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About the Book

About The Jewish Life Cycle


This volume describes the major ``rites of passage`` of the Jewish life cycle. From birth, through circumcision, to marriage, divorce, sickness, death and mourning, Daniel Sperber presents detailed descriptions of the major customs attending these events. These customs are examined in light of their original sources, their integration and evolution in varying Jewish communities, and the popular explanations given for their practice, both historically and today. This book draws on the whole spectrum of rabbinic literature, comparing its stories and explanations with folk beliefs of other cultures throughout the world. Sperber makes use of a wide range of resources - medieval and modern, legal, folkloristic, anthropological and literary - in his discussion of customs, proving that Jewish communities were never isolated from their environment. He also examines in depth the earliest origins of many of our well-known and commonly practiced Jewish customs. This book makes use of iconographic material found in illustrated books written by non-Jews describing Jewish practice. These illustrations are analyzed in detail, constituting yet another rich source for the understanding of the evolution of Jewish customs. Customs, by their nature, are often taken for granted. In this book, Daniel Sperber offers an expert, detailed, and lively analysis of some of the most and least commonly practiced customs in Jewish tradition. Co-published with Oxford University Press. ספר זה מתאר את תולדותיהם של מנהגים הקשורים במעגל החיים היהודי, ועומד על מקורותיהם, שורשיהם והתפתחותם לאורך הדורות. הוא מבוסס על חומר רב ומגוון, ממקורות יהודיים ולא יהודיים, ספרותיים ואמנותיים, ומצביע על מקבילות בנוהגי התרבויות השכנות והרחוקות ועל השפעות בשני הכיוונים. יצא בשיתוף עם הוצאת אוניברסיטת אוקספורד.



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