Biblical Literacy: The Most Important People, Events, and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

Publisher: William Morrow

Encyclopedic in scope, but arranged by people, events, laws and ideas, this reference makes available in one volume all the Bible’s timeless stories of love, greed, and the human condition; stories that form the basis for our sense of morality. It not only provides a complete education in all the books of the Hebrew Bible but it conveys their psychological and emotional truths as well.

The Hebrew Bible has played an important role in American society as Judaism’s primary text and as Christianity’s Old Testament. Today, however, fewer people are as well versed in scripture, so the author, a lecturer and rabbi of Los Angeles’s Synagogue for the Performing Arts, has written this readable introduction. Not a concordance or commentary but a personalized study guide or overview for the Jewish or Gentile reader, it is a less successful sequel to Telushkin’s popular home references, Jewish Literacy (Morrow, 1991) and Jewish Wisdom (Morrow, 1994). Although the book does not merit reference status, some patrons might be helped by the selective summaries of and thoughts on weekly Bible readings or the enumeration of the 613 mitzvot (commandments) that guide the observant Jew. Telushkin’s book has the potential to increase a reader’s Jewish literacy either as an introduction or companion to study of the Hebrew Bible.?Andrew B. Wertheimer, Spertus Inst. of Jewish Studies, Chicago
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Product Description

As he did so brilliantly in his bestselling book, jewish literacy,Joseph Teluslikin once again mines a subject of, Jewish history and religion so richly that his book becomes an inspiring companion and a fundamental reference. In Biblical Lileracy, Telushkin turns his attention to the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Old Testament), the most iniluential series of books in human history. Along with the Ten Commandments, the Bible’s most famous document, no piece of legislation ever enacted has influenced human behavior as much as the biblical injunction to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No political tract has motivated human beings in so many diverse societies to fight for political freedom as the Exodus story of God’s liberation of the Israelite slaves-which shows that God intends that, ultimately, people be free.

The Bible’s influence, however, has conveyed as much through its narratives as its laws. Its timeless and moving tales about the human condition and man’s relationship to God have long shaped Jewish and Christian notions of morality, and continue to stir the conscience and imagination of believers and skeptics alike.

There is a universality in biblical stories:

The murder of Abel by his brother Cain is a profound tragedy of sibling jealousy and family love gone awry (see pages 11-14).

Abraham’,s challenge to God to save the lives of the evil people of Sodom is a fierce drama of man in confrontation with God, suggesting the human right to contend with the Almighty when it is feared He is acting unjustly (see pages 32-34).

Jacob’s, deception of his blind father, Isaac raises the timeless question: Do the ends justify the means when the fate of the world is at stake (see pages 46-55).

Encyclopedia in scope, but dynamic and original in its observations and organization, Biblical Lileracy makes available in one volume the Bible’s timeless stories of love, deceit, and the human condition; its most important laws and ideas; and an annotated listing of all 613 laws of the Torah for both layman and professional, there is no other reference work or interpretation of the Bible quite like this Stunning volume.

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