Item description for Torah: A Modern Commentary; Pulpit Edition by W. Gunther Plaut & Bernard J. Bamberger...
The Torah: A Modern Commentary is a one-volume edition of the Five Books of Moses, complete with the Hebrew text; English translations; commentaries and essays; notes and references; and gleanings from talmudic sources and the writings of scholars, ancient and modern.
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Studio: Urj Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 13.41" Width: 10.6" Height: 3.15" Weight: 9.97 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 1998
Publisher Urj Press
ISBN 0807402869 ISBN13 9780807402863
Availability 0 units.
More About W. Gunther Plaut & Bernard J. Bamberger
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut (1912-2012) was a longtime rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. The author of more than twenty books on Jewish theology, history, and culture, he is best known for The Torah: A Modern Commentary. Rabbi Jacob K. Shankman (1904-86) was the rabbi of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, New York, and a leader in Reform Judaism. Rabbi Howard A. Berman is the executive director of the Society for Classical Reform Judaism. He lectures at congregations throughout the United States on behalf of the society and teaches regularly at Hebrew Union College. Rabbi David Ellenson is chancellor and past president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and is the author of Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice: Studies in Tradition and Modernity (JPS, 2014).
W. Gunther Plaut lived in Toronto. W. Gunther Plaut was born in 1912 and died in 2012.
W. Gunther Plaut has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Torah: A Modern Commentary; Pulpit Edition?
Good history, but a religious disappointment Jan 27, 1999
The translation is good, based on the latest scholarship. The commentary is extensive, and from a historical point of view, illuminating. But from a religious point of view this book is, in most places, a deep disappointment. While Plaut offers this as a book for religious Reform Jews, it spends most of its time disparaging the laws in the Torah as outdated anachonisims that have no place in the lives of Jews today. Those Jews on the more traditional side of the Reform movement - or anyone at all in Conservative Judaism - will be disappointed to learn that the introduction spends a great deal of time trying to show how God has little or nothing to do with the Bible, nor for that matter does Moses.
While I aprreciate the editor's correct impulse in comabtting the extreme claims from religious fundamentalism, I do not understand why the response was go totally in the other direction (religious abandonment). Of course, I do not find the Ultra-Orthodox Torah commentaries (such as The Stone/Artscroll Torah, by Mesorah) to be any better. While Plaut's Reform commentary commits the sin of abandoning Judaism by worshipping archaeology, the Artscroll books commit the sin of intellectual dishonesty by abandoning - and denigrating - all archaeology, history and linguistics. If I had to make a choice, I'd say that Plaut's book is better than Artscroll books.
But we do not have to make that choice: So where can one go for an authentic Torah commentary that is deeply religious, yet non fundamentalist; one based on adherence to the latest scholarship, as well as traditional Jewish commentary? I would suggest the five volume JPS Torah Commentray series, published by the Jewish Publication Society. (2 Volumes by Nahum Sarna, 1 by Jeffrey Tigay, 1 by Baruch Levine and 1 by Jacob Milgrom). Used by Modern Orthodox, Reform and Conservative Jews, this is the set for a serious student of Torah to have. If one wanted a one volume Torah /Pentateuch commentary, I would get "The Pentateuch and Haftorahs" by Dr. Joseph H. Hertz or "The Chumash" by A. Cohen. (Also note that an affordable, one volume edition of the 5 vol. JPS set is due to be published by the Conservative movement in about 2 years)