Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sarah Laughed: modern lessons from the wisdom and stories of Biblical women
by Vanessa L. Ochs, Published by McGraw-Hill, 235 pages, Purchase
Summary in a sentence: University of Virginia religion professor retells the stories of Old Testament matriarchs such as Eve, Sarah, Leah and others in fresh and creative ways that help today's women rediscover their ancient wisdom and insights.
Why you should read it: Assuming you want to learn from the past, this book does a good job of humanizing heroes into terms we can understand.
Why you might be turned off: Assuming you want your Biblical literacy to be written by a rabbi and published by Feldheim, then this is not your cup of tea.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Talmud
by Rabbi Parry Aaron, Published by Alpha Books, 345 pages, Purchase
Summary in a sentence: If you thought the Torah was heady stuff, try the Talmud that comments on it, but worry not for an idiot's guide is here.
Why you should read it: The truth is the Torah is only half the picture, and much of Jewish insight is contained in the rabbinical commentaries on our sacred scrolls. For that reason alone, you should get into Talmudic study, but it's not easy. An idiot's guide couldn't hurt.
Why you might be turned off: You might, just maybe, even if only a little bit, think of yourself as something better than an idiot. Your elitist tendencies and egotism run amok will likely prevent you from stooping to publicly peruse from the pages of an idiot's guide.

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