Hammer (Entering the High Holy Days), an influential Conservative rabbi who was born and educated in the United States and now lives in Israel, carefully analyzes what he considers to be fourteen fundamental ideas in the Torah, arguing that their contemporary adoption and implementation would revolutionize the world. After grouping the fourteen basic concepts into the categories of divinity, humanity, and society, he devotes a chapter to exploring in detail each basic concept. According to Hammer, the teacher of these ideas is Moses: a religious reformer and a social reformer. Hammers own insights are buttressed by comments from the Prophets, the Mishna, the Talmud, medieval scholars, and contemporary theologians, fully demonstrating the range and profundity of his knowledge. His learned presentation requires close attention, but careful readers will be rewarded with biblical literacy about crucial topics. While he spells out the nature of Jewish belief, contending strongly that it should determine behavior, he ignores the possibility that behavior may determine belief or that there is a reciprocal relationship between them. Readers of all faiths will find essential perceptions of age-old concepts with relevance for today's world. (Nov.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.