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Volume 9, No.1 Fall1990 111 Saadiah's treatment of the famous resurrection passage in chapter 19. He renders v. 25: "I know that the favored of God will survive" (the Hebrew text can only mean: "I know that my Redeemer lives") "and others after them will rise upon the soil" (the Hebrew is clearly: "and at the last He will stand upon the earth" ). Verse 26 he interprets as "And after my skin is corrupted, they will gather around this story of mine." This is a very strange way of rendering the Hebrew, which clearly means, "Yet from my flesh I shall see God." It is difficult to imagine why a rabbi so learned and accomplished as Saadiah could have maltreated this glorious passage in such a cavalier manner , even wiping out the name of God Himself in his desire to eliminate the clear statement of beyond-the-grave resurrection and confrontation with God. Dr. Goodman does his best to explain in a footnote the practice of free substitution of pronouns observable in Jewish liturgy. But he fails to cite any example which so completely perverts the sense and writes an entirely different text from that of the Tenach as it has been handed down to us by the Sopherim and the Massoretes. Despite this deviation from objective scholarship, I find in Saadiah a very perceptive analyst of the true teaching and message of the book of Job. I feel that tne work is of major importance for study, and will serve to deepen any student's understanding of, and appreciation for, the book of Job-a unique masterpiece in human literature which grapples with one of life's most serious problems in the area of theodicy. Gleason L. Archer Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Deerfield, Illinois The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition, edited by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. Random House, 1989. Reference Guide: 323 pp., $40.00. Vol. 1. Tractate Bava Metzia Part I: 247 pp., $40.00. The Talmud is like a circle. It has no beginning. No matter where you start to read it you are completely lost. Every page refers to something somewhere else in its nearly 2,500 double-sided pages. Furthermore, no page can be understood without reference to the voluminous commentary built up around it. And most of the Talmudic text is in Aramaic, a language that even those conversant in modern Hebrew have difficulty in understanding. It is no wonder that for more than a thousand years it has been considered a "closed book." 112 SHOFAR On the other hand, it makes no difference where you begin. Any small part of the Talmud is endlessly fascinating and will involve a whole range of topics. Any subject, no matter how esoteric, ends up involving either practical matters or topics of broad philosophical import. For example in Bava Metzia, page 12A, the question is asked: "Does a person acquire an ownerless object that flies through his property without stopping?" The answer hinges on the philosophical question of what is motion: is it a smooth event or an infinite succession of small stops and starts? This also has a practical aspect. Suppose someone makes you a gift of a purse of money and tosses it to you. However, you fail to catch it, and it passes completely through your property to a place where a third party picks it up. To whom does it belong? i.e., have you acquired ownership by dint of its having passed through your territory? The Gemara discussion is inconclusive , but the final decision of the commentators is that it would belong to you. The task that Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz set for himself was how to make this monumental work accessible to the masses of people that could not read Aramaic. A simple translation was not enough. To the unprepared, the Talmud is as opaque as a book on mathematics would be to the average citizen. Worse, someone may feel that they understand a statement one way when the mass of rabbinic opinion is quite the opposite. Similarly, taken out of context a discussion may seem superfluous or even silly when in fact it is quite profound and relevant to the larger...


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