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eBook People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority epub

by Moshe Halbertal

eBook People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority epub
  • ISBN: 0674661117
  • Author: Moshe Halbertal
  • Genre: Christians
  • Subcategory: Bible Study & Reference
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 20, 1997)
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • ePUB size: 1933 kb
  • FB2 size 1949 kb
  • Formats mobi txt rtf mbr


Moshe Halbertal (Hebrew: משה הלברטל‎; born Montevideo, Uruguay, 1958) is a noted Israeli philosopher, professor, and writer, and a noted . People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority (Harvard University Press, 1997)

Moshe Halbertal (Hebrew: משה הלברטל‎; born Montevideo, Uruguay, 1958) is a noted Israeli philosopher, professor, and writer, and a noted expert on Maimonides Contents. People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority (Harvard University Press, 1997). Between Torah and Wisdom: Menachem ha-Meiri and the Maimonidean Halakhists in Provence (Hebrew) (Magnes Press, 2000) (Goldstein-Goren award for the best book in Jewish thought in the years 1997-2000). Concealment and Revelation: The Secret and its Boundaries in Medieval Jewish Thought (Yeriot, 2001).

In People of the Book, Halbertal offers an interesting and encompassing perspective on the views of various .

In People of the Book, Halbertal offers an interesting and encompassing perspective on the views of various rishionim on the subject of mesora, here and here. Moshe Halbertal, professor of Jewish thought and philosophy at Hebrew University, relates the following tale about heaven and hell in his Introduction to "People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority": "Don't think that hell is where people are consumed by fire for their sins or that heaven is where they are rewarded with pleasures for their piety.

People of the Book book.

Moshe Halbertal 1958 Uruguay. Interpretative Revolutions in the Making (Hebrew) (Magnes Press, 1997).

While Scripture is at the center of many religions, among them Islam and Christianity, this book inquires into the function, development, and implications of the centrality of text upon the Jewish community, and by extension on the larger question of canonization and the text-centered community.

Canon, Meaning, and Authority . Halbertal provides a panoramic survey of Jewish attitudes toward Scripture, provocatively organized around problems of normative and formative authority, with an emphasis on the changing status and functions of Mishnah, Talmud, and Kabbalah.

People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority (Harvard University Press, 1997). Moshe Idel is a Romanian born historian and philosopher of Jewish mysticism.

Moshe Halbertal - People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority. Moshe Halbertal, Jackie Feldman - Concealment and Revelation: Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications. Читать pdf. Moshe Halbertal, Jackie Feldman. Moshe Hod, Lois G. Jovanovic, Gian Carlo Di Renzo, Alberto De Leiva, Oded Langer.

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While Scripture is at the center of many religions, among them Islam and Christianity, this book inquires into the function, development, and implications of the centrality of text upon the Jewish community, and by extension on the larger question of canonization and the text-centered community. It is a commonplace to note how the landless and scattered Jewish communities have, from the time of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. until the founding of modern Israel in 1948, cleaved to the text and derived their identity from it. But the story is far more complex. The shift from the Bible to the Torah, from biblical religion to rabbinic Judaism mediated by the Sages, and the sealing of the canon together with its continuing interpretive work demanded from the community, amount to what could be called an unparalleled obsession with textuality. Halbertal gives us insights into the history of this obsession, in a philosophically sophisticated yet straightforward narrative.

People of the Book offers the best introduction available to Jewish hermeneutics, a book capable of conveying the importance of the tradition to a wide audience of both academic and general readers. Halbertal provides a panoramic survey of Jewish attitudes toward Scripture, provocatively organized around problems of normative and formative authority, with an emphasis on the changing status and functions of Mishnah, Talmud, and Kabbalah. With a gift for weaving complex issues of interpretation into his own plot, he animates ancient texts by assigning them roles in his own highly persuasive narrative.

Comments: (4)
tamada
[...]

Halbertal is a professor of Jewish thought and philosophy at Hebrew University and a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Hebrew University in 1989, and from 1988-92 he was a fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. Moshe Halbertal has also served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, and at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is David Hartman's son-in-law.

He is the author of the books Idolatry (co-authored with Avishai Margalit), and People of the Book: Canon, Meaning, and Authority, both published by Harvard University Press. He has also authored two books, Interpretative Revolutions in the Making, and Between Torah and Wisdom: R Menachem ha-Meiri and The Maimonidean Halakhists in Provence, both published in Hebrew by Magnes Press. His last book published in Hebrew is Concealment and Revelation: The Secret and its Boundaries in Medieval Jewish Thought (Yeriot, 2001). His most recent work is Concealment and Revelation: Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications.

Halbertal's work is always interesting and thought provoking. He has the ability to use concepts and categories of modern philosophy, sociology, anthropology and religious studies to classify Talmudic disagreements, explain various positions in the rishonim and like a seasoned lamdan give and take within the sygyos and around them. It is almost like a new genre of learning, let's call it "academic-talmudic fusion"; many attempt it but few do it well.

Dr. Halbertal's books are chock-full of insights. Some are more speculative than others bit each book contains some revelation (no pun intended), some explanation that elucidates obscure and complex questions and gladdens the heart. They are more a collection of related ideas than a single well-developed argument, but in each there are gems. Marring his books is a tendency to end each one with an involved discussion of modern philosophical issues in the light of what was related of the Jewish tradition rather than the opposite, but this is, perhaps, a flaw which is in the eyes of the beholder. I am naturally more interested in the Jewish angle and not in how it related to modern fields of inquiry than vice versa - but the, again, I am not an academic, who needs to swim in those waters, like Professor Halbertal.

To give three examples:

In Concealment and Revelation.. Dr. Halbertal develops an idea that esoteric knowledge is by definition unstable, for it begs to be revealed in hints and allusions. As such, it invites fuller and fuller revelation at each stage. He shows how this process led to uncovering of Kabbalah in pre-exilic Spain. There were two centers of Kabbalstic learning in Spain, one located around Talmudists, like Raavad and Ramban. The other was composed of the students of R. Ezra and Azriel and R. Moshe of Burgos. Since the two schools disagreed in many details, when one school revealed something, it had to be countered by a revelation from the other school. This is so by necessity because once something is revealed in writing, a different version of it cannot survive as before, as an oral tradition restricted to a few, for the written and public version will rapidly supplant the other, hidden variant. The process fed on itself until most of the hidden science of Kabbalah became revealed and public within two or three generations.

Personally, I do not find the thesis convincing, for mystical societies are not constituted primarily of thinkers who are in limited but continuous intellectual discourse with the outside world, but of men of emotion and feeling to whom esoteric teachings are a means of deepening the intercourse with the Divine and whose very impulse is withdrawal from the common society of men. Such people do not necessarily need to reveal hidden knowledge to those others with whom they often feel little kinship. I therefore find Halbertal's thesis interesting but not convincing.

Fortunately, Dr. Halbertal' ideas appear to have been developed slowly and painstakingly over several years. Because of this, one can find traces of them in earlier stages on the Web - here.

In People of the Book, Halbertal offers an interesting and encompassing perspective on the views of various rishionim on the subject of mesora, here and here

In Idolatry (ch.2), he discusses, to restate it simply, the three types of representation: linguistic, as the word dog represents dogs by convention, having no "dogginess" in it at all; substitution, where the image substitutes for its object, as a photograph corresponds in its details to the object photographed; and metonomyc, in which the symbol corresponds in some detail or feature to its representation. An example of this would be how a scented kerchief of a loved one can stand in for her, or how an eagle ensign can represent a country. Linguistic representation is always permitted, substitutive representation is idolatry and always forbidden - metonomyic representation is only permitted in very controlled settings. With this classification drawn from modern philosophy, Halbertal is able to explain why verbal representations of God are permitted in language, statues are forbidden and cherubim are permitted in the Temple but nowhere else.

His works are filled with astute observations of this kind. Halbertal's ability to apply modern categories of thought to basic Talmudic material in an original and unique manner continues to evoke admiration. His personal religious views notwithstanding, those accomplished in classic Talmudic learning and in the fields of modern investigation will continue to hope for more such studies from this original and profound thinker, unfulfilling as he may be in some crucial areas of devotion and faith.

for other studies, see here
Fordrekelv
A wonderful, well-researched read. Highly recommend!
Doktilar
A mostly interesting guide to how Judaism interprets texts. Sometimes the book is a bit too abstract and jargon-filled for my tastes. But it comes to life when the author describes specific disputes, such as:

*Whether to interpret sacred texts with "charity"- that is, to forego literal interpretation when necessary to accord with science or commonsense ethics. This issue divided Maimonides from some other commentators in the Middle Ages, and it divides fundamentalists of all faiths from more modern commentators today.

*How to reconcile the sacredness of the "oral tradition" (as embodied in the Mishnah and Talmud) with frequent disputes within those books. Medieval Jewish commentators adopted three views: (1) the theory that Moses received the oral law at Sinai, it had been forgotten over time, and the Mishnah retrieved lost knowledge (begging the question of how to address controversies within the Mishnah), (2) the theory that each generation inferred norms of their own from prior knowledge revealed at Sinai (and that controversies related only to these new issues, which were resolved through acceptance by the Jewish people), and (3) the view that the Torah is essentially open-ended, ordering Jews to obey the weight of rabbinic authority wherever it leads.

*What texts should Jewish scholars focus on studying? Since the Talmud's distribution, there has been a consensus in favor of Talmud study. But what else? From the Middle Ages to today, Jews have raised a variety of views: some favoring "Talmud only (or "Talmud and codes only" after the publication of the major medieval codes)" study, others adding various parts of Bible to the mix, others adding philosophy and/or kabbalah.
Jum
Moshe Halbertal, professor of Jewish thought and philosophy at Hebrew University, relates the following tale about heaven and hell in his Introduction to "People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority": "Don't think that hell is where people are consumed by fire for their sins or that heaven is where they are rewarded with pleasures for their piety. What really happens is that God gathers everybody in one large hall. Then He gives them the Talmud and commands them to start studying. For the wicked, studying Talmud is hell. For the pious, it's heaven."
Halbertal's tale amusingly illustrates the importance that sacred texts play in Judaism and provides a fitting entrée into this short, but fascinating, exploration of the development and importance of the Bible, the Mishnah and the Talmud as canonical works of the Jewish community.
Halbertal begins with a short introduction adumbrating the meaning of a "canonical" text and its various guises. The adjective, of course, refers to a text's special status in a community. The special status of a canon can be "normative" (it is obeyed and followed as the law of a community), "formative" (it is a curriculum that is taught, read, transmitted, and interpreted) or "exemplary" (it is a paradigm for aesthetic value and achievement). For example, the Talmud is both a normative and a formative canon of the traditional Jewish community; normative in the sense that it establishes appropriate behavior in many aspects of life, formative in the sense that it is a fundamental text that is the object of endless interpretation and debate and, in some cases, the intellectual sine qua non of membership in the community.
From this brief introduction, "People of the Book" then explores, in successive chapters (which mirror the chronological development of each successive text), the canonization of the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Talmud and what the ascendancy of each of these texts meant for the formation of authority and meaning in the Jewish community. He also explores the challenges that philosophy and Kabbalah posed to the Talmudic canon in the Middle Ages and closes with a short appendix discussing how Hobbes and Spinoza appropriated and interpreted the canonical text of the Hebrew Bible in their political philosophy.
In less than one hundred fifty pages (excluding the extensive footnotes), Moshe Halbertal has written a challenging and thoughtful exploration of the development of the canonical works of Judaism and how those canonical works shaped authority and meaning in the community and between the community and the non-Jewish world. "People of the Book" is a concise, but intellectually rich, exegesis of the key texts of Judaism and how those texts shaped Jewish thought through the ages.
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