An Introduction to Judaism

N. R. M. de Lange, Author, Nicholas De Lange, Author Cambridge University Press $29.99 (269p) ISBN 978-0-521-46624-0
De Lange, a rabbi, author and translator who is a Reader in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Cambridge University, has written this remarkably comprehensive analysis of Jews and Judaism. While some of his comments reflect his vantage point as an Englishman, he is fully aware of developments in America and Israel. The book opens with an acutely perceptive review of the contemporary situation of Jews throughout the world, followed by a brief but thorough treatment of Jewish history in which the author focuses on past and present threats to Jewish survival. He then considers Jewish books, Jewish religion, family, community, God and the Jews and the question of what it takes to be a good Jew. The book concludes with ""some tentative predictions"" about the Jewish future that confront the ""bleak demographic"" picture often predicted. De Lange identifies problems of religious pluralism, especially in Israel, and examines the issue of Jewish feminism in light of postmodern efforts to push the boundaries of Jewish theology. De Lange's system for categorizing his topics results in some overlapping; for example, Jewish books crop up in several chapters although one chapter is entirely dedicated to this subject, and de Lange's treatment of Jewish holidays is repetitive. Nevertheless, de Lange has clearly satisfied his objective, offering an overall introduction to Judaism that will be useful to both Jewish and non-Jewish readers, if they can get past the hefty price tag. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-521-46073-6
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