Series Spotlight: Maggid Studies in Tanakh

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The Maggid Studies in Tanakh is a collection of works by a cadre of master Bible scholars who explore the concepts, themes, literary artistry, and historical context of individual books in the Bible. Each volume in the series utilizes a trailblazing interdisciplinary approach to understanding the Biblical text that fuses both traditional and scholarly tools to understand the Biblical text and its religious meaning. As a whole, the Maggid Studies in Tanakh series offers readers an indispensable resource that reveals the depth and relevance of our most foundational sacred text.

Isaiah: Prophet of Righteousness and Justice

By: Rabbi Binyamin Lau and Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun

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Many consider Isaiah to be the prophet of world peace, a utopian visionary who transcends the boundaries of political reality and inhabits the realm of ideal cosmic harmony. As the herald of peace, he has become the most influential among the Hebrew prophets; his vision of the End of Days is among the most celebrated of biblical passages: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more” (2:4).
Yet there is another dimension to Isaiah – a political thinker who spent decades around the royal palace in Jerusalem, promoting justice and charity, speaking truth to power, struggling to avert disaster. Reading his prophecies in their historical context, Isaiah: Prophet of Righteousness and Justice allows us to see beyond the surface. By recapturing the prophet’s voice and highlighting the dilemmas faced by the rulers he challenged, this work presents Isaiah’s story in all its vitality and drama.

Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: Prophecy in an Age of Uncertainty

By: Rabbi Hayyim Angel

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Often overlooked, the books of the final prophets hold the key to understanding the monumental transition that overtook the Jewish world at the beginning of the Second Temple Era and that ushered in the postbiblical age. In Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: Prophecy in an Age of Uncertainty, Rabbi Hayyim Angel brings to life one of the least understood eras of Jewish history. In this work, Rabbi Angel takes the reader through a tumultuous world of joy mingled with insecurity in the twilight of prophecy.

I Kings and II Kings

By: Rabbi Alex Israel

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The Book of Kings narrates the vivid and turbulent history of Israel and its monarchs. In I Kings and II Kings, master educator Alex Israel uncovers the messages hidden between the lines of the biblical text and draws rich and indelible portraits of its great personalities. Revealing a narrative of political upheaval, empire building, religious and cultural struggle, national fracture, war and peace, These two volumes depict the titanic clashes between king and prophet and the underlying conflicts that can split apart a society.

Using traditional commentaries and modern literary techniques, the author offers a dynamic dialogue between the biblical text and its interpretations. The result is a compelling work of contemporary biblical scholarship that addresses the central themes of the Book of Kings in a wider historical, political and religious perspective.

Jeremiah

By: Rabbi Binyamin Lau

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In Jeremiah: The Fate of a Prophet, Rabbi Dr. Binyamin Lau breaks down the Book of Jeremiah, rearranging its chapters according to historical events and the chronology of the prophet’s life. This groundbreaking reconstruction turns the biblical narrative from a collection of disjointed prophecies into a thrilling account of warring empires and nationalistic struggle, social decay and political intrigue, soaring hope and crushing despair. Jeremiah: The Fate of a Prophet is the debut volume of Maggid Studies in Tanakh, a major new series that incorporates traditional rabbinic interpretations with scholarly literary techniques to explore the texts, themes, and personalities in the biblical narrative.

Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet

By: Dr. Erica Brown

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In Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, Dr. Erica Brown takes us on a journey over land and sea, in the footsteps of the Bible’s most recalcitrant prophet. Melding traditional commentators, rabbinic literature, modern biblical scholarship, psychological sensitivity, and artistic imagination, Brown travels through the four chapters of Jonah’s story − tracing his call to leadership, his subsequent intransigence, his momentary rise to duty and his tragic resignation − in an effort to discover God’s ultimate lesson for him.

Genesis: From Creation to Covenant

By: Rabbi Dr. Zvi Grumet

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Rabbi Dr. Zvi Grumet explores the Book of Genesis in search for answers to the fundamental questions of human existence: Who are we? Why are we here? What does God want from us and what can we expect of Him? Shuttling deftly back and forth between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic, Rabbi Grumet offers a sensitive verse-by-verse reading of the biblical text, occasionally stepping back to reveal the magnificent themes that underlie the narrative as a whole: Creation and God, mortality and sin, family and covenant. Ambitious in scope and meticulous in execution, Genesis: From Creation to Covenant presents a remarkably original interpretation of the Book of Genesis and the Divine quest at its heart – the quest for a meaningful relationship with humankind.

Nehemiah: Statesman and Sage

By: Dr. Dov S. Zakheim

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In Nehemiah: Statesman and Sage, Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, a former senior official in the US government, examines the life of the biblical figure through the lens of modern experience. Dr. Zakheim mines the biblical Book of Nehemiah to present a political biography of a man who rose to the highest levels of the Persian court, dedicating his life to the welfare of the Jewish people. Utilizing a unique collection of traditional and scholarly sources, Dr. Zakheim reveals how Nehemiah confronted fundamental issues of his day, highlighting lessons for policy-makers today.

Ruth: From Alienation to Monarchy

By: Dr. Yael Ziegler

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In this fluent and penetrating study of the Book of Ruth, Yael Ziegler provides a masterful primer on how to read biblical narratives with sensitivity and depth, using recent methodological breakthroughs in the study of Tanakh. Beyond providing an eye-opening reading of a familiar biblical book, the author creatively demonstrates that midrashic readings can reveal deep strata of textual meaning, and combines these insights with classical and contemporary scholarship to uncover the religious messages of this beautifully crafted story. In Ruth: From Alienation and Monarchy, modern techniques of literary analysis and rabbinic homilies merge to yield common insights into themes such as leadership, redemption, identity, and social morality.

Joshua: The Challenge of the Promised Land

By: Rabbi Michael Hattin

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The book of Joshua enumerates the great challenges faced by the ancient Israelites as they enter and settle their promised land, a lengthy process that ultimately takes hundreds of years.

Coming soon to the Maggid Studies in Tanakh Series!

Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile by Dr. Erica Brown

Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah: Lights in the Valley by Rabbi Yaakov Beasley
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