Tanakh: An Owner’s Manual

Tanakh: An Owner’s Manual: Authorship, Canonization, Masoretic Text, Exegesis, Modern Scholarship, and Pedagogy. Moshe Sokolow. (NY: Ktav, 2015).

Moshe Sokolow, a professor at Yeshiva University, is unapologetic in focusing solely on orthodox scholarship. He mentions the Documentary Hypothesis only in order to explain why and how orthodox scholars responded to it. Nehama Leibowitz stands out as the only female scholar discussed in depth, although more are cited in passing. Non-orthodox readers willing to accept those basics will find a refreshingly straightforward and thoroughly readable “manual” for understanding how the bible has been interpreted over the centuries by orthodox Jewish teachers.

Sections on pedagogy can be of use to non-orthodox readers who want to understand how the Torah is read and applied in the Modern Orthodox world. Earlier chapters cover a lot of territory, including the use of Aggadah, Semitic languages, Ancient Near East literature, “literary sensitivity,” and other approaches to the text. Along the way are a number of specifics relevant to #ExploringBabylon. See, for example, his theory about “Ezekiel and the Book of Job.

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