rabbis lived in a mostly urban culture, not a rural family-farm based culture. Hence the perpetuated line ideal was no longer central. Weisberg herself notes this on page 202, but dismisses it as, at best, a secondary concern. Nevertheless, it seems to us that a further and deeper exploration of this possibility would have given the book more explanatory power. As a whole, Weisberg's book is a useful contribution to the study of levirate and rabbinic conceptions of family. The book is well researched and contains many valuable insights. If the thesis is not fully convincing, it is compelling enough to warrant further research and thought. Zev Farber Graduate Division of Religion Emory University Michael J. Broyde Professor of Law Emory University The Origins of Jewish Mysticism, by Peter Schäfer. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009. 398 pp. 99.00. The Mishnah (Hagigah 2:1) identified a number of topics in the rabbinic curriculum that could not be taught openly, among which the most secret was "the work of the chariot," the Ma`aseh Merkavah. It is clear that this esoteric discipline revolves around the extraordinary vision related in the first two chapters of Ezekiel in which the prophet saw a human-like figure
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2011
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