The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature

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W.W. Norton, 2016 - History - 407 pages

Jews have long embraced their identity as "the people of the book." But outside of the Bible, much of the Jewish literary tradition remains little known to nonspecialist readers. The People and the Books shows how central questions and themes of our history and culture are reflected in the Jewish literary canon: the nature of God, the right way to understand the Bible, the relationship of the Jews to their Promised Land, and the challenges of living as a minority in Diaspora. Adam Kirsch explores eighteen classic texts, including the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Esther, the philosophy of Maimonides, the autobiography of the medieval businesswoman Glückel of Hameln, and the Zionist manifestoes of Theodor Herzl. From the Jews of Roman Egypt to the mystical devotees of Hasidism in Eastern Europe, The People and the Books brings the treasures of Jewish literature to life and offers new ways to think about their enduring power and influence.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DanTarlin - LibraryThing

Slow read, but very educational and interesting. In 14 chapters, this book chronologically analyzes 18 of the most important books in the history of Jewish thought, from Deuteronomy to Shalom Aleichem ... Read full review

The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

In this insightful and comprehensive volume, Kirsch has chosen 18 classic works of Jewish literature through which he tells the unique story of the Jewish people and of Jewish thought throughout the ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Adam Kirsch is the author of several books of poetry and criticism, including Who Wants to Be a Jewish Writer? and The People and the Books: Eighteen Classics of Jewish Literature. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, Kirsch is an editor at the Wall Street Journal's Weekend Review section and has written for publications including The New Yorker and Tablet. He lives in New York.

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