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Beginnings of Judaism Lecture

Beginnings of Judaism

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Publisher's Summary

For thousands of years, Jews have looked to the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament by Christians, for their origins, and have located in them the tenets of their faith. However, much of what is recognized today as Judaism does not appear in the Bible. How did Judaism develop from its biblical roots to the highly developed system we know today? What has changed - and what has remained constant? In this series of 24 spirited and provocative lectures, Professor Gafni investigates how the Jewish faith struggled to continually redefine itself during the first thousand years after the completion of the last books of the Hebrew Bible, tenaciously clinging to existence through circumstances that might well have torn it asunder.

The two landmark events that altered Jewish history forever were the two destructions of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This sacred place was first destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., and, after having been rebuilt 70 years later, was razed once again by the Romans in 70 C.E., after the Jews waged a fierce uprising against Roman rule in the province of Judea.

The events surrounding these destructions lie at the heart of understanding Judaism. As you explore the evolution of an ancient faith into a system of beliefs, practices, and laws recognizable today as Judaism, you'll discover a tradition of vigorous and joyous debate - where reinterpretation coexists with profound acceptance of the original instructions from God regarding the practice of faith.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (84 )
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4.6 (78 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stanley Jungleib 06-21-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Gafni is Music"

    Detail with expression. Argument with passion. Focusing on the difficult, late transitional period with minimal overlap on other offerings.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 07-03-14
    David United States 07-03-14 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Four Stars Is a Reccomendation From Me"
    Would you listen to Beginnings of Judaism again? Why?

    I have re-played a number of chapters already. Lots of very good info, competently presented.


    What does Professor Isaiah M. Gafni bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Very broad historical presentation.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Mostly.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the better religious presentations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CA Boynton Beach FL 02-10-17
    CA Boynton Beach FL 02-10-17 Member Since 2013

    paperless office maven

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What I Never Learned in Hebrew School"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Every post Bar Mitzvah age young Jewish adult should listen to this
    When I was a child going to Hebrew school 50+ years ago, we went over all of this in a hurry I never really understood how Judaism developed from a Temple with sacrifices, to a modern worldwide book based religion. I never understood how the Jews came to leave Israel and went out into the world and carried down their belief in one G-d. This really helped me to understand my background. I feel more a part of the Jewish community now that I've heard this. I am an assimilated American Jew. I only know my great grandparents arrived in the USA as part of the great Jewish migration in the 1880 s to escape the Progrums. I cannot trace my history back beyond that. I do not know exactly where my great grandparents came from other than somewhere in Eastern Europe. I do not have any idea how their ancestors got to Eastern Europe other than to presume they came from the Iberian Peninsula after the Inquisition or understood how the Jews left Israel and came to settle in all of the Mediterranean countries. I never knew how a belief in one all knowing G-d was carried down for 2500 years. I wish I had heard this when I was in college.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It greatly enhanced my understanding of my Jewish background and gave me some insist into how Christianity developed.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Isaiah M. Gafni’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    NO


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    N/A


    Any additional comments?

    NO

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip 03-28-15
    Philip 03-28-15 Member Since 2014

    Have found audiobooks to be a great way to pass time during long car road trips for work, and Audible makes it easy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely fascinating"
    Would you listen to Beginnings of Judaism again? Why?

    Yes I will likely listen to it again. If you're at all interested in how people groups interact and how events from thousands of years ago affect life and culture today, you'll enjoy this listen.


    Any additional comments?

    Well put together, thorough and riveting. A fascinating lecture series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel Kravetz Stoughton, MA USA 12-16-16
    Joel Kravetz Stoughton, MA USA 12-16-16 Member Since 2015

    Socrates student

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    "second temple history"

    I found this very interesting about Rabbinic period A good change from Biblical period.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 05-21-17
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 05-21-17 Member Since 2014

    Avid Listener of books at 1-1/2 times the normal speed. Trying to make up for all those boring high school teachers that could not reach me.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Judaism explained to the novice"

    I enjoyed these lectures very much. Isaiah Gafni brings these lectures to life. He has so much enthusiasm for his subject. I have listened to both of his lectures and I which he had one that delved in to the Old Testament. I would like the Jewish perspective to the Torah and the practices in the temple and deeper discussion of Abraham.
    Being an LDS Christian I found the lecter about Harold fascinating and I understand the politics of the time when Jesus was born. I also understand the dispersion of the Jews much more ands that they where still a very cohesive group.

    This lecture is well worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy D'Angelo North Providence, RI United States 08-08-15
    Tommy D'Angelo North Providence, RI United States 08-08-15 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Had its ups and downs"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Pluses:
    • Covered the Maccabees revolution and other historical events well
    • Proposed an interesting theme of how the Jewish should identify themselves: is it with their land or their religion?

    Minuses:
    • The professor’s talking style was somewhat jarring since his pauses in certain areas of a sentence makes it difficult for what he is saying to be conveyed and sink in


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fivepointfivesix 08-20-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too politically correct."

    Gafni's constant use of "CE" and "BCE" is so distracting that I had to return the book.

    When will these academics stop torturing us
    with their political correctness.

    No one is offended by BC and AD, so please get over yourself.

    3 of 22 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    London
    2/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very engaging and interesting "

    A fascinating course with an excellent teacher. Often in these Great Courses you get tired of hearing the same voice over the 24 lectures, but this was not the case here. The lecturer was engaging, humorous and a pleasure to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dr Ibrahim Nasr
    11/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good narration of the history of Judaism"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beginnings of Judaism to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    What other book might you compare Beginnings of Judaism to, and why?

    The Old Testiment, as it is more authenticated than this book


    What does Professor Isaiah M. Gafni bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    He made the subject alive and interesting


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Neither of these but I was interested to listen to the whole book without stop


    Any additional comments?

    There were some deliberate mistakes, in my opinion, but they did not affect the high level of accuracy I found in this book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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