This freedom in the face of tradition contributes to keeping it from petrifying, and the culture of discussion is alive and well outside intellectual circles. Distinguished intellectuals have always been important in Judaism, and historical sources show that great efforts were made to teach children Hebrew language and traditional texts. The huge library of Jewish texts from the last 2,000 years reflects how Jews have embraced Scripture by commenting, explaining or re-interpreting it again and again.
The Jewish library occupies many metres of shelving. Books and studies are essential for passing on Jewish tradition, and through the centuries, Jews have held on to Hebrew as a common literary language across national borders. The large fundamental texts are the Books of Moses and the rest of the Hebrew Bible, but they are always understood in the light of the last 2,000 years of rabbinical commentary.
Rabbinical discussions of laws and ideas are especially found in the Talmud, while the Midrash genre presents the Bible creatively, supplementing it with new stories. Commentary is the most common form of Jewish literature: Jews have written commentaries on the Bible, the Talmud, law texts, poetry, liturgy, mystical texts and philosophy etc. - and even commentary on commentary. Writing commentaries is to add a new layer to tradition. Apart from religious literature, there are Jewish fairy tales, poems, legends, chronicles and many other genres.
Now you can catch a glimpse behind the scenes at the museum, and see what else is going on. Follow us @thedanishjewishmuseum
Get a discount of 10% at selected cafés by showing your ticket from the museum (Photo: Eddie Michel Azoulay).
- an exhibition about Jews in Denmark
The exhibition is a broad story of Jewish life in Denmark and focuses on co-exixstence and indentity through 400 years. Read more...
September - May:
Tuesday-Friday: 1 pm - 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon - 5 pm