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Legends of the Jews

Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg
By: (1873-1953)

Rabbi Louis Ginzberg was one of the outstanding Talmudists of the twentieth century. He was born on November 28, 1873, in Kovno, Lithuania; he died on November 11, 1953, in New York City. Ginzberg taught at the Jewish Theological seminary from 1903 to 1953. For 50 years, he trained two generations of Conservative Rabbis.

The Legends of the Jews is an epic 7-volume compilation of traditional Jewish stories loosely related to the Bible. Volumes 1-4 contain the stories, while volumes 5-7 contain Ginzberg’s notes and commentary. Over the millenia, these stories, which expand on the Bible, flesh out the lives of biblical figures. In the process, they help bring to life the Bible’s valuable lessons.

The Legends of the Jews has been called a monumental work of scholarship. It is studied by serious students of both Judaism and Christianity. And yet the stories continue to be accessible and understood by all. They were designed to impart lessons of the Torah, and any child or adult will find much to enjoy about this work.

First Page:

The Legends of the Jews Volume 1, by Louis Ginzberg THE LEGENDS OF THE JEWS

BY LOUIS GINZBERG

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN MANUSCRIPT BY

HENRIETTA SZOLD

VOLUME I

BIBLE TIMES AND CHARACTERS

FROM THE CREATION TO JACOB

TO MY BROTHER ASHER

PREFACE

Was sich nie und nirgends hat begeben, das allein veraltet nie.

The term Rabbinic was applied to the Jewish Literature of post Biblical times by those who conceived the Judaism of the later epoch to be something different from the Judaism of the Bible, something actually opposed to it. Such observers held that the Jewish nation ceased to exist with the moment when its political independence was destroyed. For them the Judaism of the later epoch has been a Judaism of the Synagogue, the spokesmen of which have been the scholars, the Rabbis. And what this phase of Judaism brought forth has been considered by them to be the product of the schools rather than the product of practical, pulsating life. Poetic phantasmagoria, frequently the vaporings of morbid visionaries, is the material out of which these scholars construct the theologic system of the Rabbis, and fairy tales, the spontaneous creations of the people, which take the form of sacred legend in Jewish literature, are denominated the Scriptural exegesis of the Rabbis, and condemned incontinently as nugae rabbinorum... Continue reading book >>


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