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Writings


Hitting the Jackpot Hitting the Jackpot
Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Who doesn't like Purim? Besides the costumes and candy, the story itself has all the politics, sex, and violence of a juicy HBO series. In case you missed it: "Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted to destroy the Jews, and had cast a pur—that is, a lottery—with intent to crush and exterminate them."
A Humanist Bible? A Humanist Bible?
Monday, December 12, 2011 by Armin Rosen | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

According to Jewish tradition, the Torah was delivered to Moses by God on Mount Sinai thousands of years ago. A.C. Grayling's The Good Book claims humbler origins. That text was given to us by an English philosophy professor this past summer.
The Holy Land of England The Holy Land of England
Thursday, November 10, 2011 by Liam Hoare | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The King James Bible, along with the Book of Common Prayer, Shakespeare, and Milton, transformed the English language, introducing a vibrant lexicon that is used to this day.  It also fused biblical mythology with concepts of English national identity.
The Bible and the Good Life The Bible and the Good Life
Thursday, July 14, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What manner of work is the Hebrew Bible? The 17th-century freethinker Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza had an answer. As part of his war to emancipate philosophy from the influence of religion, he reduced the biblical message to, in effect, one word: obedience.
The Reluctant Renegade The Reluctant Renegade
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Since its founding, Conservative Judaism in the U.S. has defined itself in sharp contrast to Reform, pursuing a more religiously centrist and Zionist middle course. Its UK parallel, Masorti ("traditional") Judaism, was born as a secession movement from Orthodoxy—inspired by theologian Louis Jacobs.
Seeking Solomon Seeking Solomon
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 by Eve Levavi Feinstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

For traditionalists, the biography of King Solomon is enshrined in the Bible, in the narrative accounts in the books of Kings and Chronicles. The son of King David, who spent his career battling Israel's enemies, Solomon is depicted as ushering in an era of peace and prosperity. Yet the Bible also relates that Solomon took numerous foreign wives and concubines—one thousand in total—who led him to worship foreign gods and build shrines for their service.
Purim Puzzles Purim Puzzles
Friday, March 11, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Purim, Judaism's strangest holiday (which this year falls on March 20), is prescribed by what may be the strangest book in the Hebrew Bible, the scroll (m'gilah) of Esther. Two public readings of the book, one at night and the other in the morning, tell a story of Persian palace intrigue in the fifth century B.C.E., a recitation accompanied by the holiday's decidedly unspiritual noisemaking, tippling, and masquerade.
Englishing the Hebrew Bible Englishing the Hebrew Bible
Friday, October 8, 2010 by David Curzon | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

All translators of the Hebrew Bible into English work in the shadow of the genius of the King James Version (KJV), done in the 17th century and still in wide use today despite its thee's and thou's.  Jewish translations, following the sequence and other features of the Hebrew Bible, and guided by rabbinic understandings, have been brought out by the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) and others.
Editors' Picks
Studying Bible with Bibi Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post. This past Wednesday, while the world powers engaged in talks with the Iranians, and Israel was rocked by protests about immigration, Prime Minister Netanyahu sat down to contemplate the book of Ruth.    
Amid the Alien Corn Jewish Ideas Daily. In one stunning declaration, the young Ruth shattered what had previously been an impermeable barrier of Israelite law, reshaping the law and Jewish history at once.
Judaism as Protest Movement Tomer Persico, 7 Minim. From Abraham to Korah's ill-fated faction to the beseeching prophets and doubting sages, Jewish tradition has always fostered protesters and protests—not least against God Himself.
Cyrus the Unappreciated Great Daniel Johnson, Standpoint. No Gentile is treated with such reverence in the Bible as Cyrus. But his example shows just how alien Iran's recent rulers are to the long history of Persia and its people.
Will the Real Ahasuerus Please Stand Up? Mitchell First, Bible-pedia. After many centuries, scholars were finally able to identify characters from the Purim story in secular sources.
The King versus Bloom Hillel Halkin, Jewish Review of Books. By temperament a strong misreader, the Hebrew Bible is a mine of riches for Harold Bloom. The King James version of it, considered solely as the fine and faithful translation that it is, is less so.
The Lord is My . . . Lumberjack? Michael Carasik, Shofar. The topic of biblical translation deserves a good book for a general readership. But one recent effort is problematic at best—and preposterous at worst.
Her Price is Far Above . . . . Philologos, Forward. The King James Version puts the price of a virtuous woman above "rubies"; others say "pearls" or "corals." Who is right?
A Voice Crying . . . Shlomo Karni, Torah Musings. Observations on one of the best known and most misconstrued phrases in the Hebrew Bible.
Iron Man D.G. Myers, Commonplace Blog. A fitting antidote to Israel Apartheid Week is Vladimir Jabotinsky's magnificent novel Samson (1928), which adheres to the biblical story while giving voice to the unconquerable spirit within Zionism.