Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai

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  • W. David Nelson, PhD (translations and notes)
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About the Book

A timeless collection of midrash never before available in English.

The Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai is a collection of classical midrashic interpretation of the biblical Book of Exodus. Lost for centuries, the text was reconstructed and recovered in the 19th and 20th centuries by both German and Israeli scholars from a variety of source materials, including medieval manuscripts of the text and midrashic anthologies. As one of the first collections of rabbinic biblical interpretation, the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai is an indispensable source for understanding the history, beliefs, and practices of the earliest rabbis. This edition, translated and explicated for the first time in English by W. David Nelson, is one of The Jewish Publication Society’s contributions to making ancient Jewish literature accessible to modern readers. A critical introduction provides the reader with a firm grounding in the historical setting of the text, as well as its source material, reconstruction, subject matter, and significance for understanding the history of Judaism. Set in a modern, readable typeface, the Hebrew text faces the English translation with the author’s annotation beneath. Indexes include scriptural verse citations and rabbinic sages named in the text.


Taken in its entirety, this translation provides a reliable, usable text for students and scholars . . . All libraries serving religions, Judaica, and theology school programs should purchase this handsomely produced volume.


W. David Nelson, PhD

W. David Nelson received an M.A. in bible and cognate studies and PhD in rabbinic literature and thought from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the Rosalyn and Manny Rosenthal Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and the director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Texas Christian University and Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas.

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