Conclusion: Is this new English translation of Strack and Billerbeck worth the investment? This is not a reference work for the casual reader, it is a major tool intended for the serious Bible student and scholar. For many, an English translation of Strack and Billerbeck opens up a new world of Rabbinic literature for the first time. In fact, it is very easy to open this book randomly and read something fascinating.That last sentence is an important caution.
Using Strack and Billerbeck can enhance one’s understanding of the Jewish background to Jesus, Paul, and the rest of the New Testament. But it is a tool which may lead to unintentional consequences and misreading the Rabbinic literature.
Volume 3 came out last year. I noted and commented on Phil's review of it here. The translation of volume 1 is not yet out. I have additional comments, bibliography, and links, on the use of rabbinic literature for the study of Second Temple Judaism here.
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