Cover image for An introduction to Judaism
An introduction to Judaism
De Lange, N. R. M. (Nicholas Robert Michael), 1944-
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxii, 247 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1430 Lexile.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM561 .D378 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book offers a full and lucid account of Judaism and the Jewish people. Written for Jews and non-Jews alike, whether students, teachers, or general interest readers, the book brings out the extraordinary richness and variety of Judaism: its historical depth, and the vigor and endurance of its traditions--in the home, in the synagogue, in its literature, in individual and community life. It contains illustrative tables and maps, a full glossary, chronology, bibliography and index. This is a stimulating and comprehensive introduction to a major world culture.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

De Lange is a Cambridge professor and scholar; his latest book is intended for students of religion and others who seek an introduction to the faith. His focus is on the way the past is perceived today and the ways it affects contemporary Judaism. He begins with the question "Who are the Jews?" and offers a detailed explanation of Jewish identity. He discusses such issues as what binds the Jews together and talks about the Bible, the Hebrew prayer book, the Talmud, the Zohar, and Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed. De Lange explains traditional Judaism and its modernist movements and discusses the role and responsibility of the family and the Jewish home in society. Such rituals as keeping a kosher kitchen, honoring the Sabbath and festivals, and reciting daily prayers are explained. The laws pertaining to marriage, birth, death, and mourning are explored. The author examines the relationship of the Jews to God, and he talks about the future of Judaism. --George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

De Lange, a rabbi, author and translator who is a Reader in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Cambridge University, has written this remarkably comprehensive analysis of Jews and Judaism. While some of his comments reflect his vantage point as an Englishman, he is fully aware of developments in America and Israel. The book opens with an acutely perceptive review of the contemporary situation of Jews throughout the world, followed by a brief but thorough treatment of Jewish history in which the author focuses on past and present threats to Jewish survival. He then considers Jewish books, Jewish religion, family, community, God and the Jews and the question of what it takes to be a good Jew. The book concludes with "some tentative predictions" about the Jewish future that confront the "bleak demographic" picture often predicted. De Lange identifies problems of religious pluralism, especially in Israel, and examines the issue of Jewish feminism in light of postmodern efforts to push the boundaries of Jewish theology. De Lange's system for categorizing his topics results in some overlapping; for example, Jewish books crop up in several chapters although one chapter is entirely dedicated to this subject, and de Lange's treatment of Jewish holidays is repetitive. Nevertheless, de Lange has clearly satisfied his objective, offering an overall introduction to Judaism that will be useful to both Jewish and non-Jewish readers, if they can get past the hefty price tag. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Focusing on Jewish rituals and practices, this volume provides a solid foundation for the study of contemporary Judaism. Chapters cover demographics, Jewish books, home and synagogue activities, and philosophy. While de Lange (Atlas of the Jewish World) writes primarily about the United States and Israel, he includes some accounts of European history and customs of Jews from Arab countries. De Lange illuminates the differences among Judaism's three main denominations and among Jewish philosophers, encouraging readers to continue their study of the religion beyond his book. A shortcoming is in the book's chronological table, which stops with the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries.--Naomi E. Hafter, Broward Cty. P. L., Ft. Lauderdale, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of tables
List of maps
Chronological table
The Jewish calendar
Map of the Jewish world in 1930
Map of the Jewish world today
1 The Jews in the world
2 The Jewish people and its past
3 Jewish books
4 The Jewish religion
5 The family
6 The community
7 God and the Jewish people
8 Objectives
9 Judaism and the future
Further reading