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The Talmud in Korea: A Study in the Reception of Rabbinic Literature

  • Sarit Kattan Gribetz (a1) and Claire Kim (a1)


This article examines the reception of rabbinic literature in South Korea, focusing on a series of books titled Talmud (T'almudŭ). We analyze dozens of volumes published between 1979 and 2016, identifying the subgenres that have been produced, individual editions that exemplify the development and diversity of the editions, and the religious traditions—Jewish, Confucian, and Christian—with which these books engage. The article also reflects on the place and significance of these Korean texts in the long reception of rabbinic literature.


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Many thanks to Fordham University's Theology Department, Program in Jewish Studies, and the Dean's Fund for supporting this research; Rabbi Marvin Tokayer for his time, generosity, and insight; Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein for helpful conversations; Menachem Butler, Guy Podoler, and Dafna Zur for bibliographic assistance; Nina Rowe for art historical insights; Gregg Gardner, Jonathan Gribetz, and Aaron Rubin for reading a draft; Young Kil Kim and Jong Sook Kim for help with translation; Hyoungbae Lee for Romanization; Elizabeth Vernon for sharing Harvard University Library's list of Korean Judaica with us; the anonymous reviewers and AJS Review editors for critical feedback; and Aviva Arad for meticulous copy editing and help throughout the publication process. We presented parts of this article at the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting in Seoul (July 2016), the Association for Jewish Studies Conference in San Diego (December 2016), and the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in New York (June 2017).



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1. Harvard University has started collecting Korean Judaica in the last few years and has acquired a substantial list of titles already.

2. Ross Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller in South Korea,” New Yorker, June 23, 2015, online edition.

3. On Menachem Mendel Schneerson, including his vision for global Jewry, see Telushkin, Joseph, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History (New York: HarperCollins, 2016); Heilman, Samuel and Friedman, Menachem, The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010); Miller, Chaim, Turning Judaism Outwards: A Biography of the Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (Brooklyn, NY: Kol Menachem, 2014). For a fuller account of Tokayer's decision to move to Japan, see Elliot Resnick, “Tales from the Far East: An Interview with Rabbi Marvin Tokayer,” Jewish Press, October 1, 2015,

4. Tokayer writes about some of his experiences as chaplain in Tokayer, Marvin and Rodman, Ellen, Pepper, Silk, and Ivory: Amazing Stories about Jews and the Far East (Jerusalem: Gefen, 2014), 4355.

5. As told to us by Rabbi Tokayer in an interview in his home in Great Neck, New York, June 2016. The story about Rabbi Tokayer's years in Japan and the publication of his books is based on his recollections.

6. Hideaki Kase currently leads the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, which advocates a revisionist history of Japan (denying the country's atrocities during World War II) and states in its mission statement that it seeks to make this narrative accessible to English-speaking audiences,

7. Interview with Tokayer, June 2016.

8. Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller.”

9. The publisher, Jitsugyō no Nihonsha, later requested that Tokayer author other books on Jewish themes. A partial list of Tokayer's Japanese publications can be found in Goodman, David and Miyazawa, Masanori, Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype, expanded ed. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2000), 9 and 292 n. 13: Yudaya hassō no kyōi [The wonder of Jewish thought], trans. Kase Hideaki (Tokyo: Jitsugyō no Nihonsha, 1972); Yudaya jōkushū [Jewish jokes], trans. Sukegawa Akira (Tokyo: Jitsugyō no Nihonsha, 1973); Yudaya kakugenshū [Jewish proverbs], trans. Sukegawa Akira (Tokyo: Jitsugyō no Nihonsha, 1975); Yudaya to Nihon: nazo no kodaishi [The Jews and Japan: The riddle of ancient history], trans. Hakozaki Sōichirō (Tokyo: Sangyō nōritsu daigaku shuppanbu, 1975); and Yudayajin no hassō [The Jewish way of thinking], trans. Kase Hideaki (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 1978). Tokayer is also the coauthor, with Swartz, Mary, of The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews during World War II (New York: Paddington, 1979).

10. Though Tokayer's book on the Talmud was only meant to serve as a preliminary introduction to rabbinic sources, there have been other efforts in Japan to study the Talmud. Jack Halpern published over a dozen books in Japanese about Judaism (e.g., The Jewish Mind and the Japanese Mind), and, according to David Goodman and Masanori Miyazawa, in 1990 he was working on an English-Aramaic-Hebrew-Japanese computer database that would serve as a translation of the Talmud (Goodman and Miyazawa, Jews in the Japanese Mind, 9). The details of an ongoing Japanese translation of the entire Babylonian Talmud, edited by Tomoo Ishida and Hiroshi Ichikawa, is described in a recent article as well: Ichikawa, Hiroshi, “Prospects of Japanese Translation of the Babylonian Talmud,” PaRDes: Zeitschrift der Vereinigung Für Jüdische Studien e.V. 23 (2017): 183–98. A brief summary of the state of Jewish studies in Japan and East Asia can be found in Levtzion, Nehemia, “Facing the Future,” in Teaching Jewish Civilization: A Global Approach to Higher Education, ed. Davis, Moshe (New York: New York University Press, 1995), 246–48, and in a paper by Yu Takeuchi of Kumamoto University titled “The Rise of Interest in Jewish Studies in Japanese Academia,” According to Takeuchi, the oldest Jewish studies association in Japan, the Nihon Isuraeru Bunka Kyōkai (Japan Association for Jewish Studies), was originally founded in 1960 in Tokyo and was renamed the Nihon Yudaya Gakkai (Japan Society for Jewish Studies) in 2006. In 2004, Professor Ada Taggar-Cohen began a program of Jewish studies at the Faculty of Theology in Doshisha University.

11. On the Vilna edition of the Talmud, see Michael Stanislawski, “The ‘Vilna Shas’ and East European Jewry,” in Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein, ed. Sharon Liberman Mintz and Gabriel M. Goldstein (New York: Yeshiva University Museum, 2005), 97–102.

12. On translations of foreign fairy tales and children's stories from Japanese to Korean in the early twentieth century, see Zur, Dafna, “‘They Are Still Eating Well and Living Well’: The Grimms’ Tales in Early Colonial Korea,” in Grimms’ Tales around the Globe: The Dynamics of Their International Reception, ed. Joosen, Vanessa and Lathey, Gillian (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2014), 99117, and Hyun, Theresa, “Changing Paradigms, Shifting Loyalties: Translation of Children's Literature in Colonial Korea (1900–1940) and North Korea (1940–1960),” in Agency and Patronage in Eastern Translatology, ed. Ankit, Ahmed and Faiq, Said (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), 2334. The Chinese reception of Tokayer's book, and of the Talmud more generally, is beyond the scope of this paper. On Jewish studies in China, see Fu, Youde, “Between East and West: Jewish Philosophy and Its Significance to Modern Chinese Philosophy,” Literature, History and Philosophy 2 (2003); Fu, , “Jewish Studies in China in the Past 60 Years,” Journal of Jewish Studies 9 (2010); Lihong, Song, “Reflections on Chinese Jewish Studies: A Comparative Perspective,” in The Image of Jews in Contemporary China, ed. Ross, James and Lihong, Song (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2016), 206–34. Several popular media pieces were published about the reception of rabbinic texts in China, e.g., Isaac Stone Fish, “In China, Pushing the Talmud as a Business Guide,” Newsweek, December 19, 2010,; and James Ross, “China's Search for the Secrets of Jewish Success,” Tablet Magazine, January 2, 2016,

13. Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller.”

14. Ibid.

15. According to Tokayer, he was not notified by the Korean publishers about these translations. By the early 1980s, however, he did learn of their existence. On the inside flap of a 1984 reprint of the original 1975 edition of 5,000 Years of Jewish Wisdom (Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ: Yut'ae 5-ch'ŏnnyŏn ŭi chihye, trans. yŏk, Kim Sang-gi [Seoul: T'aejong Ch'ulp'ansa, 1984]), there is a photograph of a letter sent by Tokayer to the publisher, which reads: “Dear Mr. Wang, I am very appreciative of the 100,000 Won given to my friend Bernard Krisher of Newsweek Magazine. I lived in Japan for 8 years and wrote more than ten books in Japanese about the Jewish people. Some of the books were translated into Korean and I am told they were quite successful. I wrote about Jewish ideas, humor, proverbs, business and education. Please feel free to write to me about the possibility of writing for the Korean public. I may visit Tokyo in April or May for a few days. Perhaps at that time I can visit Seoul as well. When I was with USAF, 1962–1964, I was at OSAN AB and Taegu AB. I look forward to visiting Korea, again. Best wishes, Marvin Tokayer.” The letter indicates that Tokayer was eager to collaborate with the publisher, and though the publisher printed the letter alongside a photo of the rabbi, it is unclear whether the publisher reached out to Tokayer himself.

16. Arbes reports that Chul-whan Sung, of Maekyung Media Group's book publishing division, guessed that about 80 percent of the South Korean population had read some version of the Korean Talmud; that over eight hundred different books, published by over three hundred publishers, appear under “Talmud” in the National Digital Library of Korea; that the books consistently appear on the most-purchased list at Kyobo, South Korea's largest bookstore; and that Dr. Jeongso Jeon, who studies children's education at Bucheon University, estimated that when all of the editions are combined, it is the second best-selling book in South Korea, after the Bible, though not everyone agrees with this assessment. Arbes also notes that every bookstore sells copies of the book, and Seoul's Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Litzman, who has been living in Seoul since 2008, and whose website advertises Sunday afternoon Torah study classes for those interested in “the richness of our tradition and the wisdom it offers” in addition to Sabbath meals and other community events, has found the Korean Talmuds at convenience stores, train-station kiosks, and vending machines. (During our research trip to Seoul, we did not find Talmuds in vending machines or kiosks.) All these figures are taken from Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller.”

17. Book publishing in Korea is very competitive, and so available statistics are often difficult to discern given publishing and promotion tactics, which sometimes include the purchasing of publications by publishers and others to raise sales figures. We thank the anonymous reviewer for alerting us to this phenomenon.

18. We also examined images of the covers of over seventy other editions available on Amazon.

19. In addition, four of the thirty best sellers prominently displayed at a table in the front of the bookstore were devoted to Jewish themes. (The Talmuds themselves were kept on shelves elsewhere in the store.) Those books included Kal, Peni, Yudaein insaeng ŭi pimil [Life secrets of the Jewish people], trans. Sang-ŭn, Pak (Seoul: At'emp'o Ch'ulp'ansa, 2012), which asks, on its cover, “What has made them so special?”; Wiesel, Elie, Nach'isŭ wa Yudaein [Nazis and the Jews], trans. yŏk, Kim Pŏm-gyŏng (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Han'gŭl, 1999), which is a Korean translation of Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, Day; Telushkin, Rabbi Joseph, Chukki chŏn e han pŏn ŭn Yudaein ege murŏra [Ask a Jewish person at least once before you die and meet a Jewish person at least once before you die], trans. Mu-gyŏm, Kim (Seoul: Puksŭnŏt Ch'ulp'ansa, 2013), the English subtitles printed beneath these two Korean titles say “Jewish Wisdom” and “The Book of Jewish Values.”

20. We found various different editions of a translation of Abraham Cohen's Everyman's Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages, first published in English in 1932. The Korean translations of this text were published as Cohen, Abraham, Ch'ŏse T'almudŭ [Way of the Talmud], trans. yŏk, Wŏn Ŭng-sun (Gwajgu: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Han'gŭl, 1991); and idem, T'ora T'almudŭ [Torah-Talmud] (Gwangju: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Han'gŭl, 1998), in conjunction with the Korean Christian Society (Han'guk K'ŭrisŭch'ŏn Munhakka Hyŏphoe). We found Mandino, Og, Sarainnŭn T'almudŭ: sesang esŏ kajang widaehan sŏnggong [The life of the Talmud], trans. Kye-sŏng, Son (Seoul: Ŭlchi Munhwasa, 1996), which is a translation of Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman in the World (first published in English in 1968 by Bantam), including his “ten simple scrolls” for success in business, prefaced by an introduction about the Talmud and some highlights from rabbinic sources (which are not part of Mandino's original English best seller). We also found Kahaner, Larry, Pijŭnisŭ T'almudŭ [Business Talmud], trans. Myŏng-ch'ŏl, Kim (Seoul: Yemun Ch'ulp'ansa, 2004), a translation of Kahaner's, Larry Values, Prosperity, and the Talmud: Business Lessons from the Ancient Rabbis (Hoboken: John Wiley, 2003). This book, with a clear religious dimension, contains chapters about “The Spirituality of Money,” “Work as a Holy Act,” and others about paying workers fairly, the ethics of profit, and additional business-related topics. Tokayer, Marvin, Chonghap T'almudŭ [The collected Talmud: A collection of many books], trans. P'ung-ja, Chŏn (Paju: Pŏmusa, 1998) lists Tokayer as the author on the title page, but the book is divided into three parts, the first of which is Tokayer's text about the Talmud. The second section is a translation of part of a book by Goldin, Judah, probably an excerpt from The Living Talmud: The Wisdom of the Fathers and Its Classical Commentaries (New York: New American Library, 1957). The third section is titled “The Talmud's Way of Life” and attributed to Victor Solomon. Most recently, in 2005, Young-Chol Choe, a professor at Seoul Jangsin University, translated Adin Steinsaltz's The Essential Talmud into Korean; this edition is used in university classes. There are also a considerable number of academic books in Korean about midrash and biblical interpretation, which we did not examine in this study. The academic field of biblical studies in South Korea is expansive as well, and no doubt also includes work on rabbinic literature in that context. On the prevalence of Korean students in biblical studies degree programs in Israel, see Ofri Ilany, “Koreans Dominate the Bible Studies at Hebrew U.,” Haaretz, June 11, 2008, There are also Korean translations of other books related to Judaism and Jewish studies, including titles (in alphabetical order) by Yohanan Aharoni, Shmuel Boteach, Michael Chabon, Joseph Dan, Jonathan Safran Foer, Anne Frank, Viktor Frankl, Louis Ginzburg, James Kugel, Primo Levi, Steve Mason, George W. E. Nickelsburg, Uri Orlev, Amos Oz, Randall Price, Philip Roth, Ruth Shilo, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Art Spiegelman, Telushkin, Joseph, and Wiesel, Elie. Most recently, a Korean translation of Ilana Kurshan's If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir (New York: St. Martin's, 2017), about the author's seven-year journey studying daf yomi, was published by Salim Publishing Company in Seoul in June 2018.

21. Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ: 5000-yŏn Yudaein chihye ŭi kyogwasŏ [Talmud: 5,000 years of lessons and wisdom, the guidebook for Jews], trans. yŏk, Chŏng Chong-dŏk (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Majungsŏ, 2009), as well as earlier printings of this book. Additional books include Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ: 5,000-yŏn Yut'aein ŭi chihye [Talmud: 5,000 years of Jewish wisdom], trans. Ae-yŏng, O (1986; repr., Masan: Hagwŏnsa, 1990); idem, Kanginhago chihyeroun Yudaein 5000-yŏn kŭ sam ŭi chich'imsŏ [Talmud, the strong and wise Jews, their life of wisdom], trans. Yi Ch'an-il (Seoul: Sŏnyŏngsa, 1990); idem, T'almudŭ: illyu ege chunŭn chihye ŭi posŏk sangja [Talmud: A wisdom treasure box given to the people], trans. Ŭn Che-ro (Seoul: K'ŏnk'oldiasa, 1992). The editions are too numerous to list here in full.

22. T'almudŭ: Yudaeindŭl ŭi widaehan chihye [The Talmud: The powerful wisdom of the Jews] (Seoul: Samjisa P'yŏnjippu, Samjisa); no publication date is listed, nor are there page numbers for the introductory section. The Talmud is not actually 5,000 years old, but rather about 1,500 years old.

23. T'almudŭ: Yudaein ŭi saenggak hanŭn pangsik ŭl paeuge hanŭn ch'aek [Talmud: The book that teaches the ways Jewish people think], trans. Yi Tong-min (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Indibuk, 2000).

24. Lee, Talmud. This language echoes Deuteronomy 6:7, the commandment to study, recite, and transmit words of Torah “when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up.” The description of the Talmud's study each day in the morning and on subways also evokes the contemporary popular practice of daf yomi.

25. E.g., Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ [Talmud], trans. T'ae-il, Kwŏn (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Chagŭn Ssiat, 2004); idem, T'almudŭ [Talmud], trans. Cho Chang-hŭi (Seoul: Ch'aek Mandŭnŭn Chip, 2002); idem, T'almudŭ [Talmud], trans. Chŏng Ta-mun (Daejun: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an P'ullip, 2005).

26. E.g., see the introduction in Lee, Talmud, 7.

27. T'almudŭ: Haengbok han nae insaeng ŭl wihan sam ŭi chich'imsŏ [Talmud: A guidebook for my happy life], trans. Pak Ch'an-hŭi (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Kkum kwa Hŭimang, 2006), 69, 37, 35, 46; we are unsure to whom “Collin” refers in the attribution.

28. Lee, Talmud, 37.

29. Cha-sŏng, Hong, T'almudŭ Ch'aegŭndam: sesang ŭl iginŭn kajang widaehan chihye [Talmud/Caigentan: The most powerful wisdom to win over the world], trans. Kihoeksil, Hwiniksŭ (Seoul: Hwiniksŭ, 2013).

30. Geremie Barmé explains the turn to the Caigentan in China in the late 1980s and thereafter as follows: “As the editors of Beijing Youth News noted at a forum on the book, Chinese society is going through a period of complex and confusing social change; foreign self-help books from [Dale] Carnegie to works on social intercourse and body language have risen and fallen in popularity: now it is time for a home-grown product like Caigentan to storm the market.” Barmé, Geremie, “The Greying of Chinese Culture,” China Review 13 (1992): 34. According to this account, the text was embraced anew at a time when people were turning to Western ideas as guides for living well. It makes good sense, then, that it is a text such as the Caigentan that is paired and compared with the Talmud.

31. Another book, Yŏng-gyu, Chang, T'almudŭ wa Tong-Sŏyang ŭi kojŏn [Talmud and the East/West classics] (Daegu: Taegu Taehakkyo Ch'ulp'anbu, 2003), puts the Talmud, Caigentan, Tao Te Ching, and the Analects of Confucius in parallel with one another. It presents the Talmud as aphorisms numbered 1–262; the Caigentan is also written as numbered sayings, but each passage is translated into English (the talmudic passages are not). There is a final chapter titled “A Comparison of Western and Eastern Civilization” by Choi Young-Jin, printed in both English and Korean. There are numerous comparative academic studies of Jewish and Confucian texts, ethics, and histories as well, e.g., Youde, Fu, “Hebrew Prophets and Confucian Sages: A Comparison,” China Social Science 6 (2009); Shamir, Galia Patt, To Broaden the Way: A Confucian-Jewish Dialogue (Oxford: Lexington Books, 2006); Yao, Xinzhong, Wisdom in Early Confucian and Israelite Traditions (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).

32. The Talmud: The Powerful Wisdom of the Jews.

33. Ibid., 14–29.

34. A list of other books in the series can be found on the inside flap of The Talmud: The Powerful Wisdom of the Jews.

35. T'almudŭ: Haengbok han nae insaeng ŭl wihan sam ŭi chich'imsŏ [Talmud: My guidebook for a happy life], trans. yŏkkŭm, Pak Ch'an-hŭi (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Kkum kwa Hŭimang, 2007); Song-nim, Ch'oe, Nae insaeng ŭl pyŏnhwa sik'inŭn chihye T'almudŭ [Change your life with the wisdom of the Talmud] (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Chisik Sŏgwan, 2011); Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ ŭi saengmyŏngnyŏk [The Talmud's lifeline], trans. Yong-su, Hyŏn (Seoul: Tonga Ilbosa, 2007); Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ ŭi chamŏnjip [The Talmud's proverbs], trans. Yong-su, Hyŏn (Seoul: Tonga Ilbosa, 2009); Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ ŭi usŭm [The Talmud's laughter], trans. Yong-su, Hyŏn (Seoul: Tonga Ilbosa, 2009).

36. The Talmud: The Powerful Wisdom of the Jews.

37. It is important to note that the Korean communities in Seoul and Los Angeles are obviously distinct, and we are not conflating them here, but rather highlighting the existence of this bilingual edition available in the United States. Other books appear in this English-Korean series as well, so the book does not claim that the Talmud is exclusively meant for teaching English; still, the book serves this purpose, and serves similar pedagogical purposes in several editions for children as well, explored further below.

38. This subgenre of Talmuds seems also to be popular in China. In Taiwan, there is a chain of hotels called “Talmud Hotel,” which is described on the company's website as providing “a unique travel experience for both business and leisure visitors.” It is “named after a holy book contains [sic] a collection of ancient rabbinic writings on Jewish law and traditions. The word has the following meanings: ‘Instruction, Learning, Teach and Study.’ Inspired by the Talmud theory, the owner uses red interior to add a splash of fashion and professionalism.” In a twist on the Bible or the Book of Mormon found in some hotel night tables, a copy of Talmud: Business Success Bible can be found in every room, “for anyone who would like to experience the Talmud way of becoming successful,”; also discussed in Barry Scott Wimpfheimer, The Talmud: A Biography (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018), 244.

39. Han-gu, Ch'oe, T'almudŭ ŭi kwihyang [The Talmud's return home] (Ulsan: Sŏnggwang Munhwasa, 2009). The English title, which also appears on the cover, reads Saga of the Hebrew II: Genius of Money and Education.

40. The entire list includes: “Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, Steven Spielberg, George Soros, Rothschild, Alvin Toffler, Alan Greenspan, Albert Einstein, Joseph Pulitzer, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Noam Chomsky, Thomas Edison, Henry Kissinger, Michael Dell, Calvin Klein, Erich Fromm, Marc Chagall, Woody Allen, Milton Hershey, Levi Strauss, Steven Ballmer, Estee Lauder, Leon Trotskii [sic], Paul Newman, Nostradamus, Gustav Mahler.” Not all of these figures are, in fact, Jewish. Ok, Kim, T'almudŭ esŏ Mak'ŭ Chŏk'ŏbŏgŭ kkaji: tasi paeunŭn Yut'aein ŭi 78-kaji chihye [From the Talmud to Mark Zuckerberg: Relearn the 78 types of Jewish wisdom] (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Tŏsup, 2011). In English, the book's title is listed simply as The Jews.

41., accessed September 2015. We viewed this interview on YouTube, but by the time we completed this article the video had been removed for copyright infringement. The quotations are therefore taken from Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller.” Some of the media sources that discussed the story include Ynet (,7340,L-4046985,00.html), (, Jewish Mag (, and (

42. We do not know if such an estimate is factual, or was made for rhetorical effect, as the ambassador referenced the popularity of these books of talmudic stories in the context of promoting intercultural relations between Israel and South Korea. Discussion of the Talmud was part of this broader initiative.

43. Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller.”

44. Some of the Talmuds marketed to adults also include illustrations or photographs, but those produced for children are noticeably more child oriented, colorful, and playful. On the earlier history of children's literature in Korea, see Zur, Dafna, Figuring Korean Futures: Children's Literature in Modern Korea (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017), and the dissertation on which this book is based, idem, “The Construction of the Child in Korean Children's Magazines, 1908–1950” (PhD diss., University of British Columbia, 2011).

45. Minu, , Ch'ŏngsonyŏn ŭl wihan T'almudŭ [Talmud for children] (Seoul: Chagŭn K'i Namu, 2007); Ch'aek, Sesang Modŭn, Ch'odŭng haksaeng ŭl wihan T'almudŭ 111-kaji [111 Talmud stories for elementary school students] (Seoul: Sesang Modŭn Ch'aek Ch'ulp'an, 2002); P'yŏnjippu, Chigyŏngsa, T'almudŭ iyagi [Talmud stories] (Seoul: Chigyŏngsa P'yŏnjippu, 1996); Chŏng-yŏng, Han, Shwipke ilko shwipke ihae hanŭn aju t'ŭkpyŏl han T'almudŭ [The very special Talmud: Easily read, easily understood] (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Kŭlseum, 2009); Yŏng-man, Kim, Ŏmma appa ka tŭllyŏ chunŭn T'almudŭ [Mom and Dad read me the Talmud] (Paju: Kŭmjandi Ch'ulp'ansa, 2010); Chong-sun, Cho, Uri ai ch'ŏt T'almudŭ [Baby's first Talmud] (Seoul: Hyoriwŏn, 2012). Other titles include: Su-hyŏn, Pak, T'almudŭ iyagi [Talmud stories: 50 stories of wisdom in one book] (Seoul: Aijŭl Ch'ulp'ansa, 2012); P'ir-wŏn, , Maŭm e saegimyŏn pit i toenŭn iyagi! T'almudŭ [Stories that become light when entering the soul] (Seoul: Ai Seum, 2011); Sang-nam, Han, Sollomon poda chihyeroun T'almudŭ 100-tae irhwa [The Talmud: More wise than Solomon, 100 stories] (Seoul: Samsŏng Ch'ulp'ansa, 2011); T'ae-wŏn, Chang, Ŏrini T'almudŭ [Children's Talmud I] (Seoul: Ebenesel, 2008); Mi-jŏng, Kim, Ch'odŭng haksaeng ttae kkok ilgŏya hal T'almudŭ chihye tonghwa 7-kaji [Seven stories of talmudic wisdom that must be read in elementary school] (Seoul: Sŭk'op'ŭ, 2014); Myŏng-suk, Yi, Altchabaegi kyogwasŏ sangsik T'almudŭ p'yŏn [Textbook of knowledge, Talmud edition] (Seoul: Ch'aeuri, 2011); Chŏng-hun, Kang, Ŏrini rŭl wihan T'almudŭ [The Talmud for children] (Goyang: Sŏngsŏwŏn, 2011).

46. T'ae-gwang, Kim, Lidŏsip ŭl k'iunŭn T'almudŭ [Talmud: Fostering leadership] (Seoul: Charam Ch'ulp'an, 2011); Yŏng-ho, Chŏn, Chŏn Yŏng-ho ŭi utchŭl utchŭl T'almudŭ [Young Ho Jun's Talmud] (Seoul: Hyŏn Kihoek, 2007); Tokayer, Marvin, Ch'ŏngsonyŏn T'almudŭ [Talmud for children], trans. Hye-jŏng, Wŏn (Paju: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Maewŏltang, 2006); Kongjakso, Kŭl, Ttokttokhan nolli T'almudŭ [The Talmud: Smart problem solving] (Paju: Arŭmdaun Saramdŭl, 2010); Sin-sik, Pak, Ilki marhagi tŭtki ssŭgi nŭngnyŏk ŭl kirŭnŭn T'almudŭ nonsul [Talmud: Writing exercises] (Seoul: Taeil Ch'ulp'ansa, 2008); Ch'ae-yŏng, Im, Sŏnggong hanŭn ŏrini ro k'iwŏ chunŭn T'almudŭ [Talmud: The text to raise a successful child] (Seoul: Kagyo Ch'ulp'an, 2010).

47. E.g., Sŏng-uk, Ko, Ttokttokhan manhwa kyogwasŏ T'almudŭ [Smart Manhwa guidebook: The Talmud] (Seoul: Kyerim Puksŭ, 2006). There are also a few editions of a book titled Worldly Stories with More Wisdom Than the Talmud, e.g. Silp'ŭ, Magarit, T'almudŭ poda chihyeroun segye tonghwa, trans. Sŏn-hŭi, Yi (Seoul: K'ŭn Puk Chagŭn Puk, 2012). Rabbinic sources are also adapted for children's use in Jewish publications aimed at a Jewish audience, e.g., The Little Midrash Says: A Digest of the Weekly Torah-Portion based on Rashi, Rishonim, and Midrashim, New Midrashim and Stories (New York: Benei Yakov Publications, 1987). We might group these children's versions of the Korean Talmud together with such books that introduce Jewish sources to children, though in the Korean books the audience is not Jewish children but Korean children.

48. Ch'un-ja, Nam, Manhwa ŏrini T'almudŭ [Children's cartoon Talmud] (Seoul: Ŭnhasu Midiŏ, 2001).

49. The term “bridal mask” in Korean is pronounced gak- shi- tal, which explains the third child's confusion and word association. The dog uses the ”-mud” part of Talmud, and assumes it is a “mood” book. Both of these are pronounced the same way in Korean.

50. Children's Cartoon Talmud, 298–302.

51. Ibid., 302–5. In the rabbinic version, Hillel is asked to explain the entire Torah on one foot, as the Talmud had not yet been composed during his lifetime!

52. Based on Leviticus 19:18, “love your neighbor as yourself,” and adapted from the Babylonian Talmud, דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד.

53. While this book is marketed for children, it remains a version of Tokayer's anthology of rabbinic stories and sayings, even when it appears in the form of comics. In recent Chinese editions, the contents of Tokayer's books have been transformed into illustrated children's books. Each individual story is told in its own book, with vibrant illustrations alongside each line of narrative and a back page with guiding questions to encourage parents to engage their children in conversation about the values each story promotes. (Whether all these stories originate in rabbinic sources is difficult to tell. So far we have not found strong parallels, though some of them sound more rabbinic than others.) They resemble the Jewish children's books that have been produced by the Jewish Federation's PJ Library program in the last decade—the size of the books, the style of the illustrations, the production of the pages, and the framing with guides and questions—which are also aimed at introducing young (in this case Jewish) children to core Jewish values in inviting and universalistic terms without assuming previous knowledge about Judaism. On PJ Library, see Gross, Rachel, “People of the Picture Book: PJ Library and American Jewish Religion,” in Religion and Popular Culture in America, ed. Forbes, Bruce David and Mahan, Jeffrey H., 3rd ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), 177–94.

54. Seth, Michael J., Education Fever: Society, Politics, and the Pursuit of Schooling in South Korea (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2002). See also Shin, Jung Cheol, “Higher Education Development in Korea: Western University Ideas, Confucian Tradition, and Economic Development,” Higher Education 64, no. 1 (2012): 5972.

55. According to Seth, Korean focus on education was part of a global “educational revolution” in the post–World War II era, and yet also stands out for its intensity.

56. Sorensen, Clark W., “Success and Education in South Korea,” Comparative Education Review 38, no. 1 (1994): 1035.

57. Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller.”

58. On the educational system, see Sorensen, “Success and Education in South Korea,” 10–35.

59. On cooperative learning initiatives in South Korea, see Yun Suh-young, “Creativity Comes from Cooperative Learning,” Korea Times, March 21, 2012,, and Jieun Choi, “A Jewish Learning Method Catches on in South Korean Hagwons,” Korea Expose 27 (March 2017), Pedagogy was also a topic of discussion during a press release of a new set of Korean Talmuds, attended by Tokayer (interview June 2016).

60. Sorensen, “Success and Education in South Korea,” 27.

61. Though these are by no means representative of all mothers nor should be treated as a scientific survey, we found interesting reflections about the Talmud on several parenting blogs. One mother writes about having purchased a multivolume set of Aesop's Fables and Talmud Stories, and she raves about how much her children love to read the colorful books and how they overlap with the school's curriculum. She ends her blog post by advertising the series: “Want to know how to raise witty and wise children? With the help of the witty Aesop's Fables and Talmud Stories full of wisdom,” A second blog post, titled “Children's Books: Witty Aesop Tales and Wise Talmud Stories, How Our Family Met the Entire Collection of Books,” begins with a mother wishing that she would have purchased the books earlier, because they are so valuable. She writes: “The Talmud is a book that all people read at least once. There is obviously a reason why it is the second most widely read book after the Bible. It even has the nickname of ‘the guidebook of the Jews.’ The Talmud teaches about different duties in life as well as life lessons. It is a book that can help give people a better attitude about life, so I prepared these books for my children to read as well,”

62. Chae-dŏk, Yu, Ŏpkŭreidŭ T'almudŭ t'aegyo tonghwa [Talmud: Prenatal stories, fostering the wisdom and emotions of your baby], 2 vol. (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Somangsa, 2013).

63. Ibid.

64. Cline, Erin M., Families of Virtue: Confucian and Western Views on Childhood Development (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), xiii.

65. Kinney, Anne Behnke, ed., Chinese Views of Childhood (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1995), 27; see Kinney's entire discussion, 27–32; Xiang, Liu, Exemplary Women of Early China, trans. Kinney, Anne Behnke (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).

66. Ibid., 27. Kinney writes that “the notion that the manner in which a project is begun will affect all of its subsequent development has antecedents in the Daede jing and the Book of Changes.

67. On the history of Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism in Korea, see Deuchler, Martina, The Confucian Transformation of Korea: A Study of Society and Ideology (Cambridge: Harvard Yenching Institute, 1992); idem, “Propagating Female Virtues in Chosôn Korea,” in Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan, ed. Dorothy Ko, JaHyun Kim Haboush, and Joan R. Piggott (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 142–69; Duncan, John, “Confucian Social Values in Contemporary South Korea,” in Religion and Society in Contemporary Korea, ed. Lancaster, Lewis R. and Payne, Richard K. (Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies, 1997), 4973; Elman, Benjamin A., Duncan, John B., and Ooms, Herman, eds., Rethinking Confucianism: Past and Present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam (Los Angeles: UCLA Asian Pacific Monograph Series, 2002), esp. 431–62; Kim, Youngmin and Pettid, Michael J., eds., Women and Confucianism in Choson Korea: New Perspectives (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2011); Grayson, James Huntley, Korea: A Religious History, rev. ed. (New York: Routledge, 2002), esp. 177–83.

68. B. Niddah 30b.

69. Immediately before birth, an angel slaps the baby, causing the newborn to forget all of the Torah learned in utero; the implication is that the baby no longer knows Torah and therefore ought to devote the remainder of life to pursuing and studying the forgotten Torah. A later rabbinic tradition, preserved in Midrash Tanḥuma, likewise describes a baby's intrauterine education, though, as Gwynn Kessler has observed, in this version the baby retains the commandments and rules learned during gestation. In fact, the baby can only be born if it has “accepted the Torah and its commandments, and in doing so, internalized the covenant, ensuring both the fetus's future and that of the covenant.” Kessler, Gwynn, Conceiving Israel: The Fetus in Rabbinic Narratives (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), 3436. In a more contemporary setting, Michal Raucher has lectured about the role of books in the pregnancy experiences of Orthodox Israeli women. Raucher argues that Haredi women become literate, and a part of Jewish book culture, through their embodied experiences of bearing children and the literature that is generated to mold and give meaning to the time of pregnancy. We might even conclude that rabbinic literature (Halakhah and Aggadah) is mediated through these pregnancy manuals, and these women become scholars also of the Talmud, or at least talmudic wisdom, by reading them. Michal Raucher, “What to Expect When You Are Haredi and Expecting: An Analysis of Pregnancy Advice Books for Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) Women” (paper delivered at the American Association of Religion Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, November 2015).

70. Though it is important to note that in the rabbinic narratives it is deliberately not the mother who teaches her child Torah, as women are not obligated in Torah study, but rather the child receives instruction through miraculous, divine, or angelic means.

71. Min, Anselm K., Korean Religions in Relation: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2016).

72. Lee, Talmud. The cover image is of MS. A. VII, folio 1 verso, Prague Cathedral, Chapter Library. A reproduction is found in Dodwell, Charles R., The Pictorial Arts of the West, 800–1200, vol. 27 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), 314. Many thanks to Nina Rowe for helping us identify the image.

73. Both of these are different editions of Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ: Yudae minjok 5-ch'ŏnnyŏn ŭi chihye wa ch'ŏrhak [Talmud: 5,000 years of Jewish wisdom and philosophy], trans. Yŏng-su, O (Seoul: Chisŏng Munhwasa, 2015).

74. On Christianity in Korea, including differences between Protestantism and Catholicism in Korea, see Min, Korean Religions in Relation; Oak, Sung-Deuk, The Making of Korean Christianity: Protestant Encounters with Korean Religions, 1876–1915 (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2013); essays 20–25 in Buswell, Robert E. Jr., ed., Religions of Korea in Practice (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 355434; Yu, Chai-Shin, The Founding of Catholic Tradition in Korea (Fremont, CA: Asian Humanities Press / Jain Publishing Company, 1996); Grayson, James Huntley, Korea: A Religious History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 176212; Yu, Eui Young and Philips, Earl, Religions in Korea: Beliefs and Cultural Values (Los Angeles: California State University, Los Angeles, 1982); Palmer, Spencer, Korea and Christianity: The Problem of Identification with Tradition (Seoul: Royal Asiatic Society, 1967).

75. Grayson, Korea: A Religious History, 2; see also the statistics in Lewis, Cherie S., Koreans and Jews (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1994), 3.

76. p'yŏnjŏ, Sin Sin-muk, T'almudŭ: Han'guk Kidokkyo ŭi chidoja [Talmud: Korean Christianity's guide] (Seoul: Elmaen Ch'ulp'ansa, 2008).

77. E.g., images of a boy at his bar mitzvah, a Haredi Jew walking in the streets of a Haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem, the yarmulke of a praying man, young children at school, light bulbs, open doors, clocks, landscapes, animals, and so on.

78. Ha, Kim, T'almudŭ chamŏnjip: insaeng ŭi mŏrimat e noa tugo sip'ŭn [Talmud: The text to place at the bedside of your life] (2008; repr., Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an T'op'ajŭ, 2013), 86, 113, 155, 193, 199, 294. It thus also fits into the genre of self-help guides and implies that this Talmud ought to be read each evening and used to guide one's life.

79. Marvin Tokayer, T'almudŭ: Yudae minjok 5-ch'ŏnnyŏn ŭi chihye wa ch'ŏrhak [Talmud: 5,000 years of Jewish wisdom and philosophy], 52.

80. T'almudŭ: Yudaein ŭi saenggak hanŭn pangsik ŭl paeuge hanŭn ch'aek [Talmud: The book that teaches the ways Jewish people think], trans. Yi Tong-min (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Indibuk, 2001).

81. It is an example of what Salo Baron might have termed a lachrymose history of talmudic reception in “Ghetto and Emancipation: Shall We Revise the Traditional View?,” Menorah 14 (1928): 515–26, and mirrors the Korean historiographical narrative of the “history of suffering” (sunan ŭi yŏksa).

82. Lee, Talmud, 265.

83. Though some of these ideas could have been introduced to the region by Catholic and Protestant missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

84. There, he became friendly with Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, who teaches at the yeshiva and serves as the director of interfaith programming at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and whom Hyun lists as a mentor on his website.

85. Julie Gruenbaum Fax, “Why Are These Korean Christians Keeping Shabbat?,” Jewish Journal, February 16, 2010,

86. Yong Soo Hyun has also published extensively about education, character development, Christian theology, and Judaism; most relevant are Yong-su, Hyŏn, Yudaein ŭl model ro han Hyŏn Yong-su ŭi insŏng kyoyuk nohau [Modeling Jewish education] (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Swema, 2015); idem, Sŏnggyŏng i marhanŭn ŏmŏni ŭi EQ-kyoyuk. 2 (Yudaein ŭl model ro han) (Hyŏn Yong-su ŭi swema kyoyuk sirijŭ 15) [Biblical motherhood and EQ formation], 2 vols. (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Swema, 2013); idem, Sŭngni poda p'aebae rŭl tŏ kiŏk hanŭn Yudaein [Remembrance, the secret of redemption] (Seoul: Tosŏ Ch'ulp'an Swema, 2015); as well as other books about Jewish fatherhood's role in developing IQ and about ethics of money management according to Jesus and the rabbis.

87. Gruenbaum Fax, “Why Are These Korean Christians Keeping Shabbat?”

88. Tokayer, Marvin, T'almudŭ ŭi usŭm, T'almudŭ sirijŭ 6 [Talmud series, 6 volumes], trans. and ed. Yong-su, Hyŏn (Seoul: Tonga Ilbosa, 2009).

89. Tokayer, Talmud Series, 15. Some of the Shema Education Institute's graduates have started programs of their own. Arbes reports that Park Hyunjun began a boarding school in the Gwangju Mountains outside of Seoul that is devoted to providing its young students (preschoolers through high school) with a Jewish education, teaching them both about the Talmud and talmudic argumentation and debate, and about basic Jewish practices such as tefillin, the Shema, and daily prayer (Arbes, “How the Talmud Became a Best-Seller”). Gruenbaum Fax has reported that Yeong Pog Kim began incorporating Hyun's teachings about Judaism into the services and programs he leads at the Presbyterian Church of Love and Peace outside of Seoul; pastor Chi Nam Kim keeps the Sabbath by lighting candles and blessing wine and bread each Friday evening in his home in Toronto; and Jin Sup Kim, vice president of the divinity college at Baekseok University near Seoul and the founder of the Korean Diaspora Revival Foundation as well as of a division of the Shema Education Institute, recites the Shema, alongside verses from the New Testament, each day, according to rabbinic standards, and teaches Hebrew and Bible to his children (Gruenbaum Fax, “Why Are These Korean Christians Keeping Shabbat?”).

90. Chaim Potok, Wanderings (New York: Knopf, 1978). In his introduction to this history, Potok writes: “Then I entered the American army. I too crossed an ocean. In the shattered villages of Korea, in the exquisite temples of Japan, in the teeming Chinese hovels of Hong Kong, in the vile back streets of Macao, all the neat antique coherence of my past came undone.… My early decades had prepared me for everything—except the two encounters I in fact experienced: a meeting with a vast complex of cultures perfectly at ease without Jews and Judaism, and a confrontation with the beautiful and the horrible world of oriental human beings. It was not the anguish of my own people that sundered me—that I had come to accept as part of our destiny—but the loveliness and the suffering I saw in the lives of pagans. Jewish history began in a world of pagans; my own Judaism was transformed in another such world. I have spent the subsequent decades in an evolving reshaping of my faith. I have done this by writing novels; that is my personal way of giving shape to thought. The novels are about certain kinds of culture conflicts in the present” (xiii–xiv). See also Kremer, S. Lillian, “An Interview with Chaim Potok,” in Conversations with Chaim Potok, ed. Walden, Daniel (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001), 3638; “The World of Chaim Potok,” Inside (Winter 1981): 54–55, 102–4; Abramson, Edward A., Chaim Potok (Boston: Twayne, 1986), 101–2, 114–5.

91. Devir, Nathan, “History and Responsibility: An Assessment of Potok's ‘Non-Jewish’ I Am the Clay,” in Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity through the Lens of Tradition, ed. Walden, Daniel (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013), 110.

92. Lewis, Koreans and Jews, and Nathan Devir, “Adena Potok on I Am the Clay,” in Walden, Chaim Potok, 149. See also Sternlicht, Sanford, Chaim Potok: A Critical Companion (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000), 135–43.

93. Lewis, Koreans and Jews, iii.

94. Ibid.

95. Lewis details the political circumstances of the Korea-Israel relationship, including Korea's recognition of the PLO in 1973, the closing of embassies, the Korean participation in the Arab boycott of Israel, and the warming of relations in the early 1990s. On Korea-Israel relations, see also Ma, Y. S., “Israel's Role in the UN during the Korean War,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 4, no. 3 (2010): 8189; Podoler, Guy, “Enter the ‘Far East’: Korean Culture in Early South Korea–Israel Relations,” International Journal of Cultural Policy 20, no. 5 (2014): 519–35. We might understand the Korean ambassador's interview on Israeli television in this context as well, as aimed at promoting the affinities between South Korea and Israel in a new era of cooperation.

96. Lee, Talmud.

97. The discourse about similarities between Koreans and Jews—politically, culturally, nationally, and historically—is now quite widespread and popular. See also Julia Bass, “Why Koreans Love Jews,” Jewish Chronicle, May 17, 2012, Lee Chang-ro, from the literature research team at the Ministry of Education, explained in an interview that “the reasons why Korean children are taught Talmud are pretty obvious. Koreans and Jews both have a long history of oppression and surviving adversity with nothing but their own ingenuity to thank. There are no natural resources to speak of in Korea, so, like the Jews, all we can develop is our minds” (quoted in Tim Alper, “Why Koreans Are in Love with Judaism,” Jewish Chronicle, May 12, 2011, Decades earlier, some Christian missionaries wondered if Koreans were among the ten lost Israelite tribes, e.g., McLeod, Norman, Korean and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel (Nagasaki: The Rising Sun, 1879).

98. Contemporary perceptions are of course far more diverse and complicated than this survey suggests. See, e.g., Podoler, Guy, “A South Korean Progressive Outlook on the Middle East Conflict: Contextualizing Hankyoreh's Coverage of the Gaza War,” Korea Observer 44, no. 2 (2013): 223–47.

99. Podoler, “Enter the ‘Far East,’” 519–35.

100. Ibid., 530; the folktale is titled “The People Who Saw a Mirror for the First Time.”

101. More recently, Lee Jae Eun, a former Israel-Asia Leaders Fellow who also received a degree from the Hebrew University and now works as the press officer at the Israeli Embassy in Seoul, published a coloring book titled Color Me Israel, in which she draws scenes of a Korean woman boarding an El Al flight and exploring Israel, from visiting the beaches and fruit stands to experiencing the Jewish holidays. The Israel-Asia Leaders Fellowship is designed to foster relations between the two countries, and this book is a playful outcome of such binational efforts.

102. We might also add to this list more recent collections, e.g., Cohen, Abraham, Everyman's Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages (London: J. M. Dent, 1932); Monefiore, C. G. and Loewe, H. M. J., A Rabbinic Anthology (London: Macmillan, 1938); Newman, Louis I., The Talmudic Anthology: Tales and Teachings of the Rabbis (New York: Behrman House, 1978); Neusner, Jacob, Our Sages, God and Israel: An Anthology of the Talmud of the Land of Israel (Chappaqua, NY: Rossel, 1984); Katz, Michael and Schwartz, Gershon, Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998); Rubenstein, Jeffrey L., Rabbinic Stories (New York: Paulist, 2002). On Ibn Habib's anthology, for example, see Lehman, Marjorie, The En Yaaqov: Jacob ibn Habib's Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2012).

103. Lennart Lehmhaus makes a similar argument about Seder Eliyahu Zuta's attempts to reach a more mainstream audience through narrative in “‘Were Not Understanding and Knowledge Given to You from Heaven?’ Minimal Judaism and the Unlearned ‘Other’ in Seder Eliyahu Zuta,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 19, no. 3 (2012): 230–58, and we might extend the analogy to other medieval rabbinic compilations, such as the Tanḥuma.

104. One of the ways that Tokayer knows which Korean and Chinese editions of the Talmud are based on his Japanese text, even when they make no mention of his name, is that they include this story from his childhood.

105. M. Avot 1:1ff.

106. M. Berakhot 1.1; Sifre Zuta 6:6–7; Sifre Devarim on Deut 11:19 (ed. Finkelstein, 104); B. Kiddushin 30a; Y. Berakhot 3:3 (6b); B. Kiddushin 29b.

107. On the topic of gender and transmission, see Hauptman, Judith, “The Talmud's Women in Law and Narrative,” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues 28 (2015): 3050; idem, “A New View of Women and Torah Study in the Talmudic Period,” JSIJ 9 (2010): 249–92; Gribetz, Sarit Kattan, “Consuming Texts: Women as Recipients and Transmitters of Ancient Texts,” in Rethinking ‘Authority’ in Late Antiquity: Authorship, Law, and Transmission in Jewish and Christian Tradition, ed. Berkovitz, A. J. and Letteney, Mark (London: Routledge, 2018), 178206.

108. E.g., Fuchs, Ilan, Jewish Women's Torah Study: Orthodox Religious Education and Modernity (New York: Routledge, 2014); Rabbi Mordechai Willig, “Trampled Laws,”

109. We found one book titled Sun-hyŏng, Yi, Chosŏn ŭi ŏmŏni T'almudŭ ka mutta [Choson's mothers ask the Talmud] (Seoul: Ludensŭ, 2008). It is an instruction manual for parents on how to raise children. The cover advertises “raise your child by opening your heart,” and “a parent's devotion is like poyak,” an allusion to a Korean medicine that is often given to children to help them grow and develop well. It is also a sign of devoted parenting.

110. Jennifer J. Jung-Kim, “Gender and Modernity in Colonial Korea” (PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2005), 19, summarizing Cho, Haejoang, “Male Dominance and Mother Power: The Two Sides of Confucian Patriarchy in Korea,” in Confucianism and the Family, ed. Slote, Walter H. and DeVos, George A. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 187207. On critiques of Confucianism in Korea surrounding the question of gender and women's roles in society, see John B. Duncan, “Uses of Confucianism in Modern Korea,” in Elman, Duncan, and Ooms, Rethinking Confucianism, 448–50. See also Uhn Cho, “Gender Inequality and Patriarchal Order Recontextualized,” Mee-Hae Kong, “Economic Development and Women's Status in Korea,” and Kim, Kyounghee, “A Frame Analysis of Women's Policies of Korean Government and Women's Movements in the 1980s and 1990s,” in Contemporary South Korean Society: A Critical Perspective, ed. Cho, Hyo-je (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013); Hyaeweol Choi, “A New Moral Order: Gender Equality in Korean Christianity,” in Buswell, Religions of Korea in Practice, 409–20.

111. Mothers also have a reputation for being demanding of their children's educational success; Sorensen writes: “Within her areas of responsibility—which include making sure her children succeed educationally—the Korean mother has autonomous power that she exercises, if necessary, through what is known colloquially in Korean as ‘skirt wind’ (ch'imatparam).… One Korean dictionary defines it as ‘the force of a woman on a rampage.’” “Success and Education,” 26.

112. On which see Cho, “Male Dominance and Mother Power,” 187–207. On the idea of “wise mother, good wife,” which originated in Japan, see Sievers, Sharon L., Flowers in Salt: The Beginnings of Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1983).

113. Friedman, John, Hoff, Jean Connell, and Chazan, Robert, The Trial of the Talmud, Paris, 1240, Mediaeval Sources in Translation 53 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2012).

114. Martí, Ramon, Pugio fidei (Paris: Joseph De Voisin, 1651).

115. Discussed in Katz, Jacob, From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism 1700–1933 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 13.

116. Gribetz, Jonathan Marc, “An Arabic-Zionist Talmud: Shimon Moyal's At-Talmud,” Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society 17, no. 1 (2010): 130. See also Gribetz's article in this issue of AJS Review, “The PLO's Defense of the Talmud.”

117. E.g., Soncino, Steinsaltz, ArtScroll, though translations are always also about making texts accessible to those who cannot read them in the original, which is a feature that the Korean Talmud shares with these contemporary translations as well. See, e.g., Stolow, Jeremy, Orthodox by Design: Judaism, Print Politics, and the ArtScroll Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010).

118. The original translation of Tokayer's text into Japanese seems to have resulted from the curiosity of an interlocutor, and Tokayer, as he recalls it, was not motivated by Japanese antisemitism or ideas about Jewish conspiracies in Japan, even though they circulated at the time. The problem of fetishizing Jewish culture is discussed in Dave Hazzan, “Seoul Mates: Are Jewish Stereotypes among Koreans a Source of Hate, or Love?,” Tablet, November 4, 2014, Schilling, Christopher L., “Jewish Seoul: An Analysis of Philo- and Antisemitism in South Korea,” Modern Judaism 38, no. 2 (2018): 183–97, explores the topic of South Korean attitudes towards Jews and Judaism in the context of the Talmud's popularity in Korea; unfortunately we learned of Schilling's article just as our article was going to press, so we could not engage with Schilling's conclusions here.

119. Kondo, Marie, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2011) and its sequels.

120. See e.g., McDermott, Robert A., “Indian Spirituality in the West: A Bibliographic Mapping,” Philosophy East and West 25, no. 2 (1975): 213–39.

121. See, e.g., Xiaomei, Chen, Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Carrier, James G., ed., Occidentalism: Images of the West (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Buruma, Ian and Margalit, Avishai, Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (New York: Penguin, 2004).

Many thanks to Fordham University's Theology Department, Program in Jewish Studies, and the Dean's Fund for supporting this research; Rabbi Marvin Tokayer for his time, generosity, and insight; Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein for helpful conversations; Menachem Butler, Guy Podoler, and Dafna Zur for bibliographic assistance; Nina Rowe for art historical insights; Gregg Gardner, Jonathan Gribetz, and Aaron Rubin for reading a draft; Young Kil Kim and Jong Sook Kim for help with translation; Hyoungbae Lee for Romanization; Elizabeth Vernon for sharing Harvard University Library's list of Korean Judaica with us; the anonymous reviewers and AJS Review editors for critical feedback; and Aviva Arad for meticulous copy editing and help throughout the publication process. We presented parts of this article at the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting in Seoul (July 2016), the Association for Jewish Studies Conference in San Diego (December 2016), and the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in New York (June 2017).


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