Judaism and Literature

This section is still in development. Edited by Abigail Gillman, Boston University.



Anthologies and Sourcebooks; Poetry; Short Fiction; Holocaust Literature; Literature of Jewish-Christian Relations; Yiddish Literature

Literary Criticism

incl. Books, Journals, and Periodicals

The Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible), incl. Jewish Translations of the Hebrew Bible

Special Topics:

Hermeneutics; Jewish Translation Studies

Other Resources: Encyclopedias and Digital Libraries.


Anthologies and Sourcebooks

Biale, David, editor. Cultures of the Jews. Schocken, 2002, 3 vols.

Buber, Martin, editor. Tales of the Hasidim. New York: Schocken, 1991, 2 vols. 

——-, editor. The Tales of Rabbi Nachman. Indiana University Press, 1962.

Rubenstein, Jeffrey. Rabbinic Stories. Paulist Press, 2002.

Bialik, Hayyim and Yehoshua Hana Rawnitski, editors. The Book of Legends / Sefer Ha-Aggadah. Schocken Books, 1992.

Ginzburg, Louis, editor. The Legends of the Jews. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, 7 vols.

A landmark collection of legends based on biblical stories, originally written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Syrian, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Arabic, Persian, and Old Slavic. Organized in biblical sequence. 4 volumes of legends, 2 volumes of notes, and index. Originally published in Jewish Publication Society of America, 1938; reissued by Johns Hopkins Press Paperbacks, 1998. 

Kermode, Frank and Robert Alter. A Literary Guide to the Bible. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1987.

Mendes-Flohr, Paul R. and Jehuda Reinharz, editors. The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History. 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2010.

“A collection of documents and excerpts from books and articles relating to Jewish history from the mid-17th to the mid-20th centuries.”

Gilman, Sander L. and Jack Zipes. Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture, 1096-1986. Yale University Press, 1997. 

Poetry Collections

The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492. Translated by Peter Cole, Princeton University Press, 2009.

The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel, and the Soul. Translated by Raymond P. Scheindlin, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Kaufman, Shirley; Galit Hasan-Rokem, and Tamar Hess, editors. The Defiant Muse: Hebrew Feminist Poems from Antiquity to the Present: A Bi-lingual Anthology. The Feminist Press, 1999. 

Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse. [Hebrew and English texts]. Translated by T. Carmi, Penguin, 2006.

Wine, Women and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life. Translated by Raymond P. Scheindlin, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Short Fiction

Agnon, S.Y. The Book that was Lost and Other Stories. Edited by Alan Mintz and Anne Golomb Hoffman. Schocken, 1995.

Aleichem, Sholem [pen name of Solomon Rabinovich]. Tevye the Dairyman and other Stories. Raduga Publishers, 1988.

The basis of the musical Fiddler on the Roof

Babel, Isaak. Odessa Stories. Translated by Boris Dralyuk, Pushkin Press, 2016.

Bellow, Saul, ed. Great Jewish Short Stories. 1963. New York: Dell, 1988.

Twenty-eight classic stories. One of the first such volumes.

Kafka, Franz. Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories. Edited by Nahum N. Glatzer. 1971. Schocken, 1976.

Khazoom, Loolwa, ed. The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage. 2003. 2nd edition, New York: Seal Press, 2022.

                       First anthology by Jewish women of color. 

Liebrecht, Savyon. Apples from the Desert: Selected Stories. Translated by Marganit Weinberger-Rotman. Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1998.

Modern Hebrew Literature. Edited by Robert Alter. Behrman House, 1989.

                       Classic stories with introductions. But no women authors included. 

The Oxford Book of Jewish Short Stories. Edited and introduced by Ilan Stavans. Oxford, 1998.  

The Oxford Book of Hebrew Short Stories. Edited by Glenda Abramson. Oxford, 1996.

Ozick, Cynthia. The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories. Knopf, 1971.

The Penguin Book of Jewish Short Stories. Edited by Emanuel Litvinoff. Penguin, 1979.

Ribcage: Israeli women’s fiction: a Hadassah anthology. Edited and translated by Carol Diament and Lily Rattok. The Department of Jewish Education, Hadassah, 1994.

Roth, Philip. Goodbye, Columbus: and Five Short Stories. Meridan Fiction, 1959.

Singer, Isaac Bashevis. The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer. 1982. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1996.

Literature of the Holocaust


Wiesel, Elie. Night. 1956. The Night Trilogy. Hill and Wang, 1990.

Becker, Jurek, Jacob the Liar. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovitch, 1975.

Ozick, Cynthia. The Shawl. Knopf, 1983.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus. A Survivor’s Tale. Pantheon Books, 1991. [Serialized 1980-1991]

Levi, Primo. If this is a Man: Survival in Auschwitz. 1959. BN Publishing, 2007.

Frank, Anne. The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition. Translated by Arnold J. Pomerans, B.M. Mooyart-Doubleday, and Susan Massotty. Doubleday, 2003.

Klüger, Ruth. Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered. Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2012. 


Hartman, Geoffrey H., editor. Holocaust Remembrance. The Shapes of Memory. Blackwell, 1994. 

Lang, Berel, editor. Writing and the Holocaust. Holmes and Meier, 1988.

Hirsch, Marianne and Irene Kacandes, editors. Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust. MLA, 2004. 

Silverman, Lisa and Daniel H. Magilow, editors. Holocaust Representations in History: An Introduction. Bloomsbury, 2015.  

Jewish-Christian Relations in Literature

Primary Sources

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice.

Levine, Amy-Jill and Marc Zvi Brettler, editors. The Jewish Annotated New Testament. 2011.2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2017.


Levine, Amy-Jill and Marc Zvi Brettler. The Bible with and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently. Harper One, 2020.

Nahshon, Edna and Michael Shapiro, editors. Wrestling with Shylock: Jewish Responses to The Merchant of Venice. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Yiddish Literature

Stavans, Ilan and Joshua N. Lambert, editors. How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish. Restless Books, 2020.

Anthology of diverse Yiddish-American Literary texts, with a useful timeline.

Literary Criticism

Fisch, Harold. New Stories for Old: Biblical Patterns in the Novel. Macmillan Press, 1998.

Gillman, Abigail. Viennese Jewish Modernism: Freud, Hofmannsthal, Beer-Hofmann and Schnitzler. Penn State University Press, 2008. 

Hartman, Geoffrey H. and Sanford Budick, editors. Midrash and Literature. Yale University Press, 1986.

“Essays discuss Jewish critical interpretations of the Bible and the influence of these writings on modern literature.”

Naveh, Gila Safran. Biblical Parables and Their Modern Recreations: from “Apples of Gold in Silver Settings” to “Imperial Messages.” State University of New York Press, 2000. 

Ozick, Cynthia. Metaphor & Memory: Essays. Knopf, 1989.

Stavans, Ilan. Jewish Literature: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2021. 

Steiner, George. A George Steiner Reader. Penguin, 1984.

Wirth-Nesher, Hana, editor. What is Jewish Literature? Jewish Publication Society, 1994.

The Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible)

The Tanakh Online

Jewish Translations of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh)

A Jewish translation of the Tanakh is based on the original masoretic (traditional Hebrew) text. It  differs from a Christian translation of the Old Testament in several ways.

The JPS TANAKH (1985).

Since the early 20th century, this is the standard American Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible. A collaborative effort of an interdenominational team of Jewish scholars and rabbis working together over a twenty-year period. 

The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford). 

Incorporates the JPS English translation with the addition of a comprehensive running commentary, notes, and essays by leading scholars of Bible and Jewish Studies. 

The Five Books of Moses / The Schocken Bible. Trans. Everett Fox.

A Hebraic translation inspired by the method of Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig (1920s Germany). Fox is a Professor at Clark University.

The Hebrew Bible, a translation with commentary, by Robert Alter (Oxford UP; 3 volumes).

New translation by scholar of Hebrew and Comparative Literature. 

The Jewish Annotated New Testament, ed. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler.

The New Testament interpreted through a Jewish vantage point  by two biblical experts. 

Special Topics


Maimonides, The Guide to the Perplexed, introduction.

The introduction discusses how to read and interpret religious texts. 

Bishop Robert Lowth. On the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews. 1754.

De Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum, Praedectiones Academicae (Oxon. 1753, 4to; 2d edit. with annot. by Michaelis, Götting. 1758; Oxf. 1763; Gotting, 1768; Oxford, 1775, 1810; with notes by Rosenmüller, Leips. 1815; and last and best, Oxford, 1821, 8vo).

An English translation of the first 18 lectures was prepared by Dr. Dodd for the Christian Magazine (1766-67), and of all by Dr. Gregory (Lond. 1787,1816, 1835, 1839, 1847); a still more desirable English translation was prepared by Prof. Stowe (Andover, 1829, 8vo). “In these masterly and classical dissertations,” says Ginsburg (in Kitto, Cycl. Of Bibl. Lit. 2, s.v.), “Lowth not only evinces a deep knowledge of the Hebrew language, but philosophically exhibits the true spirit and characteristics of that poetry in which the prophets of the O.T. clothed the lively oracles of God. It does not at all detract from Lowth’s merits that both Abrabanel and Azariah de Rossi had pointed out two centuries before him the same features of Hebrew poetry [see Rossi] upon which he expatiates, inasmuch as the enlarged views and the invincible arguments displayed in his handling of the subject are peculiarly his own; and his work is therefore justly regarded as marking a new epoch in the treatment of the Hebrew poetry.https://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/L/lowth-robert.html.



Jewish Translation Studies

Gillman, Abigail. A History of German Jewish Bible Translation. University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Jacobs, Adriana X. Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry. University of Michigan Press, 2018.

Morris, Leslie. The Translated Jew: German Jewish Culture Outside the Margins. Northwestern University Press, 2018.

Seidman, Naomi. Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation. University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Other Resources

Encyclopedias and Digital Libraries

Encyclopedia Judaica (22 volumes; 2nd. Edition, 2006). Print only. 

The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906). Print and online.

Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts.

An online, open-source, free content, digital, still growing library of Jewish texts (Tanakh, Talmud, Mishnah, Midrash, commentaries ancient through modern) in Hebrew and English translation. In 2020, they tracked 500,000/users in a month.

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (EBR); De Gruyter Press. Print and Online.

The first comprehensive biblical research tool to incorporate fully the history of interpretation and reception of biblical themes, concepts and characters  in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, other religions, and the Arts—literature, visual arts, music, dance and film–into an encyclopedic treatment of the Bible. 20 volumes have been published so far (A-N).

The Jewish Women’s Archive

Online archive with an excellent, up-to-date encyclopedia and other resources.

Reference Guide to Holocaust Literature.

University of Illinois Library Resource in Jewish Studies

Collected resources of interest for Judaism and Literature.