Friday, December 9, 2011

Return of the Monsters

I am pleased to announce that a new edition of Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash has just been published. There are only a few changes from the previous edition: a few small updates and minor corrections in various places, and a thorough reorganization and revision of the material regarding rabbinic authority in the final chapter, including a discussion of the view of Rav Glasner (which you can find here). However, if you only own Mysterious Creatures, it's definitely worth upgrading - there is an enormous amount of additional material not found in that book.

"Sacred Monsters delves into topics (especially “monsters”) in the natural history of the Jewish sacred sources (hence, “sacred” in the title). The book combines competence in more than one field: the history of ideas and of science, the modern biological disciplines, and rabbinic literature of all periods... Slifkin’s book has much to offer folklorists, while catering to a composite public: scholarly or ordinary readers, Jewish or gentile, devout or secular, steeped in Western culture or committed to ultra-Orthodox doxa... a delightful book. Slifkin has achieved the rare feat of writing a book that would appeal to a broad readership, and at the same time will also satisfy discerning scholars." - Review, Fabula 52 (2011) 

The book is 394 pages and the retail price is $29.95. This book is now being distributed by Gefen Books (who are also distributing Perek Shirah: Nature's Song and The Camel, The Hare And The Hyrax). It should reach stores in Israel over the next few weeks, and North America in about two months. (Unfortunately there is no distribution in England, South Africa or Australia.)

You can also buy the book online now directly from me using the form below, using either a PayPal account or a credit card. The discount online price is $26.95 plus $10 international shipping or $5 shipping within Israel.

Use this button if you are ordering from outside Israel:

If you are ordering from within Israel, use this button:

Orders will be mailed within a few days of being received. Alternatively, you can pick it up directly from my home in Ramat Bet Shemesh! If you make a reservation, you can also do the Zoo Torah Experience:


  1. What is the difference between this and Mysterious Creatures (a great read!)?

  2. Why is there no distribution in Commonwealth countries?

  3. There are enormous differences between this and Mysterious Creatures. It's much, much longer and includes expanded discussion on all the creatures as well as several new chapters (giants, dwarves, two-headed people, centaurs, werewolves, and the shamir).

    I don't know why there's no distribution in Commonwealth countries. Nothing personal, I'm sure.

  4. How can we pay for it and pick it up at your house? Cash? PayPal?


  5. Cash, please - dollars or shekel equivalent.

  6. I do indeed own an original Mysterious Creatures. When I first read it, although very informative, I found the writing to be a little "dry". I actually found the introduction and dedication heartwarming. Just where is Jared now? I think it was awesome that you actually addressed a child's needs to understand Judaism better. I know the way it's structured was very factual, methodical and respectful, but it took me time to finish it. I am an avid reader of your blog, and of course, a blog is not a book. Has the style of writing changed? Either way, I look forward to adding it to my collection.

  7. Also, I was hoping you'd address this weeks Daf on the blog about ewes that look like pigs, and other barnyard anomalies.

  8. Mazal tov on the new edition.
    Are you working on a Hebrew translation yet?

  9. Love it. Yasher koiach! Glad to hear it will also appeal to ultras like me!

  10. Great book, thanks for your work.


    Rabbi Simon


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