Essential Torah: A Complete Guide to the Five Books of Moses

George Robinson, Author . Schocken $35 (593p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4186-0

When New York film critic Robinson began attending synagogue—something he had not done since his adolescence—he found himself confused. His vain search for a printed guide led him to write Essential Judaism , a well-received primer on Jewish customs, rituals, history and worship. The success of that one-volume handbook to Jewish practice in turn led Robinson to produce this manual on the Torah and what Jews believe. Writing in colloquial and accessible English, Robinson effectively, and sometimes entertainingly, shows why the five books of Moses constitute the basis for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Drawing on a dazzling array of sources, he provides an overview of the Torah, tackles the question of who wrote it, explores the commentaries, confronts the suppression of women's voices and bravely tackles what Bible scholars have labeled "troubling texts." Despite his valiant and informative effort, Robinson joins the ranks of his many predecessors in failing to find a satisfactory resolution to some of these disturbing stories. The second half of the book contains summaries of the 54 Torah portions, along with Robinson's useful commentaries. This book is a stellar achievement in which a gifted and diligent author guides readers of all faiths to a source book for religious belief and behavior. (Oct. 31)

Reviewed on: 08/28/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 461 pages - 978-0-307-48437-6
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