Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash

Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash

Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash

Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash

Synopsis

Gunter Stemberger's revision of H. L. Strack's classic introduction to rabbinic literature, which appeared in its first English edition in 1991, was widely acclaimed. Gunter Stemberger and Markus Bockmuehl have now produced this updated edition, which is a significant revision (completed in 1996) of the 1991 volume. Following Strack's original outline, Stemberger discusses first the historical framework, the basic principles of rabbinic literature and hermeneutics and the most important Rabbis. The main part of the book is devoted to the Talmudic and Midrashic literature in the light of contemporary rabbinic research. The appendix includes a new section on electronic resources for the study of the Talmud and Midrash. The result is a comprehensive work of reference that no student of rabbinics can afford to be without.

Excerpt

In the seven years since the original edition of this translation was prepared, the study of rabbinic Judaism has continued to progress at a remarkable pace. It is this continuing surge in Jewish scholarship which, together with the warm reception and widespread use of this work, has now made a second edition both desirable and feasible.

Readers will note a number of significant changes. Most importantly, the present text substantially represents the eighth German edition published by Gunter Stemberger in 1992. Given the extent of growth and change now embodied in the handbook originally written by H. L. Strack, it seemed most fitting that this edition should appear solely under Professor Stemberger's name – a decision which has of course been followed here. Compared to the 1991 English edition, the latest German edition included several hundred alterations, affecting both the bibliographies and the text of every chapter. Some of the most significant changes concerned the midrashim and the redaction of the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds.

Beyond this, however, this second English edition incorporates all of the author's further improvements until May 1995. The translation has been thoroughly revised throughout, and a number of reviewers' suggestions have been adopted. Some of these concern the format and layout, but we have also included a new appendix on computer-based resources for the study of rabbinic Judaism (below, pp. 360–66).

We offer this new edition in the hope that both students and teachers of rabbinic Judaism will find it a welcome improvement of a familiar textbook.

Markus Bockmuehl Cambridge, July 1995 . . .

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