While the Talmud Blog assumes that readers will regularly check its constantly-updated twitter feed (accessible on the top-right of this page and through twitter), there are times when things tweeted might also be blogged, for emphasis. Since 1970, the Journal for the Study of Judaism has been one of the most important journals in the field. Its interests lean heavily “ancient” and not necessarily rabbinic (hence the subtitle “in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods”), but there usually are a few directly relevant reviews. The reviews section is indispensable and the current issue is no exception. Aside from a”rabbinically” focused article by Arnon Atzmon that studies the petihta using a kind of hybridic methodology (with a test case from Leviticus Rabba, Aharei Mot and its Tanhuma parallels), and a solid restatement of Aryeh Edrei and Doron Mendel’s view of a Western and Eastern (Babylonia and Palestine) Diasporic split, we have a very extensive short-review section. Highlights include another review of Thomas Kazan’s Issues of Impurity in Early Judaism, and one of Maren Neihoff’s Jewish Exegesis and Homeric Scholarship in Alexandria; Jonathan Klawans has a review of Vered Noam’s book on purity, Dvora E. Weisberg looks at Tamara Or’s Feminist Commentary on Bavli Betsah, one of the first of the ongoing to series to be published, and Steven Fraade has a brief but very helpful review of Aharon Shemesh’s Halakhah in the Making. While the genre of the short-review does not allow reviewers to fully articulate a critical take on the work in question, it sure is a great way to stay abreast in an ever expanding field.
N.B. The ‘books received’ section also has a few gems. I, for one, would love to get my hands on The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah: Leadership, Rabbinate and Community in Jewish History: Studies Presented to Professor Simon Schwarzfuchs (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 2011), and anxiously await Stemberger’s updated Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch (München: Verlag C. H. Beck, 2011; Ninth Revised Edition).