Louis Ginsberg was born in Lithuania and later moved to New York. He is considered to be a leading Talmudists in the 20th century. Ginsberg believed in Halakha. Halakha is a body of Jewish law including biblical law, Talmudic law, and rabbinic law. Judaism does not distinguish between religious and non-religious law. Legends of the Jews is a multi volume set encompassing hundreds of legends and parables from the Hebrew Bible. Midrash is the retelling of Bible stories where moralistic stories are alongside mythical tales of magic and demons. This reference work is a good source for unanswered Biblical questions and the source of post Biblical stories not contained in the Bible.
The notes for Volumes One and Two tell where legends appear and reappear, where versions differ and where they contradict each other. When legends have been the subject of learned interpretation or debate, Ginzberg provides guidance to the commentaries and disputants; when the legends are part of a larger controversy, he provides context.
To this day Legends of the Jews remains a most remarkable and comprehensive compilation of stories connected to the Hebrew Bible. It is an indispensable reference on that body of literature known as Midrash, the imaginative retelling and elaboration on Bible stories in which mythological tales about demons and magic co-exist with moralistic stories about the piety of the patriarchs. Legends is the first book to which one turns to learn about the postbiblical understanding of a biblical episode, or to discover the source for biblical legends that cannot be traced directly to the Bible. It is also the first place to find the answers to such questions as: on what day was Abraham born; what was Moses' physical appearance, or what was the name of Potiphar's wife. Launched in 1901 by The Jewish Publication Society, the original project began as a single volume of 1,000 pages but grew much larger by 1938, when the seventh volume containing the indexes was finally published. Louis Ginzberg was 28 years old when Henrietta Szold, secretary of the Society, prepared the contract for what was conceived as a small, popular volume on Jewish legends. As the scion of two distinguished rabbinical families, Ginzberg studied in the great Lithuanian yeshivot of Telz and Slobodka. Later he received his secular education at Strassburg and Heidelberg universities. This combination of religious and secular learning enabled him to pursue with great passion the wide-ranging roots of Jewish legend. Ginzberg believed that Jewish legend was both earlier and greater than what was represented in the Talmud and midrashic collections--the primary Rabbinic sources. And so he scoured Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Oriental sources to rediscover the fine threads of Jewish legend. The result was a masterpiece: a single, coherent collection of legends that follows the biblical narrative, accompanied by detailed notes that reveal a complex subtext of often intersecting and multi-layered levels of influence, borrowed notions, and interpretive commentaries. Four new indexes and a new introduction by David Stern, Professor of Postbiblical and Medieval Hebrew Literature, and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, complete the reissue of one of the greatest classics of modern Jewish literature.
The masterpiece of one of the preeminent Talmudic scholars of the 20th century, the multivolume Legends of the Jews gathers together stories from the Talmud, the Midrash, the Bible, and oral traditions-also known as the Haggada-and offers them in chronological order. Volume V, first published in 1925, features tales of The Creation of the World, Adam, The Ten Generations, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, the Sons of Jacob, Job, and Moses in Egypt. A work of brilliant erudition and deep devotion, this is an invaluable collection of religious lore. American rabbi LOUIS GINZBERG (1873-1953) founded the American Academy of Jewish Research and was a prolific contributor to the Jewish Encyclopedia.
"It is a a book to which both scholars will turn and the layman will read with quite as much interest; and we can even imagine children of fair capacity delighting in the fairy tales, so to speak, which have come out of this, to English readers, new treasure house of Jewish fancy. One thing is impressed in all the fantastic overlay: that Jewish legends differentiate themselves from others in that they find their inspiration in the Bible and in reflection about God and the relation of man to Him. Professor Ginzberg has done an original and far-reaching service in collating and revivifying for us the more imaginative side of Jewish thought." -American Jewish Year Book "This is the first of four volumes of 'Legends of the Jews,' which will form an important contribution to the legend literature of the nation. The first three volumes are to reproduce all the legends in Jewish literature connected with Bible times and characters. Volume I covers the period from the Creation to Jacob; Volume II will treat of all incidents in the lives of Joseph and Moses; Volume III will cover the period form Joshua to Esther; Volume IV will be devoted to an exhaustive treatment of the subject of Jewish legends in the form of a general introduction and of excursuses connected with the notes on each chapter." -The Bookman "The work is translated from the German manuscript and is done with unusual care; rarely, indeed, does a translation carry the author's precise meaning into such good form. Ginzberg's book is a notable one. The mass of Jewish legends is enormous. They are often trivial and worthless, but they also often contain matter as significant and valuable as that occurring in the recognized canonical books. There are two ways in which these legends may be presented to the student. The one, more common and far easier, is to present the legends themselves as they have come down to us from their many sources; this has been done repeatedly by both Jewish and Christian writers. Far more difficult is the method pursued by Ginzberg; he does not present the legends themselves, but works through them to secure their essence, carefully arranges and correlates the results, and then presents them in a continuous narrative, in which literary form, interesting style and accuracy are all sought. Such a work calls for a scholarship of exceptional depth and a broad grasp of a clearly marked field....Ginzberg's work should find a hearty reception among English readers. Christian clergymen will find it as useful as Jewish workers, and students of comparative mythology and folk-lore cannot dispense with it." -The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal CONTENTS PREFACE I. THE CREATION OF THE WORLD II. ADAM III. THE TEN GENERATIONS IV. NOAH V. ABRAHAM VI. JACOB
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Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion begins the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the first volume in Folktales of the Jews, the five-volume series to be released over the next several years, in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg's classic, Legends of the Jews. The 71 tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives, Named in Honor of Dov Noy, The University of Haifa (IFA), a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now. Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context. Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Sephardic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This volume and the others to come will be monuments to a rich but vanishing oral tradition.
Legends of the Jews is a most remarkable and comprehensive compilation of stories connected to the Hebrew Bible. It is an indispensable reference on that body of literature known as Midrash, the imaginative retelling and elaboration on Bible stories in which mythological tales about demons and magic co-exist with moralistic stories about the piety of the patriarchs.
Includes all four Volumes. This is a massive collation of the Haggada; the traditions which have grown up surrounding the Biblical narrative. These stories and bits of layered detail are scattered throughout the Talmud and the Midrash, as well as in oral traditions. In the 19th century Ginzberg undertook the task of arranging the Haggada into chronological order, and this series of volumes was the result.