In this ambitious work, British Liberal Rabbis Goldberg and Rayner seek to encompass the history, sacred literature,...

READ REVIEW

THE JEWISH PEOPLE: Their History and Their Religion

In this ambitious work, British Liberal Rabbis Goldberg and Rayner seek to encompass the history, sacred literature, theology, and religious practices of Judaism. At times, however, their aim--to explain how a shared religious life unites all Jews--does battle against the complex realities of Jewish life. After presenting a thorough history of Judaism from Abraham up to the establishment of modern Israel, the authors go on to discuss Judaic literature--the Bible, apocryphal writings, Rabbinic writings, and selected post-Talmudic works--and then examine Judaism's views regarding God's attributes and relationship to the world, human destiny, and the particular task of the Jewish people. Finally, they describe Judaic religious practices and the ethical and devotional bases for these practices. All this is rendered with clarity and erudition, effectively blending modern scholarship and religious piety. But the British orientation of the authors, which sees a division of Judaism into only Liberal and Orthodox, fails to take into account the subtler, more numerous divisions that exist in American Jewry--the Conservative movement, for example--and thus oversimplifies an extant complexity (the same error repeated in the discussion of Zionism). Despite its overreach, a useful and accomplished survey of, and introduction to, Judaism.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987