Classics of Western Spirituality
An appealing contribution to the Classics of Western Spirituality, Jeffrey Rubenstein has translated
stories from the main works of classical rabbinic literature that were produced by Jewish sages between 200-600 C.E.
The narratives include stories, legends, anecdotes and other traditions that relate to basic rabbinic values and practical concerns -
charity, good deeds, marriage and children; and those that address important theological question, including suffering, theodicy, atonement
and story of Torah.
Each story is accompanied by a brief analysis of the story's principal themes, meaning and literary character, while accompanying notes
explain technical terms and references. In addition, to underscore the oral nature of the stories, the author offers translations of several versions
of the same story, showing how later versions are more embellished and elaborate.
The book treats the rabbinic stories not as accurate history, but as didactic fictions that model character, teach virtue and provide lessons.
There is no standard corpus of rabbinic stories available, says Rubenstein, and therefore this volume is a unique resource for coursesMbr< on Judaism and rabbinic culture, comparative religions and religious narrative.
Anyone interested in Jewish culture, early Christianity, folklore and Late Antique culture will find it to be fascinating reading as well