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Introduction to Rabbinic Literature (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) [Paperback]

By Jacob Neusner (Author)
Our Price $ 37.40  
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Item Number 91156  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   752
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.36" Height: 1.64"
Weight:   1.87 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1999
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300140142  
EAN  9780300140149  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
The rabbis are as important today as they were two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the literature that came to be named after them. The Mishnah, the Tosefta, the Talmuds, the collections of Midrash, and other writings ascribed to the ancient rabbis -- the oral Torah -- were gradually produced between the first and the seventh century of the Common Era. What began as comments and decisions on practical matters made by the rabbis were eventually written down and preserved. Over time, the literature grew and constantly changed, eventually evolving into a widely diverse collection of material. Regardless of what form it took, rabbinic literature guided and shaped Jewish life.

Opening the vast pages of rabbinic literature is like entering a conversation already in progress. To understand and appreciate what is going on, some basic things about the content, purpose, and context of the speakers need to be known.

In "Introduction to Rabbinic Literature", legendary author and teacher Jacob Neusner distills a lifetime of scholarship on the essence of what has been received from the rabbis. This book gives readers everything they need to know to understand rabbinic literature. It explores the formative age and the forces that gave rise to rabbinic literature, and tells in a simple, straightforward way what these documents are, where to find them, how to read them, and why their content matters. Best of all, Neusner masterfully covers all this in one relatively compact volume that novice and expert both can appreciate.

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More About Jacob Neusner

Jacob Neusner

Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College. He has published more than nine hundred books and innumerable articles, and he is editor of "The Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period" and the three-volume "Encyclopaedia of Judaism." In addition to his Rabbinic Midrash, he has translated the Mishnah, Tosefta, and both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud into English.

Jacob Neusner currently resides in Annandale-On-Hudson. Jacob Neusner was born in 1932 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Bard College Bard College, New York, USA Bard College, New York, USA B.

Jacob Neusner has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Biblical Resource
  2. Christianity and Judaism, the Formative Categories
  3. Studies in Judaism
  4. Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity
  5. World Religions in America

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Useful, but lacking basic nuts and bolts information  Apr 9, 2003
Having bought or borrowed several other books by Neusner I sort of knew what to expect and have found the survey of Rabbinical Literature useful - certainly in terms of literary form.

However one major ommission that really should have been included in an "Introduction" is basic contextual information such as dates of composition and addition, transmission, current extant texts and so on. In other words the sort of text-by-text information you would find before each section in a good introduction to Dead Sea Scrolls or Pseudepigrapha. This is less relevant perhaps to Rabbinical Literature where transmission is part of the tradition, but that doesn't change the fact that, as with any ancient, or even medieval, text there are still variant text sources for many of the documents described and an estimate of place and time of composition and transmission is useful. Having looked at various chapters I'm still not a great deal wiser "did this document come out of Sephardic North Africa 500CE or Ashkenazi Silesia a thousand years later?", "does it exist in one editio princeps or 100 local variants?" etc. And it would have (presumably) been so easy to address these questions at the start of each chapter.

But again, if you're mainly interested in literary form, then go for it. Neusner is excellent in these areas.

more than a bit dry, but . . .  Jan 14, 2003
a useful guide to the major rabbinic works of the first millenium. If you have ever wanted to know the difference between the Mishnah and the Mekhilta, or what the major types of Midrashic books were, this book is at least worth skimming. The book's discussion of these works' literary style was a bit over my head, but the excerpts gave me more of a feel for midrashic reasoning.

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