Barry Holtz is a storyteller, educator, translator, and professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has also demonstrated his mastery of writing books, at a rate of about one a decade, with previous works that include seminal texts such as Your Word Is Fire (with Arthur Green), Back to the Sources, Finding Our Way, Textual Knowledge, and now his newest book, a “biography” of Rabbi Akiva, which is scholarly, yet eminently approachable. This book will be of great interest not only to Jews, for whom Akiva is the architect of the Jewish enterprise from his time to today, but, as Akiva lived right around the time of Jesus, also for Christians of all stripes who wish to get a better sense of the Jewish world at that time.

The word biography is in quotes above because no...


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