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Michigan State University

Religions of the World: Judaism

This is a guide to researching religions of the world: Western and Eastern Christianity, Eastern religions, Islam, Bahai, New Age Movements, Judaism. Last updated 06-26-2023


Jewish Studies Resources Guide.  By Deborah Margolis, MSU's librarian for Jewish Studies

Twentieth Century Religious Thought Volume III Judaism

Includes 100,000 pages of the most important works and primary sources that document the evolution of Judaism from the 1890s-2010s.
It is a curated selection of unpublished primary sources, coupled with key in-copyright or difficult-to-find texts and authors. It addresses the specific needs of scholars and students of Judaism and other religions. Featured contributors include the National Library of Israel, Jewish Publications Society (University of Nebraska Press), and more.

Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture.  Reference BM 50 .C26 2011

Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World.  Has signed articles with bibliographies.

Jewish Life in America c1564-1954: Sources from the American Jewish Historical Society.  Personal and organizational collections (e.g. Emma Lazarus), plus rare books and pamphlets, with contextualizing materials.

Encyclopaedia of Judaism. Main BM 50 .E63 2005 v. 1-4
Signed entries, with bibliographical references. Index in volume 4. 225 entries, alphabetically arranged. Aims to be comprehensive. Deals with historical, literary, theological, ethical, musical, artistic, mystical, rational, and social issues, philosophy, piety, prayer, sentiment, emotion, and encounters with God in worship and service. Heavy emphasis on the classical literature of Judaism and its history. Also addresses such contemporary issues as circumcision, genetic engineering, homosexuality, intermarriage in American Judaism within the framework of the law, theology, and tradition of the faith and its authoritative writings. Rather than just presenting short entries of the facts, the entries are conceived so that one has “expositions to be read.” This means the articles are longer and tend toward broader topics: “Calendar of Judaism,” rather than “Passover,” for example.

New Encyclopedia of Judaism. Main BM 50 .E63 2002
Articles are not signed, yet compiled by a team of professors and rabbis. “The Hebrew word yahadut, meaning “Judaism” first appeared in the Middle Ages” but became ambiguous in the 18th and 19th centuries. “Jews moving into an open society could retain their Jewish identity while dissociating themselves from all or part of the “religious” heritage,” not previously possible.” Yahadut came to have three meanings, for which English (but not Hebrew) had different words: Judaism, Jewishness, and Jewry. “Jewishness covers the whole complex of being Jewish, including ethnic and secular elements. Judaism is taken as a parallel to Christianity, in that it refers to the religious tradition, traceable back to biblical times. The truth is that Judaism/Jewishness can not be broken up into its various components”; to differentiate between the holy and the secular, for Jews, is misleading. Nevertheless, this work concentrates upon those aspects which the Western world calls “religious” and confines itself to religious life and development. 1250 articles ranging in length from a paragraph to a page long. Annotated bibliography. Hopes to be serve as “a standard one-volume Jewish reference work for the new millennium.” Guided by the editorial judgment of Geoffrey Wigoder, editor- in- chief of the Encyclopedia Judaica, who passed away before this edition was completed.

Historical Dictionary of the Jews Main DS 114 .U58 2011

Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Main BM 50 .O94 2011
Oxford University Press. "...envisioned as a companion to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church." Is about the Jewish religion, rather than Judaism as a secular culture. Entries range in length from a paragraph to a page, are unsigned, and have bibliographic references.  Not, curiously, online in Oxford Reference Online!

Encyclopedia of Judaism.  Main BM 50 .K37 2006

Encyclopedia Judaica. Area Studies 2 East DS 102.8 f.E54 v. 1-16
A 1972 work which offered at that time "a comprehensive and up-to-date view of world Jewry in 25,000 articles" most signed, with bibliographies for most entries.

Sacred Texts Interpreted, Religious Documents Explained  Main BL 71 .O47 2017 v. 1-2

Alphabetical arrangement of the faiths of the world, with lengthy chapters on each.  These chapters contain bits of primary sources from the sacred texts of each faith and explain the meanings of them.  Covers Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Mormonism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.  Brief introduction to the religious traditions of each faith and information on sacred text development.  Definition of what is meant by the words "sacred text."  Basic introductory level.