Thursday, January 05, 2017

Kanarek and Lehman (eds.), Learning to Read Talmud

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Learning to Read Talmud: Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy (Jane Kanarek and Marjorie Lehman). Excerpt:
... Our book, Learning to Read Talmud: What It Looks Like and How It Happens, presents a series of eight focused classroom studies written by professors of talmudic literature who were asked to respond to two questions:

1. What does it mean to read Talmud in your particular classroom?

2. What does this reading look like when it happens?


In this vein, these case studies reflect a range of North American contexts, from rabbinical seminaries to secular universities. Together, they reveal that learning to read Talmud is a complex and multivalent endeavor. It involves the mastery of base-line skills: learning the technical terminology and the dialogical style of argument for which the Talmud is well-known. But, learning to read the Talmud—whether in its original language or in translation—also involves competencies in several cognitive processes: breaking a sugya into much smaller units in order to rebuild sense; simultaneously considering multiple answers as possible; viewing problems as integral to the text; integrating the ahistorical with the historical; becoming conscious of and rethinking prior religious, cultural and historical assumptions in the face of new evidence; learning to think with a different mode of reasoning; building bridges between the ancient and the contemporary; and confronting unethical, even unfriendly texts.
This looks extraordinarily useful. Cross-file under New Book (Academic Studies Press).