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Commentary on the Torah
 
 

Commentary on the Torah [Kindle Edition]

Richard Elliott Friedman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Review

."..A remarkable work..Friedman is to be congratulated."--Bible Review

Product Description

In this groundbreaking and insightful new commentary, one of the world's leading biblical scholars unveils the unity and continuity of the Torah for the modern reader. Richard Elliott Friedman, the bestselling author of Who Wrote the Bible?, integrates the most recent discoveries in biblical archaeology and research with the fruits of years of experience studying and teaching the Bible to illuminate the straightforward meaning of the text -- "to shed new light on the Torah and, more important, to open windows through which it sheds its light on us."

While other commentaries are generally collections of comments by a number of scholars, this is a unified commentary on the Torah by a single scholar, the most unified by a Jewish scholar in centuries. It includes the original Hebrew text, a new translation, and an authoritative, accessibly written interpretation and analysis of each passage that remains focused on the meaning of the Torah as a whole, showing how its separate books are united into one cohesive, all-encompassing sacred literary masterpiece. This landmark work is destined to take its place as a classic in the libraries of lay readers and scholars alike, as we seek to understand the significance of the scriptural texts for our lives today, and for years to come.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 43388 KB
  • Print Length: 704 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (18 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008QY92E2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #398,672 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Torah-in-One 22 Mar 2014
By Rob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Richard Elliott Friedman's one volume translation and commentary on the five books of Moses is an excellent piece of work. The book has a pleasing heft and format and opens completely for easy reading. The Hebrew text and pointing is very clear and Friedman's translation is opposite the Hebrew text so you can move from one to the other with no problem. At the bottom of the page there are useful notes that are translator's own though these incorporate references to Rashi and others as appropriate. The translation is better than the JPS version, and you get everything you need in one very well-designed book for just £17.50. This beats the competion hands down.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Profound and insightful commentary. Very interesting for Christians as well as Jews.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling collection of Insights 19 May 2002
By Sarah Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In days of yore, Bible commentary was not done by the person who did the translation. Thus, both the Hertz and Plaut commentaries used the translation of another. Recently, some scholars have done both, and Commentary on the Torah (Richard Elliot Friedman, HarperCollins, 2000) is a splendid example. It covers the entire Humash (5 Books of Moses).
Those of you familiar with him as the author of Who Wrote the Bible? may be surprised that, with rare exceptions, the question of the origins of the Bible does not arise. He is solely concerned with what the text means. Indeed, he repeatedly views the Humash as a unified whole, tracing the development of themes across books, and emphasizing how language in one book is meant to reflect language used in another. His gaze is so fixed on the text itself that midrashic elaboration (seen frequently in Plaut) and defenses of the text (seen so much in Hertz) are largely absent. He wants the text understood in its own terms, as seen, for example, by his repeated efforts to show how the Bible distinguishes between offenses in the sacred and non-sacred zones.
This is in one sense a personal commentary. While his views are informed by much scholarship, he clearly speaks in his own voice; you seldom see "Tradition says..." or "Rashi explains ... " (and even then, it's done generally to distinguish his views from earlier ones). Indeed, sometimes he uses the first person "I", which is uncommon in serious Torah commentary. This is also reflected in what he chooses to write about. Not as full a commentary as Hertz; sometimes dozens of verses can go by without comment. But when he has points to make, (e.g. in the first three verses of Deuteronomy) then he takes the space needed.
This commentary isn't really designed for beginners; the short introductions and scene-setting remarks that Hertz does so well are largely absent. And it doesn't have the depth that some scholars would want. But in the midrange --- where so many of us are --- this book really sparkles. Again and again there are remarkable insights, often drawn from literary analysis, close attention to detail, points raised of the I-never-noticed-that-before type. There's a fine theory about why Moses was not allowed into the promised land, a startling and comprehensive explanation of Sotah, a good discussion of "impure" and "pure", a convincing critique of some proposed explanations of the dietary laws, a careful explanation of his translation choices for Genesis 1: 1-2, an intriguing explanation as to why the ban on homosexual conduct is written just for males (including a rare bit of editorializing), and many more gems. Further, his writing is marked by a combination of clarity and precision that is a pleasure to read and adds to its engaging character.
The book has a few essays, my favorites being a vigorous defense of the unity of Numbers (as opposed to the standard view of it being a "hodgepodge") and a discussion of the decisions that a translator must make. Alas: no index. For example, there's an informative discussion of the evolution of the control of miracles at Numbers 20:11, but how would you ever find this? The Hebrew text seems easier to read than the Plaut or Hertz.
This book is essential to anyone who seeks new insights into the meaning of the 5 Books of Moses.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful but not as comprehensive as some 16 Dec 2004
By Michael Lewyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I agree with both the positive and negative reviewers of this book.

On the positive side: Friedman is often more original, more insightful, and more interesting than the "Chumashes by committee" that most congregations use (by which I mean the Orthodox Artscroll, the Conservative Etz Chaim, as well as Plaut's Reform Chumash). On the average, IFriedman made one or two points per Torah portion that made me say "Wow!" to myself.

On the negative side: this book is simply not comprehensive enough to substitute for the committee Chumashes. The committee Chumashes tend to be almost line-by-line (at least compared to Friedman's book). Friedman's depth is gained at the sacrifice of breadth: he covers only the topics that really interest him.

And of course, he doesn't cover Haftorot at all.

This book is a fine supplement to the committee Chumashes (or to Hertz, who is also more comprehensive than Friedman) - but not a substitute.
53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When You Wonder What The Bible Really Says, Start Here 31 Oct 2001
By Timothy Dougal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Having been brought up on a number of Christian translations of the Bible, and being frequently frustrated by the inherent biases, the composite nature, and the weight of the King James Bible that hangs over every subsequent English version, I turned to Richard Elliot Friedman to get a better idea of what the Hebrew text says. I had been particularly struck by the straightforwardness of his "Hidden Book in the Bible", and the virtues of this approach are apparent in this Torah.
The commentary is interesting and insightful, although it frequently only whets my appetite for more. And the mere presence of the Hebrew text has caused me to start learning Hebrew to experience the sound relations among the words. It has rapidly become clear, even in my limited state of comprehension, that the text is composed like music, and much more is going on there than merely telling stories and listing regulations.
I'm sure there can be no definitive translation or commentary on this, the most heavily worked over text in history, but this is a fine place to start.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great Torah 2 Aug 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been using this version of Torah and commentary for a few years now and just bought this copy for my son. Friedman's commentary is well thought out and very insightful- though not as detailed as I would like. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants an easy to read but deep commentary that doesn't always agree with the rest.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource 10 Oct 2007
By Stuart G. Brantley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a valuable resource for Christian as well as Jewish Biblical Scholars and Teachers alike.
It is well organized, according to the Tanakh organization of the scriptures, not like the Christian Bible. It is great to get a Jewish perspective on these familiar Texts.
I highly recommend this as a resource for Bible Study.
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