Judaism: A Very Short Introduction

Judaism: A Very Short Introduction

Judaism: A Very Short Introduction

Judaism: A Very Short Introduction

Synopsis

Norman Solomon's succinct book is an ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. In addition to answering questions such as Who are Jews? and How did Judaism Develop?, this Very Short Introduction outlines the basics of practical Judaism-its festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects. Modern concerns and debates of the Jewish people are also addressed, such as the impact of the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, the status of women, and medical and commercial ethics.

Excerpt

You are reading a book written in the English language. The English language is not neutral. It evolved in a Christian civilization; it comes ready loaded with a cargo of Christian concepts and assumptions. As Christianity was born out of a conflict within first-century Judaism, and defined itself as against Judaism, it is difficult from within a Christian culture and language to look at Judaism with the innocence you might look at, say, Shinto or Buddhism. Just think of some of the offensive overtones which have been carried in English by the simple word 'Jew'.

If you find yourself asking questions like, 'What do Jews believe about Jesus?', or 'What is more important in Judaism, faith or works?', you have got off on the wrong footing; you are approaching Judaism with cultural baggage imported from Christianity. You will find answers to some questions of this kind in this book, but they will not help you to comprehend Judaism as Judaism understands itself, from within; Judaism simply does not define itself around Jesus, nor does it assume that faith and works are opposing concepts.

So let us make a fresh start and try to discover what it's like to be a Jew, how Judaism looks from within. Here is a list of key terms drawn up by a class of Christian students who were trying to identify the terms that might be useful to explain to others what it was like to be a Christian:

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.