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Publisher's Summary

What is the essence of Judaism? Is it the Ten Commandments, given by God to Israel at Mount Sinai? Or is it the totality of teachings in the Hebrew Bible? Or is it symbolized by something outside the Bible? Find out with this illuminating 12-lecture investigation of the fundamental concepts, beliefs, issues, and themes in the ever-changing, 4,000-year-old saga of Judaism, one of the world's most ancient and influential faiths. Throughout the lectures, you'll study Judaism from within - as it was understood by its adherents in the past and by those who practice or identify with Judaism today. This series covers the critical stages of Jewish history; the centrality of such books as the Torah, Talmud, Midrash, and Mishna; the manner in which the Jewish calendar and Jewish law, or Halakha, define daily life; and much more. It also illustrates how Judaism reinvented itself by embracing the rabbinical tradition after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and considers the thinking of such philosophers as Philo of Alexandria and Moses Maimonides.
Here are just a few of many fascinating facts and insights you'll glean from learning with these lectures. Among many Jews today the Hebrew Bible is known by the Hebrew acronym TaNaKH, which is composed of the first Hebrew letters in each of the three component parts of the Bible. Judaism's calendar is arguably the most important unifying factor in what is otherwise a frequently fragmented religious community (the key to the calendar is that it is both lunar and solar). Judaism has no dogma or creed in the Christian sense.
©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

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By SAMA on 12-03-13

The Oldest Religion of the Book Explained

This course opened my eyes on the belief system of Judaism. The professor is probably the most qualified in this course than all the other Great World Religions courses, because it seems that he is a devout practitioner.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful


By Rambo on 12-11-17

Narrator / Author not a good story teller

So although the story and history is always good to learn and respect, the delivery of this text left alot to be desired.

I have listened to several books / lectures from Great Courses and this narration was by far the worst.

Love the series and this will not deter me from continuing on my theological quest for knowledge of world religions, but I will avoid this person by all costs in the future.

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Customer Reviews

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By Omar on 10-10-17

Good overview

Very interesting, exactly what I thought the book would be about. I phased out in certain sections but overall the narrator is pretty good. I am happy to recommend this book.

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