One of the many points of feedback that we’ve gotten during the World Congress of Jewish Studies, going on now in Jerusalem, is that it would be nice if we also posted some of what we posted on our Facebook page to the blog as well. In that spirit, here’s a list of some of the important Hebrew publications that came out over the past week or two.
Chaim Milikowsky, Seder Olam: Critical Edition, Commentary, And Introduction, Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi Press, 2013. Milikowsky’s edition comes at the conclusion of more than thirty years of research into this unusual midrash work. In the words of one blogger:
This work is incredible on all fronts; in depth and breadth, touching upon anything related to the Seder Olam. It appears that literally every letter of this Tannaitic work has been dealt with. In addition to the scholarly acumen invested in the introduction and commentary, this work serves as an excellent model for preparing critical editions of works of Chazal.
Elisha Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Hebrew Writings, Volume Two, Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi Press, 2013. Elisha Qimron is one of the most well-known editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This volume is the second in a three-part series of his that seeks to provide high quality and affordable editions of the Hebrew works found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. While the first volume was dedicated to the longer works (“longer,” in the sense that they have survived better), this one contains some of the shorter ones. Although all of these works have been published before, the importance of this volume cannot be understated. First, editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls of similar quality are usually priced much higher. Second, Qimron has provided dozens, if not hundreds of new readings in these volumes (one of which I hope to blog about on another occasion). Talmudists will be especially pleased to now have an affordable edition of 4QMMT.
Menachem Kahana et al. eds., “l’Yaacov Minkha hi Shlukhah”: Kovetz Maamarim Mugash l’Professor Yaacov Sussman (Tarbitz 71). A phenomenal cast of scholars, for the most part made up of students of Yaacov Sussman, have come together to put together what looks like a fitting festschrift. It’s exciting to see contributions from scholars outside of the normal Jerusalem orbit (Boyarin). But the volume is priced like a yearlong subscription to Tarbitz at 286 NIS. For a single paperback volume, this seems like way too much. By way of comparison, the two volume festschrift for Galit Hasan-Rokem that came out about a month ago is sold for 120 NIS and has more than twice as many contributions.
Mira Balberg, Gateway to Rabbinic Literature, Raanana: The Open University of Israel, 2013. At first, skimming through this book during panels at the congress left me with the impression that Hebrew readers will finally have something like Strack and Stemberger’s Einleitung, although the more I read, the more I see that Balberg’s is unlike any other book currently on the market in any language. This is the book that I wish I had when I first developed an interest in the academic study of Talmud. Balberg provides a lucid introduction to the rabbinic concept of Oral Law, the works and genres of rabbinic literature and their Sitz im Leben, and the main issues that the academic communities in Israel and abroad are currently grappling with. Beyond serving as an introduction, this book will also be of great benefit to scholars as a reference work.
Christian Stadel, The Morphosyntax of Samaritan Aramaic, Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 2013. Okay, I’ll admit, this is more of a specialist’s kind of book. But still, it should be of great help to anyone trying to navigate the important early Samaritan stuff or improve their JPA.
New issues of Sidra and Ginzei Qedem are now out. The English table of contents to Sidra 27-28 is available here. This issue has an extensive (83 pp.) article by David Henshke on blessings over Mitsvot, and, in what is becoming a Sidra hallmark, a back-and-forth-and-back between Mordechai Sabato and other members of the Bar-Ilan Talmud department. The TOC of the new Ginzei Qedem (9) can be viewed here.