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By Jewish Publication Society / 2002/
Long known only to scholars and specialists, Pesikta de-Rab Kahana is a masterpiece of midrashic literature. A collection of discourses for special Sabbaths and festival days compiled and organized during the fifth century, it was well known and studied from the end of that century until it disappeared sometime in the sixteenth century. From manuscripts discovered in 1868 and still others 100 years later, it was reborn. Braude and Kapstein's translation brings this classic to English readers, with forward by Yehiel E. Poupko.
Rabbi William G. Braude was a scholar, lecturer, and visiting professor at Brown University, Yale University, Providence College, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hebrew Union College, and University of Connecticut. He translated numerous ancient Hebrew texts including Builders of Zion (Bonay Zion), The Midrash on Psalms, Pesikta Rabbati: Discourses for Feasts, Fasts, and Special Sabbaths, Pesikta de-Rab Kahana: R. Kahana`s Compilation of Discourses for Sabbaths and Festal Days, and Tanna debe eliyyahu: The Lore of the School of Elijah. He also wrote Jewish Proselyting in the First Five Centuries of the Common Era: The Age of the Tannaim and Amoraim.
Israel J. Kapstein (1904-1983) was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brown University in 1926, returning two years later as an English instructor. He received his M. A. there in 1929, and his Ph. D. in 1931. His 1941 novel Something of a Hero made the best-seller list. His collaboration with Rabbi William Braude on Pesikta de-Rab Kahana earned him the 1976 National Jewish Book Award. He died in Providence on August 5, 1983.