Friday, June 17, 2011

And more new books

Matthew Morgenstern's long-awaited book on Babylonian Jewish Aramaic has been published. BJA is the language of the Babylonian Talmud and other related works including the writings of the Babylonian Geonim, and Morgenstern's work is based on careful use of many manuscripts. Hence the title of the book: Studies in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic based upon Early Eastern Manuscripts.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More new books

Another new book, in English and therefore not on sale at the Hebrew Book Week but nevertheless newly published in Israel and imminently available in the US as well, is Et Le'ehov: The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy. Published by Geffen and available for pre-order on Amazon here. It's a sex manual for engaged and newly married religious Jewish couples. Such couples face many of the confusing, bemusing and sometimes very difficult situations that any new couple can face, and also many situations that are culturally more unique. This book is a frank attempt to address those situations, without compromising religious or clinical standards. It was written jointly by Drs Jennie Rosenfeld and David Ribner. One of the authors has a son-in-law who learned in yeshivah with me. The other author is rather more closely related to me.
Order your copy now - if not for you, then for someone you know!

New books

Obviously, this is the season for new books in Israel. Tevunot has released a new volume that I think is very important and useful. The book is titled 'Introduction to the Midrashic Literature', and in Hebrew - מבוא למדרשים. The author is Anat Reizel, a doctoral student at Ben Gurion University who recently finished her MA at Hebrew University with Avigdor Shinan. Her MA thesis dealt with Midrash Eikhah Zuta.
The book, with more than 400 pages, covers all of the major and most of the minor midrashim. For each midrash, Anat reviews the state of research on questions like provenance and text. For each one she provides one or two nice examples of midrashic technique. She also provides bibliographic information on editions and studies.
Earlier versions of some of the chapters can be found here - there's a tab in the sidebar labelled 'Mavo la-Midrashim'.

Reizel's introduction to the midrashim is available now at the Tevunot stand at Shavua ha-Sefer for only 60 shekels. It's also available online for 80 shekels.

Disclosure: the author is an old friend of mine, and I helped a little with the bibliographic aspects of the book. That said, I have no doubt that this is one of the most helpful tools for students and scholars of Midrash to appear in a while. Without purporting to contain original discoveries, it presents a great deal of pertinent information that anyone dealing with the gamut of midrashic literature need but rarely know offhand.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Valmadonna catalogue

The Valmadonna Trust Library, which by now is surely the most famous private collection of Hebrew books in the world, has sponsored several catalogues and studies of different aspects of the collection. A new volume has now been published, devoted to the incunabula and other rare printings. These include books printed on vellum, on coloured paper and on silk. Besides listing the holdings of the library, the volume includes studies of these different types of books by some of the leading Hebrew bibliographers of our times. Adrian Offenberg contributed an essay on the incunabula, Yitshak Yudelov summed up what is known about Hebrew printing on vellum, and Brad Sabin Hill studied printing on colour paper (I remember first seeing books with blue paper in the late lamented Yeshurun library). The editor was David Sclar.
The volume was printed in 300 copies and is available at shmintz@gmail.com or custodian.valmadonna@idcholdings.com.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Sperber conference

Bar Ilan University is holding a conference on Monday to mark the retirement of Prof. Daniel Sperber. The first session is devoted to topics in Hazal and late Antiquity, while the second session is on medieval and modern times.