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Publisher's Summary

The authors reached back into history to understand the reasons and methods brilliant rabbis and Talmudic scholars abandoned the Holy Land, both physically and spiritually, to settle in what came to be known as the lands of the Diaspora. This dramatic exodus was contrary to the biblical injunction that all Jews must live in the land of Israel. The Battle of the Two Talmuds explains in great detail how the Babylonian scholars created their own interpretation of the Torah that grew to take precedence over that of the Jerusalem scholars. This book shows that all human beings are subject in various ways to power, glory, and guilt. It was power, glory, and guilt that has effected the tradition and scholarship of Judaism for the past 2,000 years. The reader learns how these qualities intertwined in a positive way to make Judaism an enduring and vibrant religion.

©2010 Leon H. Charney (P)2010 Leon H. Charney

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dig deeper into the long history of Judaism

During sermons, worshippers will often hear from the rabbi the words, “And the Talmud says…” The Bible may lay down the laws, but the Talmud, comprised of oral law based on ancient practices, provides a guideline for how to apply these laws. However, many of these worshippers may be surprised to learn there was once a struggle between two competing Talmuds after rabbis and Talmudic scholars abandoned the Holy Land to make their way in what came to be known as the land of the Diaspora.

The book explains how these Babylonian scholars created their own interpretation of the Torah that grew to take precedence over the Jerusalem scholars and how these scholars justified ignoring the biblical injunction that Jews must live in the land of Israel as well as their appropriation of religious rule.

It’s a fascinating book, I enjoyed listening to it multiple times. I would recommend this to everyone that’s interested in the history of Judaism.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacobus
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 09-25-13

Should Jews return to the Holy Land?

Saul Mayzlish and Leon H Charney gives an overview of how the two Talmudim, the Bavli and the Yerushalmi, came into existence. For most part it seems to be and excellent overview of these two books.

Furthermore George Guidall does a superb job of reading the book.

I found the prejudice in the latter part of this book towards the Talmud Yerushalmi a bit disappointing. I could not help to suspect an 'religious-political' agenda which sings the praises of the Talmud Yerushalmi over against the Bavli, just because the Yerushalmi propagates a literal an physical return to the country of Israel. It didn't convince me.

What I do appreciate about the book is the interesting tit bits about how the two Talmudim developed. I found it especially interesting that the Yerushalmi only has one extant manuscript in which it is preserved.

Maybe, because I am not Jewish, a lot of this book's significance might have passed me by. It is definitely biased, yet interesting.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Accurate, unbiased and very informative

What did you love best about Battle of the Two Talmuds?

At first i was afraid this was going to be a scholarly, semi-atheist / reform approach to the talmud, but the quality is great. It's also very informative and has plenty of tales to keep you entertained.

Now about the subject matter.... it is indeed an attractive theory.

Worth a listen even for the orthodox (like myself)!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The history of rabbinic Judaism

An amazing history read by the best reader I had to remind myself - a s I listens - that the reader was not the author

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Wanted it to be better

Any additional comments?

This book was worth the time and money, but it could have been so much better. I didn't mind the narration that much, but at times it was bothersome. The content could have been organized much better. At times it was difficult to follow along. It contained plenty of information and details. I can walk away saying that I learned from this book, so I don't regret it at all.

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  • Omotola Alade
  • 12-05-16

poor book

insightful but disjointed and not particularly interesting. id recommend for just the history points which were very valid

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