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Socrates and the Fat Rabbis Paperback – 22 Jun 2012

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"Daniel Boyarin's ingeniously constructed dialogue between Plato and the Talmud in this book has implications for cultural and intellectual history.... Boyarin simultaneously reveals the despotic kernel of secular rationalism and the grotesque core of sacred revelation." (Times Literary Supplement)"

About the Author

Daniel Boyarin is professor of Talmudic culture and holds the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Chair in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of more than a dozen books, including, most recently, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
To the general reader: not easy, but give it a try. 28 Jan. 2013
By Jeff - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a student of this field, but only a reader interested in philosophy and religion. The idea expressed is not mainstream, so I found it intriguing. The author has excellently footnoted and referenced his work, so that the reader has the opportunity for further study of all viewpoints. I learned much through his treatment of Plato's Symposium.
However, it is not always easy to read. It is an academic work so the author uses jargon. He also has not met a comma he doesn't like due to his overuse of parenthetical asides that disrupt sentence continuity. For example, this happens in order to show obeisance to political correctness such as gender equality dropped into the middle of a sentence concerning Plato's writing about rhetoric. Maybe this is not a problem for someone who is more familiar with the ideas being expressed. Overall, I found the difficult reading worth the effort in order to get at the ideas.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
He gets it right ... 24 Jan. 2012
By Bart SFCA - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Daniel Boyarin gets it right ... both the Greek world in its highest thought and the Talmudic world, the perception of which is not often so free of confusion. There are perhaps only two "Eternal Cities": Athens and Jerusalem. Professor Boyarin leads a couple of tours into the heart of each of these places of the mind, the spirit and indeed the soul. His vehicle is, oddly enough, a modern understanding of the novel, but looking back to the ancient world. But as the map is not the territory, the vehicle is not the destination. His tours are tours de force, compelling consideration of both love and truth, as reflected in the ancient texts. If modernity rejects both notions, modernity is all the poorer for that. Some acquaintance with Greek philosophical thought and at least Steinsaltz's English rendering of parts of the Talmud are helpful, but if Boyarin's title intrigues, then his book will likely repay a close and attentive reading. It is not, however, a text for the faint of heart; I am grateful to my teachers over many years to whom I attribute my willingness to meet the challenge of this book. ##
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