Jacob Neusner reconstructs and interprets the Mishnah’s intellectual history, presenting a picture of the beginnings and first major expression of Judaism. In this volume, Neusner makes a sustained effort to relate the unfolding of the ideas of the Mishnah to the historical setting of the philosophers of the document, to compare context and concept, and to question the interplay between ideas and reality. He succeeds in this specific task and in the greater task of providing a work with methodological significance for the entire field of the history of religions.
Jacob Neusner (1932–2016) was a preeminent scholar of ancient Judaism and one of the most published authors ever, with more than 900 original volumes to his name. He was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the University of Oxford, and Yale University. He was research professor of theology and senior fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College. Neusner’s work has been highly influential, if sometimes controversial. He pioneered applying “form criticism” to Rabbinic texts, and aimed at a humanistic and academic reading of ancient Jewish literature.
Neusner’s works include the Jacob Neusner Jewish Studies Bundle (99 vols.).