Jacob Neusner selects the central Jewish symbol of Torah and describes its role through the ages. Neusner defines the Torah and relates it to Jewish identity, then describes the formation of the written Torah and the development of the Mishnah after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. This leads into an explanation of Midrash and the composition of the Talmud. After a discussion of Torah as a symbol, Neusner overviews Maimonides, the Zohar, Reform Judaism and Zionism.
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.).