The Talmud: A Biography


Product Details

$26.95  $24.79
Princeton University Press
Publish Date
4.9 X 7.7 X 1.3 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Barry Scott Wimpfheimer is associate professor of religious studies and law at Northwestern University and the author of Narrating the Law: A Poetics of Talmudic Legal Stories.


"Wimpfheimer brilliantly opens the door into the complex and fascinating world of textual study, allowing readers to comprehend the origins, structure, and impact of this foundational Jewish text. Erudite and accessible, this is a book for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the centrality of the Talmud in Jewish scholarship and life."--Tova Mirvis, author of The Book of Separation: A Memoir
"Wimpfheimer provides a masterful and subtle exposition of the complex ways in which the Talmud was formed and received through the generations. His unique capacity to explore this rich history from the dual perspectives of the internal development of Talmudic interpretation and the external reactions and reception is at the root of what makes this book so exquisite."--Moshe Halbertal, coauthor of The Beginning of Politics: Power in the Biblical Book of Samuel
"Wimpfheimer brings a rare combination of talents to this book: a scholar's familiarity with the Talmud's compositional and reception history, a critic's sensitivity to the Talmud's distinctive literary texture, and a public intellectual's feel for the pulse of modernity. The book tells you what the Talmud is and has been, and why it matters as much as or indeed more than ever."--Tzvi Novick, author of What Is Good, and What God Demands
"A very fine book. Wimpfheimer is a first-rate expositor."--Daniel Boyarin, author of A Traveling Homeland: The Talmud as Diaspora
"First, Wimpfheimer traces the details of both discussions, but especially the halachic discussion, in close and fine detail within the talmudic text. His deconstruction of the halachic text in particular is masterful."---David Reuben, Jewish Chronicle
"Wimpfheimer takes the reader by the hand and walks through the many hair-splitting complexities of the Talmud, its evolution and its impact."---Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune
"Excellent and highly recommended."---David Tesler, Association of Jewish Libraries
"The question therefore becomes how exactly such literary and historical analysis is arriving to the 'essential' Talmud rather than to the new 'enhanced' understanding of it. The answer to this question is in the author's complex and carefully calibrated framing of the book as 'biography.'"---Sergey Dolgopolski, Reading Religion
"Winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in Education and Jewish Identity, In Memory of Dorothy Kripke"