This book provides a highly readable, engaging introduction to Jewish biblical interpretation. The purview of the topic is very wide, encompassing classical rabbinic texts — the Talmud and the Amoraic midrashim—alongside medieval Jewish philosophers, Hasidic masters and contemporary American Jewish writers. Written for college students, all texts are translated into accessible English and the bibliography is limited to relevant but “user-friendly” items.
Cherry’s method in this book combines several innovative elements. His analysis always begins with the nuances of the biblical text. Moving quickly between ancient and modern opinions, he shows how they all stem from different understandings of the verse. The biblical topics chosen are fascinating, including both narrative and legal sections. Frequent use of illustrative tables makes the hermeneutic possibilities clearer. In this way, his exposition becomes both methodological and fascinating.
Torah Through Time is written in a snappy, entertaining style, with many references to popular culture, and quotations from a contemporary sage named “Meshi,” who (the bibliography reveals) is none other than Cherry himself. Bibliography, glossary, notes.