The Legends of the Jews Complete

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9781976006135: The Legends of the Jews Complete
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Louis Ginzberg's supreme compendium of Jewish legends, myths and ancient lore enliven and challenge readers to understand greatly the civilization behind the greatest prophecies and holy writings ever written.

A celebrated scholar of the Talmud, Torah and other holy texts, Louis Ginzberg distinguished himself as gifted in matters of holy lore from a young age. All four volumes of his rendition of the Judaic legends are contained in this excellent edition. They run as follows:

Volume One begins with the years of creation, detailing God's creation of the Earth and all the lands and creatures upon it. Man's creation, and the story of Adam and Eve, are duly related, as are the ten generations which separated Adam from Noah. The Great Flood, whereby Noah escaped the destruction by building his famous ark, is followed by the ten generation gap between Noah and Abraham, the patriach of Judaism. Finally we hear of the life of Jacob, who following drought would emigrate to Egypt with his family.

Volume Two, roughly corresponding with the Biblical Books of Exodus and Job, begins with the life and death of Joseph. His life and the lives of Jacob's sons - the founders of the Jewish tribes - are likewise told. The famous story of Job - a morally upstanding family man who suffers many misfortunes - is then related. Finally we hear the story of Moses and the conflict he arrives at with the Pharaoh.

Volume Three commences with Moses finally deciding to lead the Jews out of Egypt, the oppression of the Pharaoh having become too much to bear. After departing, the construction of the Tabernacle and the tumultuous events of the Year of Disfavor are detailed. The tale of the prophet Balaam, and his temptation with money from King Balak of Moab, is told. Finally, the volume concludes with the death of Moses.

Volume Four opens with the story of Joshua, who was the servant of Moses and one of the twelve spies who scouted the lands of Canaan at Moses' behest. Following the death of Joshua the tale of the Judges and of conflicts between the Israelites and Canaanites are told. The subsequent generations of Jewish society, including the great King Solomon, are hereafter related.

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As a young man, Louis Ginzberg emigrated from his native Russia to the United States. Initially aimless and unsure of his future, and deeply affected by the death of his pious father, it was after a few years as an emigre that study of Jewish history and the sacred texts proved a viable outlet. He proved a voracious and highly competent scholar and teacher, working at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and accepting an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.

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From the Publisher:

Launched in 1901 by The Jewish Publication Society, the original project began as a single volume of 1,000 pages but grew much larger by 1938, when the seventh volume containing the indexes was finally published.

Four new indexes and a new introduction by David Stein, Professor of Postbiblical and Medieval Hebrew Literature, and Dircetor of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, complete the reissue of one of the greatest classics of modern Jewish literature.

About the Author:

Louis Ginzberg was born in Kovno (now Kaunas), Lithuania, in 1873. He began his university studies in mathematics but eventually turned to the study of religion. His doctoral dissertation, which documented the survival of various Jewish elaborations of the Bible in the writings of the Church Fathers, prefigured his later work. He immigrated to America in 1899 and became a renowned Judaic scholar. He died in New York City in 1953.

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