An Introduction to Judaism

by Nicholas de Lange. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Near the end of 'An Introduction to Judaism' the author states, "The point has been reached, I believe, where it is no longer possible (if it ever was) to describe Judaism in terms of a single ideal model." Beginning with the question "Who is a Jew?," the author, a distinguished Jewish scholar, explores the many facets of Judaism. This book covers an amazingly broad range of subjects relating to both historical and contemporary Judaism and gives an objective, balanced account of the different Jewish schools of thought. Among the subjects de Lange covers are threats to the Jewish people; books of religious and theological importance to Judaism; the roles of the family and the community in Jewish culture and religious practice (including the principal religious services and holy days); relationships with God; the objectives of Judaism; and the future of Judaism. This work is far too rich and compact to summarize, but it is an excellent source book for anyone who wishes an overview of historical and contemporary Judaism.