Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Torah: A Women's Commentary

If you plan on doing Old Testament Studies this upcoming year, let me strongly recommend The Torah: A Women's Commentary edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss. Here is the link to three comprehensive reviews of the volume at the Review of Biblical Literature. Three characteristics that make this volume unique are:
  • It follows the liturgical division of Torah into 54 sections (parashah) for the public reading of Torah in they synagogue during the year (all of Torah is covered during the annual cycle of reading)
  • It is written by scholars who are all Jewish and who are all women
  • Contributors represent a variety of approaches (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, as well as unaffiliated and secular)

There are five elements that make up the commentary of each Torah portion:
  1. The Central Commentary - scholarly exegesis of the biblical text
  2. Another View - a short essay that supplements or challenges the central commentary
  3. Post-biblical Interpretation - rabbinical teachings on the text
  4. Contemporary Reflection - a section by a rabbi or adult education expert on the meaning of the text for Jews today
  5. Voices - creative responses to the Torah section (mainly poetry)
For more information, here is the Amazon listing.

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