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Publisher's Summary

For thousands of years, Jews have looked to the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament by Christians, for their origins, and have located in them the tenets of their faith. However, much of what is recognized today as Judaism does not appear in the Bible. How did Judaism develop from its biblical roots to the highly developed system we know today? What has changed - and what has remained constant? In this series of 24 spirited and provocative lectures, Professor Gafni investigates how the Jewish faith struggled to continually redefine itself during the first thousand years after the completion of the last books of the Hebrew Bible, tenaciously clinging to existence through circumstances that might well have torn it asunder.
The two landmark events that altered Jewish history forever were the two destructions of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This sacred place was first destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., and, after having been rebuilt 70 years later, was razed once again by the Romans in 70 C.E., after the Jews waged a fierce uprising against Roman rule in the province of Judea.
The events surrounding these destructions lie at the heart of understanding Judaism. As you explore the evolution of an ancient faith into a system of beliefs, practices, and laws recognizable today as Judaism, you'll discover a tradition of vigorous and joyous debate - where reinterpretation coexists with profound acceptance of the original instructions from God regarding the practice of faith.
©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By CA on 02-10-17

What I Never Learned in Hebrew School

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Every post Bar Mitzvah age young Jewish adult should listen to this<br/>When I was a child going to Hebrew school 50+ years ago, we went over all of this in a hurry I never really understood how Judaism developed from a Temple with sacrifices, to a modern worldwide book based religion. I never understood how the Jews came to leave Israel and went out into the world and carried down their belief in one G-d. This really helped me to understand my background. I feel more a part of the Jewish community now that I've heard this. I am an assimilated American Jew. I only know my great grandparents arrived in the USA as part of the great Jewish migration in the 1880 s to escape the Progrums. I cannot trace my history back beyond that. I do not know exactly where my great grandparents came from other than somewhere in Eastern Europe. I do not have any idea how their ancestors got to Eastern Europe other than to presume they came from the Iberian Peninsula after the Inquisition or understood how the Jews left Israel and came to settle in all of the Mediterranean countries. I never knew how a belief in one all knowing G-d was carried down for 2500 years. I wish I had heard this when I was in college.

What did you like best about this story?

It greatly enhanced my understanding of my Jewish background and gave me some insist into how Christianity developed.

Have you listened to any of Professor Isaiah M. Gafni’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

NO

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

N/A

Any additional comments?

NO

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Stanley Jungleib on 06-21-16

Gafni is Music

Detail with expression. Argument with passion. Focusing on the difficult, late transitional period with minimal overlap on other offerings.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Amazon Customer on 02-15-16

Very engaging and interesting

A fascinating course with an excellent teacher. Often in these Great Courses you get tired of hearing the same voice over the 24 lectures, but this was not the case here. The lecturer was engaging, humorous and a pleasure to listen to.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Ibrahim955 on 11-17-15

Very good narration of the history of Judaism

Would you consider the audio edition of Beginnings of Judaism to be better than the print version?

Yes

What other book might you compare Beginnings of Judaism to, and why?

The Old Testiment, as it is more authenticated than this book

What does Professor Isaiah M. Gafni bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He made the subject alive and interesting

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Neither of these but I was interested to listen to the whole book without stop

Any additional comments?

There were some deliberate mistakes, in my opinion, but they did not affect the high level of accuracy I found in this book

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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