Michael Carasik – Medieval Jewish Commentary

Episode: I (Dru) remember my first encounter with ancient Jewish scholarship on the Torah. I’m embarrassed to say I was in my 30s doing a PhD when I got a paper accepted at a conference in Jerusalem. Going to Israel for the first time, I was surrounded by Jewish scholars discussing the philosophical notions in the Hebrew Bible, Mishnah, and Talmud. The Hebrew Bible I knew, but the Talmud and the likes were alien landscapes to me. At that moment, as if I didn’t already feel like an imposter scholar, I realized that there was a whole other world of understanding. I think it’s fair to say that Michael Carasik’s new translations of the medieval Jewish commentaries will go a long way towards exposing scholars to this whole other world. In this episode, Michael Carasik (pronounced like “Jurassic”) and I discuss the wonderful world of Jewish commentary and his translation of the medieval Jewish commentators.

Guest: Dr. Michael Carasik teaches Hebrew at the University of Pennsylvania. He also hosts a weekly podcast called Torah Talk, where he comments on the weekly Torah portion. He is the author of several books including Theologies of the Mind in Biblical Israel (Peter Lang, 2005); The Bible’s Many Voices (JPS, 2014), and the volume series we are discussing today: The Commentators’ Bible: Genesis: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedalot.
If you want to see PDF sample pages from Exodus, click HERE. This photo is from the Genesis commentary provided for this interview.

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3 thoughts on “Michael Carasik – Medieval Jewish Commentary

  1. Your link to _The Commentator’s Bible_ appears to be broken. Is it supposed to go to an amazon page?

    (Excellent episode, by the way… really enjoyed it and learned a lot!)


  2. Just wanted to correct something I said mistakenly in the interview (and I’ll be back if I hear anything else) …

    I said the additional reading in synagogues on Sabbath morning comes from “what Jews call the prophets, which is not the same as what Christians call the prophets … more or less from Joshua through Kings.” Jews DO call those books part of the Prophets section, but of course the books that are “prophetic” in a Christian Bible (excepting Lamentations and Daniel) are also part of that section and are sometimes read on Saturday mornings. Sorry not to have realized that those words came out wrong.


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