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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Oxford Univ Pr
Publication date April 1, 1986
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780192191984
ISBN-10 0192191985
Availability§ Out of Print
Published in Great Britain
Original list price $18.95
Other format details religious
§As reported by publisher
Summaries and Reviews
Summary
Clears up misconceptions about Judaism, explains its traditions, and describes the problems that face modern Judaism
Amazon.com description: Product Description: What is Judaism? What is the Jewish creed? Most people--even those who call themselves Jews--would be hard-pressed to answer this question. The reason, according to Nicholas de Lange, is that the very idea of a religion has been artificially imposed on Judaism. "The term 'religion' has been foreign to Judaism until relatively recently," he writes, "when the dialogue with Christianity has compelled Jews to recognize and use it. Indeed the Hebrew language does not really have a word for religion."

This book aims to set the record straight by presenting Judaism on its own terms, from the inside but in a way accessible to non-Jewish readers. Doing away with the artificial categories imposed by comparisons with Christianity allows the reader to focus on and understand perhaps for the first time the unique features of Judaism: the extraordinary emphasis on tradition ("The Jew, confronted with new ideas or changed circumstances, instinctively turns for guidance to the established norms of the past, since he has neither a canon of faith nor a human authority he can turn to"), the deep sense of community even when there is a total lack of religious commitment ("Religion is only one aspect of Jewish identity. One cannot become a Jew through subscribing to a set of religious beliefs, any more than one ceases to be a Jew by losing one's religious faith. We do not speak of 'a lapsed Jew'."), and much more.

This fascinating book ranges over the entire contemporary scene in all its diversity (Orthodoxy, ultra-Orthodoxy, Conservatism, Reform, Reconstruction, secular Judaism, Zionism), always tracing the roots of contemporary phenomena to the heritage of the past, so that the superficial diversity is balanced by an investigation of the essential unity of the tradition. Key terms are not only translated but explained and the implications explored. The language of worship plays a crucial role, familiarizing the reader with words and thoughts which are at the heart of everyday Jewish life.

About the Author:

Nicholas de Lange is Lecturer in Rabbinics at the University of Cambridge. He is also a rabbi. In addition, he has translated the works of the novelist, Amos Oz, into English.

Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780192191984
 
The price comparison is for this edition
With N. R. M. De Lange | from Oxford Univ Pr (April 1, 1986)
9780192191984 | details & prices | List price $18.95
About: Clears up misconceptions about Judaism, explains its traditions, and describes the problems that face modern Judaism
Paperback
Book cover for 9780192892133 Book cover for 9780199252978
 
2 edition from Oxford Univ Pr on Demand (April 10, 2003)
9780199252978 | details & prices | 163 pages | 5.25 × 8.25 × 0.50 in. | 0.50 lbs | List price $44.95
About: In this thoroughly revised new edition, Nicholas de Lange examines the basic elements of Judaism, both as a religion and a way of life.
Reprint edition from Oxford Univ Pr (July 1, 1987)
9780192892133 | details & prices | List price $8.95
About: Clears up misconceptions about Judaism, explains its traditions, and describes the problems that face modern Judaism

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