Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., Judaism faced a serious crossroads. The rabbis of late antiquity spent the next few centuries in extensive debates in an effort to create an ethical and practical basis for a Torah-based faith. Their extensive discussions constitute the bulk of what we now know as the Talmud. This collection is not only massive; it is forbiddingly difficult and has accumulated numerous commentaries over the centuries since it first appeared. Recent translations have made it somewhat more accessible to English-language readers, but textual difficulties remain. This volume looks at tractate Zevachim (Sacrifices), which is mostly concerned with meat offerings slaughtered and presented at the Temple (when it stood). Joshua A. Fogel approaches the text, page by page, commenting with doses of humor and comparisons in a manner meant to explain and humanize the text for contemporary readers.
Joshua A. Fogel — Joshua A. Fogel is Canada Research Chair in the Department of History at York University. His research interests include Jewish history and thought, as well as the cultural dimension of Sino-Japanese relations. His most recent works include: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Reading Tractate Horayot of the Babylonian Talmud (Hamilton Books, 2013); Daily Reflections on Idolatry: Reading Tractate Avodah Zarah of the Babylonian Talmud (Hamilton Books, 2012); Japanese Historiography and the Gold Seal of 57 C.E.: Relic, Text, Object, Fake (Brill, 2013); and Articulating the Sinosphere: Sino-Japanese Relations in Space and Time (Harvard University Press, 2009).
Author's Introduction Chapter 1: All Sacrifices Chapter 2: Any Sacrifice Whose Blood Was Collected Chapter 3: Any Disqualified People Chapter 4: Bet Shammai Rule Chapter 5: What Is the Proper Place? Chapter 6: Most Holy Offerings Chapter 7: A Bird Chatat Chapter 8: All Sacrifices Chapter 9: The Altar Sacrifices Chapter 10: That Which Is More Frequent Chapter 11: Blood of a Chatat Chapter 12: A Tevul Yom Chapter 13: One Slaughters and Offers Chapter 14: A Chatat Cow Glossary of Selected Terms Index of Tannaim and Amoraim Index of Biblical and Rabbinical References