Introduction to the Talmud

Barry-Scott-Wimpfheimer

Associate Professor Barry Scott Wimpfheimer (Northwestern University) is the instructor for an online course (MOOC) on the Talmud, commencing April 18, 2016. The course is called “The Talmud: A Methodological Introduction“, and may be taken either at certificate level (for US$50) or audited for free.

The Talmud is one of the richest and most complicated works of literature the world has ever known. Since being composed around 1500 years ago it has inspired not only religious reverence but significant intellectual engagement. In this course learners will be introduced to the unique characteristics of this text and the challenges that inhere in studying it while studying a chapter of the Talmud. Students of the course can expect to develop an appreciation for how the Talmud works and why it continues to inspire religious and intellectual devotion. They will be challenged to employ critical reading skills and to analyze legal and historical concepts.

Enroll online here.

 

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Daniel Boyarin: Enoch or Jesus? The Quest of the Historical Metatron

Professor Daniel Boyarin (University of California, Berkeley) presents the 2016 Shaffer Lecture in Theology, at Yale Divinity School, in three parts, on March 8, 9, and 10. The topic of his series is “Enoch or Jesus? The Quest of the Historical Metatron”.

In the series, Professor Boyarin furthers his defence of the ancient roots of a greater and subordinate second god within Judaism, the “two powers in heaven”. In the lectures, he lays out the development of a complex binitarian theology in both early Judaism and early Christianity. He also disagrees with Peter Schäfer.

While there is nearly incontrovertible evidence for the interchange between Christian and Jewish circles in late antiquity, there is also good evidence for the circulation of apocalyptic traditions among Jews through the rabbinic period, independent of specific Christian contexts.

  • Daniel Boyarin, 2016 Shaffer Lecture 1, 23:55ff

Lecture 1 (March 8, 2016)

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Lecture 2 (March 9, 2016)

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Lecture 3 (March 10, 2016)

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Lee Levine: The Passover Seder – Jewish, Christian Or Pagan

Professor Lee Levine (Hebrew University) delivered a talk on “The Passover Seder – Jewish, Christian Or Pagan“. The lecture was part of the Orange County Community Scholars Program (OCCSP), podcasted July 5, 2004.

The talk is available in m4a audio format:

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Jon D. Levenson on the Akedah / Sacrifice of Isaac

Professor Jon D. Levenson (Harvard Divinity School) delivered three talks on the Akedah, or sacrifice of Isaac, in Genesis 22, as part of the Orange County Community Scholars Program (OCCSP).

The talks are available in m4a audio format:

Midrash: What Bothered the Rabbis In Genesis 22 (July 8, 2008)

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The Afterlife of the Story In Judaism (With A Glance At Christianity & Islam, Too) (July 9, 2008)

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The Artistry of Genesis 22 (July 11, 2008)

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Reclaiming Jewish History – Colloquium 1997, International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism

The 1997 Colloquium for the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism (IISHJ) included a number of presentations on the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism. These are now available on YouTube:

Carol Meyers, “Origins of Ancient Israel”

Panel response to Carol Meyers

William Propp, “Origins of the Bible”

Panel response to William Propp

Eric Meyers, “From the Maccabees to the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Panel response to Eric Meyers

Ari Elon, “Origins of the Halakha”

Panel response to Ari Elon

James Kugel: “Judaism: An Odd Sort of Religion of Laws”

James Kugel delivers a lecture on how Judaism got to be the way it is, a religion centrally concerned with laws, entitled “Judaism: An Odd Sort of Religion of Laws”. The lecture, delivered on on April 12, 2010, was the eighth Joseph S. Gruss Lecture and marked the Inauguration of The Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization, New York University Law School.

Robert Henry Charles – Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English

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Robert Henry Charles’s classic edited collection of translations of Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (1913) is made available by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL).

Another copy is available on Internet Archive: vol 1 and vol 2.

Although somewhat superseded by James Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (1983-85) and Bauckham, Davila, and Panayotov’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures 1 (2013), the translations in Charles’s edited volumes are still regularly used and referred to.

Volume 1: The Apocrypha of the Old Testament

Historical Books
Esdras (Cook)
1 Maccabees / William O.E. Oesterley
2 Maccabees / James Moffatt
3 Maccabees (Emmet)

Quasi-historical Books Written with a Moral Purpose
Tobit (Simpson)
Judith (Cowley)

Wisdom Literature
Sirach / George H. Box and William O.E. Oesterley
Wisdom of Solomon (Holmes)

Additions to and Completions of the Canonical Books
1 Baruch (Whitehouse)
Epistle of Jeremy [Jeremiah] (Ball)
Prayer of Manasses [Manasseh] (Ryle)
Additions to Daniel
Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Children (Bennett)
Susanna (Kay)
Bel and the Dragon (Witton Davies)
Additions to Esther (Gregg)

Volume 2: The Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament

Primitive History Rewritten from the Standpoint of the Law
The Book of Jubilees / Robert Henry Charles

Sacred Legends
The Letter of Aristeas (Andrews)
The Books of Adam and Eve (Wells)
The Martyrdom of Isaiah (Charles)

Apocalypses
1 Enoch (Charles)
The Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs (Charles)
The Sibylline Oracles (Lanchester)
The Assumption of Moses (Charles)
2 Enoch, or the Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Forbes and Charles)
2 Baruch, or the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (Charles)
3 Baruch, or the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch (Hughes)
Ezra (Box)

Psalms
The Psalms of Solomon (Gray)

Ethics and Wisdom Literature
4 Maccabees (Townshend)
Pirke Aboth (Herford)
The Story of Achikar [Ahikar] (Harris, Lewis, Conybeare)

History
The Fragments of a Zadokite Work [Cairo Damascus Document] (Charles)

James Kugel at Pardes Institute on ‘Has Modern Scholarship Killed the Bible’?

The third annual Hershdorfer-Kantrowitz-Brettler Lecture Series at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in 2012 was presented by James Kugel on the topic of ‘Has Modern Biblical Scholarship Killed the Bible?’

Lecture 1 (January 4, 2012): ‘The Very Beginnings of Biblical Interpretation’

Lecture 2 (January 11, 2012): ‘The Book of Jubilees: the Oldest Commentary on the Book of Genesis’

Lecture 3 (January 18, 2012): ‘The Rise of Modern Biblical Scholarship’

Lecture 4 (January 25, 2012): ‘Has Modern Biblical Scholarship Killed the Bible?’

Why Study? University of Nottingham Video Series

The Why Study Theology and Religious Studies? series from the University of Nottingham contains various contributions from biblical studies. These include:

Why Study the Didache? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study Early Christianity? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study Orality? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study the Protoevangelium of James? with Tom O’Loughlin

Why Study Rabbinic Judaism? with Holger Zellentin

Why Study Rudolf Bultmann? with Henri Gagey

Why Study Paul’s Letter to the Romans? with Richard Bell

Why Study the Death of Jesus in Paul? with Richard Bell

Why Study St Paul and Israel? with Richard Bell

Why Study the Hebrew Bible? with Carly Crouch

Why Study Prophecy? with Carly Crouch

Why Study Biblical Warfare? with Carly Crouch

Why Study Jesus Christ? with Roland Deines

Why Study the Pharisees? with Roland Deines

Why Study James of Jerusalem? with Roland Deines

Why Study the Old Testament alongside the New? with Margaret Barker

Why Study Hebrew? with Peter Watts

Early Jewish Writings (Peter Kirby)

Peter Kirby’s website Early Jewish Writings provides online translations and short commentary for many texts, including Hebrew Bible/Old Testament texts, other early Jewish texts, Philo, Josephus, and the Talmud.

The online translations are, in the main, older and out-of-copyright (yet still very useful) renditions, and the website provides references for newer translations which are available offline.