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Publisher's Summary

As a religion, culture, and civilization, Judaism has evolved in surprising ways during its long and remarkable history. In this series of 24 lectures, Professor Cherry explores this rich religious heritage from biblical times to today.
The many topics you will learn about include: the oral Torah (the Mishnah) and its commentary (the Gemarahow), which constitute the Talmud; the three pillars of the world defined more than 2,000 years ago by Shimon the Righteous: Torah, worship, and deeds of loving kindness; the calendar of Jewish holidays, from the most important, the Sabbath, to the key holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, and Pentecost (Shavuot); and to historically minor celebrations such as Chanukah, which is now a more visible holiday; and the many mysteries of Jewish thought and ritual, such as why the first day of the seventh month (Tishrei) is the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). In addition, Professor Cherry devotes several lectures to complex issues such as the problem of evil and suffering, the Zionist movement, the role and status of women in the Jewish world, and how Judaism understands Christianity.
From the first lecture on the Torah to the last on the Jews as the Chosen People, this course is packed with truly fascinating information.
©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By B. peltzer on 08-23-15

This lecture series is amazing

Where does Introduction to Judaism rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to dozens of great courses lectures and I would rank this among the top three

What was one of the most memorable moments of Introduction to Judaism?

This series traces and explains a rich tradition that is not only ancient, but is able to adapt as the world changes. For non-jewish person such as me, the course effectively explains the origins of Judaism and it's evolution over millennia as well as helps in understanding the current forms of Judaism practice today. I would imagine that this course would be highly informative to most jewish people as well.

What does Professor Shai Cherry bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Professor Cherry speaks from a deep understanding of this faith and is able to give insights that would otherwise be lost on a non-jewish lecturer. He is dynamic and makes the ancient texts come to life in a way that can be understood as relevant to the modern person.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

My prior ignorance in thinking that judaism is a faith rooted in ancient laws and practices with diminished relevance today was completely blown away by the knowledge that this faith leaves space for debate and for the evolution of the interpretation of it's sacred texts over time.

Any additional comments?

This course moved me one step closer to a place of understanding humanity. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to grow from this incredibly important series

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Edward Zeiser on 06-12-15

Superb!!!

Any additional comments?

This was a comprehensive, understandable course. The presenter covered so much material in an open non-biased way regarding the different types of Judaism and the historical background. There was so much material that I will have to listen to it again to gain an even better understanding. I cannot recommend this course highly enough.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Lelibug on 02-09-16

very good

Speaking as a non jew who has listened to many of the great course lectures on religion, this is one of my favourite.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 01-07-17

Introduction to Judaism - a review by I Waine

Clear, practical and mostly non partisan introduction to Judaism, especially to one who had no idea. Will be a book that I reread, I suspect, many times.

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