Sayings of the Fathers: Pirke Avot The Hebrew text, with English translation and commentary

by Joseph H. Hertz

Other authorsMichoel Muchnik
Book, 1986



Call number

107 HER


[West Orange, N.J.] : Behrman House, [1986]


Excerpt from Pirke Aboth: The Tractate "Fathers," From the Mishnah, Commonly Called "Sayings of the Fathers" In preparing a second edition I have taken note of such criticisms as I have seen, and have considered them. The most important are those of Prof. F. Pe'rles, of Konigsberg, to whom I am greatly indebted. The changes I have made are mainly corrections of slight errors, some of them merely typographical; and substantially the book in this second edition is the same as before. I have carefully gone through it and it represents what I should now wish to ete. I am gratified that the favorable recep tion given to the original work should call for a second edition. I ren'ew my thanks to the managers of the Alexander Kohut Memorial Foundation for undertaking its publication. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member timspalding
The Pirke Aboth is some wonderful, wonderful stuff. For this Christian reader—familiar with scholarship on Jesus' Jewish context but coming upon its contents for the first time all together—it was an electrifying demonstration of what is now commonly asserted but not necessarily experienced:
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the palpable connection between early Christian and Jewish language, rhetoric and moral concerns. But, of course, such resonances hardly exhaust its interest--even devotional interest for a Christian--and it rewards close and repeated reading from many angles and none. Half the moral contents seem, if not new, at least "ne'er so well expressed." The historical element is tantalizing--and best appreciated with a biographical dictionary close at hand. There's some rather interesting folklore too. (I had never heard of the shamir, Solomon's powerful worm.)

The Behrman House edition was published in 1945, and the text translated by the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, Joseph H. Hertz. The forward links the content and the times: "It is at a turning point in history that this volume makes its appearance. All over theworld, the oppressed in bondage so long are at last shattering their bonds. The armies of fascism are being defeated. Yet the war against their insidious ideas must continue if we are to banish evil and intolerance from the face of the earth. And in the war the reaffirmation of the ethical and moral values of the Pirke Aboth can be a powerful weapon against the enemy." I can't speak to the quality of the translation, although the notes occasionally give the most literal reading--a good sign. It is, in any case, quite readable. His footnotes don't always impress. A non-Jewish reader will find some of his explanations very helpful, but many are little more than a repetion of the text, and he is occasionally quite unconvincing, for example in his gyrations on the various misogynistic passages.
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Original publication date



0874414202 / 9780874414202

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