ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I wrote The Talmud: A Biography because I have had so many conversations over the years with people who had heard of the Talmud but didn’t really know what it was.

Traditionally, writers have tried to to bring the Talmud to a wider audience by compiling anthologies or publishing extracts. Some of these are excellent, I’ve mentioned a few on this website.

But extracts and anthologies do not fully explain why the Talmud is such an important, and yet in many ways neglected, part of world culture. It is as ancient as many of the world’s classics, lengthier than possibly any other, complex in its composition, frequently profound in its content and it has had a far more tumultuous story than most. A story which is not contained in the words on its pages. It was this story, or at least a good part of it, which I have tried to tell.

Most people who have had a good Jewish education have studied, or at least dipped into the Talmud. We value it because it is, as I have tried to explain in the book, the foundation of Judaism. We rarely stop to acknowledge it as part of our cultural heritage. Yet, in a world which is far more culturally interconnected than ever before, the Talmud is not just the heritage of the Jews. It is a classic of world literature. And its story deserves to be told.

I am now writing The Murderous History of Bible Translations, to be published by Bloomsbury n early 2016. . Nearly all of us have a copy of Bible on our bookshelves. We take it for granted that we can read the Bible in our native language or, if we choose, in all most any other language under the sun. But translating the Bible was not always allowed. There was a time when religious authorities feared giving ordinary people access to it; in case they got the ‘wrong’ ideas. Of course what the authorities really feared was that they would lose control. People lost their lives translating the Bible, and even when translations were eventually permitted they remined controversial. It’s a gripping story.

Before I started writing I had a varied and fascinating career, full of variety and change.

I started by setting up and running a wholefood restaurant in Devon. Since then I have run companies in property, construction, health care and consultancy and I've worked as a chief executive in the voluntary sector. For the last fifteen years or so I have been coaching people to help them make the most of their careers.

I discovered quite early on that I need variety as well as challenges. I went back to university, part time, and studied first for an MA and then a PhD, on an obscure Aramaic translation of the Bible. I started writing articles on academic topics and social issues, contributing occasionally to books and, when I got a bit more time, writing my own.

I've got two great, grown up kids, one grandchild (so far!) a wonderful wife and I live close to the centre of London, which is a fantastic location. I hope you will like my books, and, if you do, buy them and recommend them to your friends.

Please use the Contact page if you have any questions about the book or about anything on this website. If you’d like to read more about my work and my other books, please take a look at www.harryfreedmanbooks.com.

Thank you for reading.

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