Introduction to Judaism : The Great Courses: Judaism

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Shai Cherry
  • Series: The Great Courses: Judaism
  • 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Lecture

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Biggest load of crap!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who want to turn God's word into suggestions they can take or leave as they wish.

What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The download and sound quality were great. They did their job just fine.

What didn’t you like about Professor Shai Cherry’s performance?

This professor has lots of titles, accomplishments and education. He knows his subject well and if I had read his list of postings and teaching career first I would not have purchased this book. His degrees are in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College, and his Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from Brandeis University. Professor Cherry's research focuses on biblical interpretation and the nexus between science and Judaism. His essay Three Twentieth-Century Jewish Responses to Evolutionary Theory appeared in the 2003 This man is a very liberal Bible critic who took the Torah and Tanak and reduced it to myth, legend and misunderstandings. He gives many convincing reasons why we can't believe most of what we read in Scripture and then the stuff he personally believes is fact needs to be interpreted for you, by him because you are too dense and uneducated to get it on your own. His first lesson teaches that two different God's had two separate creations in Genesis. One for all the earth and sun and sky and man in God's image that took seven days and then another God that created man from dirt . This is a personal soapbox not an introduction to Judaism. Speaking as a Jew this wasn't just a waste of time and money, I feel like I need to take a bath to clean this stuff off!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Introduction to Judaism?

All of it unless the title is changed. This has almost nothing to do with Judaism as a people or practice or religion. This publication is his personal beliefs, mixing all different philosophies and faiths and very liberal interpretations.

Any additional comments?

Be very careful to research who's teaching a class and what their personal beliefs are before choosing to take to heart their words. Just because someones teaching sounds wise does not mean it's wisdom.

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- Deborah

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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- B. peltzer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses