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Singing God's Words: The Performance of Biblical Chant in Contemporary Judaism - American Musicspheres (Paperback)
  • Singing God's Words: The Performance of Biblical Chant in Contemporary Judaism - American Musicspheres (Paperback)
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Singing God's Words: The Performance of Biblical Chant in Contemporary Judaism - American Musicspheres (Paperback)

(author)
£21.99
Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 04/08/2016
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Singing God's Words is the first in-depth study of the experience and meaning of chanting or "reading" Torah among contemporary American Jews. This experience has been transformed dramatically in recent years by the impact of digital technology, feminism, the empowerment of lay people and a search for self-fulfillment through involvement with community. At a time when worshippers seek deeper spiritual experience, many Jews have found new meaning in the experience of reading Torah, an act that is broadly accessible to Jewish adults even as it requires intensive immersion with the text of the Bible in Hebrew. This book examines why and how growing numbers of American Jews in all denominations see the public chanting of Biblical texts during the synagogue service as one of the most authentic and personal expressions of their religious identity. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with men and women, both professionals and congregants, Jeffrey A. Summit describes how the reading of Torah embodies their understanding of historical religious practice, even as it is shaped by contemporary views of spiritual experience. Through this act, holiness becomes manifest at the intersection of Biblical chant, sacred text, the individual, and the community.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190497088
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 430 g
Dimensions: 236 x 157 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Jeffery A. Summit has produced a masterful analysis of contemporary synagogue practice, offering insights into how Torah chant is performed and how it is understood by chanters, scholars, and worshippers. It is a major contribution to the understanding of a significant ritual in contemporary Judaism across denominational lines ... Singing Gods Words has broad implications for those interested in Jewish continuity. It is a must read for scholars of ritual practice, congregational rabbis, and those interested in the future of the Jewish community in America. * Peter Knobel, H-Judaic *
The author attends to a wide spectrum of practicing Jews, from those of the seeker-centered renewal movement to the more orthopraxic members of Chabad. Though Summit has a sharp eye for the sociological, he never loses sight of how chanting Torah provides contemporary Jews with spiritual experiencesallowing them to make personal connections through public intimacy with their sacred text. * G. Spinner, Choice *
Scholar, teacher, person of faith-Jeffrey Summit welcomes readers to the spiritual world made resonant through singing God's words. Vast as that world is, Summit draws together its farthest reaches and its most intimate moments, revealing the center that forms around the chanting of the Torah. * Philip V. Bohlman, Mary Werkman Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities, The University of Chicago, and author of Jewish Music and Modernity (OUP, 2008) *
With Jeffrey Summit as an expert and sensitive guide, the reader travels a pathway to understanding the public chanting of the Bible as both sacred text and spiritual experience among American Jews. A most impressive exploration of a fast-changing religious world. * Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Harvard University *
Singing God's Words is an important and unique contribution to the study of cantillation, the art of chanting the Hebrew Bible. Jeffrey Summit delivers an insightful narrative that will engage musicians and sociologists, Jews and non-Jews, professionals and laypersons alike. * Professor Joshua Jacobson, author of Chanting the Hebrew Bible *

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