“The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism” edited by David Biale and Jack Miles— An Intense Primer

Biale, David and Jack Miles (editors). “The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism”, W.W Norton, 2015.

An Intense Primer

Amos Lassen

I have been as Jew my entire life and while this statement does not say much, I feel compelled to say that I never finish studying about my religion. When I saw that Norton had published this volume, I was anxious to see it.

“The Norton Anthology of Religion” is made up of six volumes about the six major, living, international world religions and are edited by scholars under the direction of Pulitzer Prize–winner Jack Miles.” They us a flexible library of more than 1,000 primary texts from the world’s major religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Taken together, the volumes unite foundational works of works such as the Bhagavad-Gita, the Daode jing, the Bible, the Torah and the Qur’an with the writings of scholars, seekers, believers, and skeptics “whose voices have kept these religions vital for centuries”. The selections are supported by the meticulously prepared apparatus including introductions, explanatory annotations, bibliographies, maps, and glossaries.

“The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism” brings together over 300 texts from pre-Israelite Mesopotamia to post-Holocaust Israel and America. Jack Miles’s general introduction of “How the West Learned to Compare Religions” is illuminating as is David Biale’s “Israel among the Nations,” a fascinating primer on Jewish history and the core teachings of Judaism.

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