Bloomsbury
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Containing nearly two million words in 37 volumes, the Talmud covers topics as diverse as law, faith, medicine, magic, ethics, sex, humour and prayer. It is a highly complex, profoundly logical and frequently impenetrable work with a history like no other.

In its 1500 year history the Talmud has been banned, censored and burned, dissected by scholars and rabbis, probed by philosophers, poets, republicans and kings. In The Talmud A Biography, Jewish scholar Harry Freedman tells the engrossing story of an ancient classic, the legal and mystical pillar of Judaism and recounts the story of a book which, in many ways, parallels the history of the Jewish people.

From its origins as a record of discussions amongst scholars in towns and villages close to modern-day Baghdad, Freedman traces the spiralling paths of the Jewish diaspora and explores the story of the Talmuds early origins in Babylon, its role during the Enlightenment and its influence over traditional Judaism. A compelling fusion of law, storytelling and spirituality, the Talmuds story is a fascinating insight into the history of Judaism and Harry Freedmans The Talmud A Biography is a remarkable account of one of the most important cultural, historical and religious works of our time.

‘While the Talmud itself may be impenetrable for many, in The Talmud – A Biography: Banned, censored and burned. The book they couldn’t suppress, author Harry Freedman has written an engaging account of the book itself. For those who may be fascinated by the Talmud and at the same time intimidated by it, the book is a great resource that profiles what the Talmud is.’
Ben Rothke, The Times of Israel

‘Mr. Freedman writes with evocative brio….hits all the highlights’
Jeremy Dauber, Wall Street Journal

‘ An excellent outline of the Talmud’s troubled journey… Intriguing work.’
Harvey Belovski, Jewish Chronicle

‘A pithy, well informed, historical study’
Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald

‘Harry Freedman’s biography of this massive work is both excellent and appropriate to the Talmud’s stellar status’
Charles Middleburgh, Church Times