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Judaism Research Guide: Getting Started

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This subject guide brings together some resources for the study of Judaism.  If you don't see what you need, or would like something added, please let me know.

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Reference Books on Judaism in duPont Library

Theological Dictionary of Rabbinic Judaism

Rabbinic theological language has made possible a vast range of discourse, on many subjects over long spans of recorded time and in diverse cultural settings. This theological dictionary defines the principal theological usages of Rabbinic Judaism as set forth in the Rabbinic canon of late antiquity, Mishnah, Talmuds, and Midrash-compilations. It systematically lays 1] the theological categories that are native to those writings; 2] cogent statements that can be made with them; 3] coherent propositions that those statements set forth and (within their own terms and framework) logically demonstrate as true and self-evident, both. Volume One of this dictionary covers vocabulary that permits the classification of religious knowledge and experience, and the organization and categorization of those data into intelligible and cogent sense-units. Volume Two shows how these classifications combine and recombine in sentences. We may deem these rules of theological discourse concerning religious experience to be the counterpart of syntax which words combine (or do not combine) with which other words, in what inflection or signaled relationship, and why. Volume Three shows how the theology accomplishes its goals of analysis, explanation, and anticipation in order to make sense of and impose meaning upon a subject. That marks the point at which constructive theology commences and systematic theology will find its language.

The Encyclopedia of Judaism

The Encyclopedia of Judaism provides a full and reliable account of Judaism, the religion, its diverse history, literature, beliefs, practices, observances, and its place in the context of society and culture from ancient Israelite times to our own day. By reason of its antiquity, influence on other world religions, power to persuade the faithful of its truth, and contemporary vitality, Judaism demands sustained attention.

The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism

The Dictionary of Early Judaism is the first reference work devoted exclusively to Second Temple Judaism (fourth century b.c.e. through second century c.e.). The first section of this substantive and incredible work contains thirteen major essays that attempt to synthesize major aspects of Judaism in the period between Alexander and Hadrian. The second -- and significantly longer -- section offers 520 entries arranged alphabetically. Many of these entries have cross-references and all have select bibliographies. Equal attention is given to literary and nonliterary (i.e. archaeological and epigraphic) evidence and New Testament writings are included as evidence for Judaism in the first century c.e. Several entries also give pertinent information on the Hebrew Bible. The Dictionary of Early Judaism is intended to not only meet the needs of scholars and students -- at which it succeeds admirably -- but also to provide accessible information for the general reader. It is ecumenical and international in character, bringing together nearly 270 authors from as many as twenty countries and including Jews, Christians, and scholars of no religious affiliation.

Torah Queeries

In the Jewish tradition, reading of the Torah follows a calendar cycle, with a specific portion assigned each week. These weekly portions, read aloud in synagogues around the world, have been subject to interpretation and commentary for centuries. Following on this ancient tradition, Torah Queeries brings together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a "bent lens". With commentaries on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and six major Jewish holidays, the concise yet substantive writings collected here open up stimulating new insights and highlight previously neglected perspectives. This incredibly rich collection unites the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight-allied writers, including some of the most central figures in contemporary American Judaism. All bring to the table unique methods of reading and interpreting that allow the Torah to speak to modern concerns of sexuality, identity, gender, and LGBT life. Torah Queeries offers cultural critique, social commentary, and a vision of community transformation, all done through biblical interpretation. Written to engage readers, draw them in, and, at times, provoke them, Torah Queeries examines topics as divergent as the Levitical sexual prohibitions, the experience of the Exodus, the rape of Dinah, the life of Joseph, and the ritual practices of the ancient Israelites. Most powerfully, the commentaries here chart a future of inclusion and social justice deeply rooted in the Jewish textual tradition. A labor of intellectual rigor, social justice, and personal passions, Torah Queeries is an exciting and important contribution to the project of democratizing Jewish communities, and an essential guide to understanding the intersection of queerness and Jewishness.

The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies

The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies is part of a major new series of Oxford Handbooks. The volume on Jewish Studies reflects the aim of the series to produce distinctive and original surveys of today's interests and directions in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Handbook covers all the main areas currently taught and researched as part of Jewish Studies in universities throughout the world, especially in Europe, the United States, and Israel. The span of the volume chronologically and geographically is thus enormous, but all contributors have in commontheir expertise in the study of the history, literature, religion, and culture of the Jews.Jewish Studies is a comparatively young discipline which has grown over the past fifty years in a somewhat undisciplined way. In a period of great upheaval for Jews following the Holocaust, the creation of the State of Israel, the emergence of new forms of dialogue between Jews and Christians,deepening divisions between secular and religious Jews, and unprecedented assimilation by diaspora Jews to the wider culture, the study of Jewish traditions and history has rarely been dispassionate. This is a good time to examine where we are and where the subject is going.There have been some attempts in recent years to encapsulate current conclusions about particular aspects of Jewish Studies, but these other works aim to provide compendia of agreed facts rather than a survey of interests and directions such as is found in the Oxford Handbook.The Handbook begins with an examination of Jewish Studies as an academic discipline in its own right. The first half of the volume is organized chronologically, followed by sections on languages and literature, general aspects of religion, and other branches of Jewish Studies which have eachaccumulated a considerable corpus of scholarship over the past half-century.This substantial volume of c. 400,000 words reflects the current state of scholarship as analysed by an international team of experts in the different and varied fields represented within contemporary Jewish Studies.

Religious Studies & Philosophy Librarian

Dr. Dann Wigner's picture
Dr. Dann Wigner
Contact:
Jessie Ball duPont Library
The University of the South
178 Georgia Ave
Sewanee, TN 37383
931-598-1732
Website / Blog Page
Jessie Ball duPont Library, University of the South
178 Georgia Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383
931.598.1664