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A Talmud for Today

In Israel and the United States, high-level Talmud study thrives today with an intensity unmatched since the days of the great East European yeshivot. Yet to most English readers the Talmud, the essential Jewish compendium of legal and narrative discussion, remains a closed book—or rather 63 books. All the more reason, then, to welcome a new and expertly edited 900-page selection from the “sea of the Talmud.”

Relevant Links
Jewish Cultural Capital  Lawrence Grossman, Forward. Norman Solomon’s The Talmud: A Selection reminds us how much all Jews, not just the Orthodox, are still living off the accumulated legacy of generations long past.
The Schottenstein Talmud  Masorah Publications.
Designing the (Printed) Talmud  Marvin J. Heller, Tradition. The story goes back to Italy in the late 15th century.
Introducing the Talmud  Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud. An historical overview with chapters on the beliefs, the attitudes, and the methods of the rabbis.
Jewish Thought and the Talmud  Louis Ginzberg, Students, Scholars, and Saints. What essential Jewish ideas are comprised or implied in the term “Jewish law” (halakhah)?
The Medium and the Message  Lawrence H. Schiffman, Printing the Talmud. The Talmud as transmitter of Jewish Culture

What if a dip into the ocean doesn’t suffice? Two English-language editions have come to the aid of the student unversed in the original languages or modes of rabbinic reasoning: a partial translation of a 47-volume Hebrew edition by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who has also written a one-volume introduction to the Talmud, and a complete edition, the work of many hands, known as the Artscroll Schottenstein Talmud. Both are copiously annotated.

A number of book- and essay-length introductions can also be recommended.

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