set of laws and commentary could be carried along wherever this displaced people were forced to travel But it is than just the two main texts of the faith that influenced the nature of Jewish life Over thousands of years an astonishingly broad and vibrant collection of commentaries interpretations and stories helped shape the culture and beliefs of the peopleIt is this collection of literature that in Kirsch's mind is the true history of the people To study the history of most peoples is to learn about wars and empires military heroes and political reformers great buildings and beautiful artworks notes Kirsch But until the founding of the modern state of Israel the history of Judaism would not be told primarily in political terms It would be instead a history of books And what books From the Book of Deuteronomy with it's collection of critical laws and rituals and deep rootedness in the land of Israel to Shalom Aleichem's simple tales of Tevye which explore the challenges of Eastern European Jewry facing modernity From Pirke Avot a collection of aphorisms and sayings which captured the outlines of Judaism forever disconnected from centralized worship at the Temple in Jerusalem to Theodor Herzl and his dream of a new State of Israel From Baruch Spinoza's secular philosophy and excommunication to the lyrical mysticism of the Zohar It is a compendium of brilliance and creativity that forever altered the dreams of a people cast into the diaspora Any compendium of this scale can only dip its toe into the substance of these great books There simply isn't enough room to dive deeply into any one work Yet Kirsch does a wonderful job of capturing not only the essence of each work but the historical context in which it was written and its impact on the future and thinking of the Jewish people In these 18 classic texts resides much of the definition of who the Jewish people are and how we evolved over time This work will likely not satisfy scholars who will want in depth understanding of each text However as Kirsch hints at in his preface it is not so much an in depth study of literature as a review of touch points along the path to the evolution of the Jewish people In particular he notes that at the beginning of the 21st century we are a people who still see ourselves shaped by the epochal events of the 2oth century the Holocaust mass immigration to the US the founding of the State of Israel etc Yet the themes at the center of these recent events are not new to the Jewish people It can be hard to recognize that the very uestions raised by these events uestions of assimilation nationhood and providence are not new in Jewish history but have part of of it from the very beginning says KirschRead this book and you will see in its broad sweeping historical context the definition of the Jewish people Read it for its history but also read it for its deft explanations of the some of the greatest and most influential literature ever written

  3. Cassandra Cassandra says:

    If you want to read examples of Jewish literature DO NOT pick up this book This book is a literature review That's fine if you are into that but I picked up this book from a library list that did not focus on that fact What I don't like1 It assumes a level of familiarity with Biblical cannon Jewish history and geo political history of the Middle East So this is not a book for newer scholars 2 I only read through the fourth selection but I noticed in those four that each subseuent reading referenced earlier ones This means you have to read the whole thing in order since selections about the Jewish war in 66 CE reference the author's earlier comments on Philo of Alexandria and the author's commentary on The Book of Revelations If you were reading about types of literature or the importance of literature you would normally expect to be able to jump around Here you can't3 My primary complaint however is that there is not much of the literature here to review or study Most selections are about the lives of the people who wrote the literature or lived during those times Both the selections on Philo of Alexandria and Josephus Flavius mention some of their body of work but have scant uotations or materials from them

  4. Erika Dreifus Erika Dreifus says:

    Some thoughts over on the My Machberet blog

  5. Laura Raines Laura Raines says:

    I bought this book to read for research for a project I'm working on and ended up reading it for pleasure It is not only filled with useful knowledge but extremely well written

  6. Howard Jaeckel Howard Jaeckel says:

    As a totally secular but identified Jew I wanted to read “The People and the Books” to mitigate my total lack of any religious education My feeling that I might be well served by doing so was rooted in my reading of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s “A Code of Jewish Ethics” a masterful volume that was a revelation to me Imagine my surprise to learn how closely my deepest beliefs about how one should try to lead one’s life tracked what the rabbis were saying millennia before I was born Maybe my time wouldn’t have been entirely wasted in Hebrew school after all Though Adam Kirsch is a beautiful writer as is on admirable display in his concluding chapters on the works of Theodor Herzl and Sholem Aleichem I found much of “The People and the Books” very tough going; in fact there were chapters I was unable to finish As an agnostic who believes that ultimate knowledge is simply beyond human reach and is therefore disinclined to religious and philosophical speculation I found Kirsch’s discussion of for example the works of Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza simply too abstract and metaphysical For me the ethical precepts the rabbis laid down centuries ago have concrete and vital application to life today; philosophical attempts to reconcile the stories of the Bible with scientific knowledge do not Which doesn’t mean that I think I wasted my time reading those parts about 80 percent of “The People and the Books”I was able to complete At least now I have an idea of who some of these great Jewish thinkers were when they lived and at some level what they said This is knowledge of which I was previously complete innocent And as I’ve indicated I found the chapters on Herzl and Sholem Aleichem beautifully written and uite moving Still if you’re an agnostic interested in learning something about Juadism I would recommend Rabbi Telushkin

  7. Michael Cohn Michael Cohn says:

    Excellent look at some great works of Jewish literatureI enjoyed Adam Kirsch's The People and the Books and found it very informative He includes several books I had never heard of before and I often found myself eager to read the books for myself Kirsch discusses not only the books but also the lives of the authors and the times when they were written offering insights into some key developments of Jewish history My main uibble is that the last chapter is about Sholom Aleichem taking the reader only into the early years of the 20th Century Surely there are many books after the First World War and especially the Second World War the Holocaust and the founding of the state of Israel that could have been included Perhaps there will be a follow up volume after this one?

  8. Gadi Gadi says:

    A fascinating jaunt through eighteen different books different time periods different authors different relationships to God different relationships between Jews and non Jews The diversity of backstories from Moses to Moses to Moses I love how Kirsch threaded the same themes throughout the eighteen chapters I was surprised by how often Jewish writers tried to bridge the Bible with the science of the time from Philo all the way to Moses Mendelsson though the religious philosophies sometimes bored me I had no good knowledge of the Zohar or the Kabbalah or of the Nachman of Breslov and I'd never heard of the Tsenerene or of Philos and this book offered an excellent introduction to those figures and books I wish the book had of a thrust or a substantial conclusion to tie up the many overlapping themes and undercurrents

  9. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Each chapter is well executed with information on the author if known as well as historical contextThat said I feel like there are selections that could have been included to not include anything fromabout the Holocaust or about the Jewish immigrant community in the US feels a bit lacking So too does the relative lack of Sephardi thought save for Maimonides and SpinozaI'm not saying don't read this I'm saying I'm looking forward to Vol 2

  10. Bill Silverman Bill Silverman says:

    Honestly this analysis of 18 classics of Jewish literature deserves five stars To me though it wasn't always as interesting as I would have liked Still there is without a doubt something for everyone here at least for everyone who is interested in the Jewish people and its religion I was most interested in the Kuzari by Yehuda Halevi The Guide For the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides and Theological Political Treatise by Baruch Spinoza

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10 thoughts on “The People and the Books

  1. Adam Graubart Adam Graubart says:

    Kirsch does a fantastic job reviewing many of the major works that shaped Jewish thinking and history Each chapter provides a thorough summary of a Jewish text as well as necessary historical context about the author and period yet the book lacks a sense of being pedantic or overly academic In all honesty this book may deserve 45 stars rather than 5 primarily due to its lack of post Holocaust 20th21st century literature and its focus on Ashkenazic history However with those caveats it informs its audience in a clear captivating way and I especially appreciated the chapter about Yehuda HaLevi's Kuzari and the chapter about the Zohar

  2. Michael Johnston Michael Johnston says:

    The Jewish people have often been described as the People of the Book but as Kirsch highlights in this wonderful compendium of the greatest most influential books in Jewish history it is apt to describe Judaism as the people of the books Books were not just one element in Jewish culture Kirsch notes they were the core of that culture the binding force that sustained a civilization Most often it is the canonical texts of Judaism the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud that are described as defining our modern understanding of the faith As Simon Schama has said the Talmud was suitcase ready meaning that it's comprehensive set of laws and commentary could be carried along wherever this displaced people were forced to travel But it is than just the two main texts of the faith that influenced the nature of Jewish life Over thousands of years an astonishingly broad and vibrant collection of commentaries interpretations and stories helped shape the culture and beliefs of the peopleIt is this collection of literature that in Kirsch's mind is the true history of the people To study the history of most peoples is to learn about wars and empires military heroes and political reformers great buildings and beautiful artworks notes Kirsch But until the founding of the modern state of Israel the history of Judaism would not be told primarily in political terms It would be instead a history of books And what books From the Book of Deuteronomy with it's collection of critical laws and rituals and deep rootedness in the land of Israel to Shalom Aleichem's simple tales of Tevye which explore the challenges of Eastern European Jewry facing modernity From Pirke Avot a collection of aphorisms and sayings which captured the outlines of Judaism forever disconnected from centralized worship at the Temple in Jerusalem to Theodor Herzl and his dream of a new State of Israel From Baruch Spinoza's secular philosophy and excommunication to the lyrical mysticism of the Zohar It is a compendium of brilliance and creativity that forever altered the dreams of a people cast into the diaspora Any compendium of this scale can only dip its toe into the substance of these great books There simply isn't enough room to dive deeply into any one work Yet Kirsch does a wonderful job of capturing not only the essence of each work but the historical context in which it was written and its impact on the future and thinking of the Jewish people In these 18 classic texts resides much of the definition of who the Jewish people are and how we evolved over time This work will likely not satisfy scholars who will want in depth understanding of each text However as Kirsch hints at in his preface it is not so much an in depth study of literature as a review of touch points along the path to the evolution of the Jewish people In particular he notes that at the beginning of the 21st century we are a people who still see ourselves shaped by the epochal events of the 2oth century the Holocaust mass immigration to the US the founding of the State of Israel etc Yet the themes at the center of these recent events are not new to the Jewish people It can be hard to recognize that the very uestions raised by these events uestions of assimilation nationhood and providence are not new in Jewish history but have part of of it from the very beginning says KirschRead this book and you will see in its broad sweeping historical context the definition of the Jewish people Read it for its history but also read it for its deft explanations of the some of the greatest and most influential literature ever written

  3. Cassandra Cassandra says:

    If you want to read examples of Jewish literature DO NOT pick up this book This book is a literature review That's fine if you are into that but I picked up this book from a library list that did not focus on that fact What I don't like1 It assumes a level of familiarity with Biblical cannon Jewish history and geo political history of the Middle East So this is not a book for newer scholars 2 I only read through the fourth selection but I noticed in those four that each subseuent reading referenced earlier ones This means you have to read the whole thing in order since selections about the Jewish war in 66 CE reference the author's earlier comments on Philo of Alexandria and the author's commentary on The Book of Revelations If you were reading about types of literature or the importance of literature you would normally expect to be able to jump around Here you can't3 My primary complaint however is that there is not much of the literature here to review or study Most selections are about the lives of the people who wrote the literature or lived during those times Both the selections on Philo of Alexandria and Josephus Flavius mention some of their body of work but have scant uotations or materials from them

  4. Erika Dreifus Erika Dreifus says:

    Some thoughts over on the My Machberet blog

  5. Laura Raines Laura Raines says:

    I bought this book to read for research for a project I'm working on and ended up reading it for pleasure It is not only filled with useful knowledge but extremely well written

  6. Howard Jaeckel Howard Jaeckel says:

    As a totally secular but identified Jew I wanted to read “The People and the Books” to mitigate my total lack of any religious education My feeling that I might be well served by doing so was rooted in my reading of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s “A Code of Jewish Ethics” a masterful volume that was a revelation to me Imagine my surprise to learn how closely my deepest beliefs about how one should try to lead one’s life tracked what the rabbis were saying millennia before I was born Maybe my time wouldn’t have been entirely wasted in Hebrew school after all Though Adam Kirsch is a beautiful writer as is on admirable display in his concluding chapters on the works of Theodor Herzl and Sholem Aleichem I found much of “The People and the Books” very tough going; in fact there were chapters I was unable to finish As an agnostic who believes that ultimate knowledge is simply beyond human reach and is therefore disinclined to religious and philosophical speculation I found Kirsch’s discussion of for example the works of Moses Maimonides and Baruch Spinoza simply too abstract and metaphysical For me the ethical precepts the rabbis laid down centuries ago have concrete and vital application to life today; philosophical attempts to reconcile the stories of the Bible with scientific knowledge do not Which doesn’t mean that I think I wasted my time reading those parts about 80 percent of “The People and the Books”I was able to complete At least now I have an idea of who some of these great Jewish thinkers were when they lived and at some level what they said This is knowledge of which I was previously complete innocent And as I’ve indicated I found the chapters on Herzl and Sholem Aleichem beautifully written and uite moving Still if you’re an agnostic interested in learning something about Juadism I would recommend Rabbi Telushkin

  7. Michael Cohn Michael Cohn says:

    Excellent look at some great works of Jewish literatureI enjoyed Adam Kirsch's The People and the Books and found it very informative He includes several books I had never heard of before and I often found myself eager to read the books for myself Kirsch discusses not only the books but also the lives of the authors and the times when they were written offering insights into some key developments of Jewish history My main uibble is that the last chapter is about Sholom Aleichem taking the reader only into the early years of the 20th Century Surely there are many books after the First World War and especially the Second World War the Holocaust and the founding of the state of Israel that could have been included Perhaps there will be a follow up volume after this one?

  8. Gadi Gadi says:

    A fascinating jaunt through eighteen different books different time periods different authors different relationships to God different relationships between Jews and non Jews The diversity of backstories from Moses to Moses to Moses I love how Kirsch threaded the same themes throughout the eighteen chapters I was surprised by how often Jewish writers tried to bridge the Bible with the science of the time from Philo all the way to Moses Mendelsson though the religious philosophies sometimes bored me I had no good knowledge of the Zohar or the Kabbalah or of the Nachman of Breslov and I'd never heard of the Tsenerene or of Philos and this book offered an excellent introduction to those figures and books I wish the book had of a thrust or a substantial conclusion to tie up the many overlapping themes and undercurrents

  9. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Each chapter is well executed with information on the author if known as well as historical contextThat said I feel like there are selections that could have been included to not include anything fromabout the Holocaust or about the Jewish immigrant community in the US feels a bit lacking So too does the relative lack of Sephardi thought save for Maimonides and SpinozaI'm not saying don't read this I'm saying I'm looking forward to Vol 2

  10. Bill Silverman Bill Silverman says:

    Honestly this analysis of 18 classics of Jewish literature deserves five stars To me though it wasn't always as interesting as I would have liked Still there is without a doubt something for everyone here at least for everyone who is interested in the Jewish people and its religion I was most interested in the Kuzari by Yehuda Halevi The Guide For the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides and Theological Political Treatise by Baruch Spinoza

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *