Jacob Neusner, one of the foremost scholars on Judaic studies, attempts to lay the foundation and complete the structure for a new understanding of the cultural and social history of Judaism, from its beginnings to modern Judaism around the world, with a particular focus on Jews in Israel and America. In these works, Neusner paints a sociological portrait of Judaism by comparing not only ancient and modern Judaism but Judaism with other religions. Using primary source references and gathering research from notable scholars in Jewish Studies, Neusner provides an in-depth look into Jewish culture and sociology.
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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.
Introduction to American Judaism: What Books Say, What the People Do
The character of any religion as it is lived and practiced can be quite different from the prescriptions and ideals of its traditions and rituals. This bifurcation can also be found in the tension between the ideas people hold and the things they do. In this volume, Jacob Neusner addresses a broad audience of people who care about religion in general, not Judaism in particular.
Students, general readers, members of the clergy, and teachers will find here a lucid and compelling account of the actual life of Jewish people—in the synagogue, at home, in ritual—and of commonly held attitudes toward Holocaust and redemption, the Sabbath and festivals, study of the Torah, the State of Israel, and more.
Androgynous Judaism: Masculine and Feminine in the Dual Torah
America’s foremost scholar on formative Judaism examines the issue of gender as it appears in the corpus of rabbinic literature and arrives at some provocative conclusions. While the structure of Judaism based on the dual Torah is clearly masculine in orientation, the substructure—the religious system that shapes its values and perception—is androgynous, an individual conjunction of genders. In fact, the higher values, as defined by the relevant writings, prove to be feminine.
Fellowship in Judaism: The First Century and Today
These essays examine the sociology of Judaism in the last decades of the Second Jewish Commonwealth. The author discerns two kinds of religious fellowship, one constituted by the haber (“fellow”), based on observance of certain religious laws, and the other by the talmid hakham (“sage”), based on concern for study and application of the Torah. He contrasts the former with the contemporary community at Qumran and shows the difference between the haburah and the Dead Sea commune to have been based in some measure on a different attitude towards society. The final chapter presents an analysis of Jewish religious fellowship today and offers some concrete suggestions for recovering a more vital social religious life with the aid of the lessons of the ancient fellowships.
In this volume, Jacob Neusner analyzes the social foundations of Judaism in classical and modern times and in various contexts. Beginning with the formative and the classical ages of Judaism, Neusner and several other contributing authors describe the formation of the Judaism of the Pentateuch, then go on to discuss topics ranging from religion and society in the law of the Mishnah to contemporary Judaism in America and in the state of Israel.
Calvin Goldscheider is professor of sociology and the Dorot Professor of Judaic Studies at Brown University. He is the author of Israeli Society in the Twenty-First Century: Immigration, Inequality, and Religious Conflict, Israel’s Changing Society: Population Ethnicity, and Development, and Cultures in Conflict: The Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Take Judaism, for Example: Studies Toward the Comparison of Religions
Jacob Neusner evaluates the cultural history of Judaism, beginning with ancient times and continuing to the modern day, and compares Jewish culture with other religions. He focuses on such topics as storytelling, worship, and music. By describing Judaism as a cultural system, Neusner explains how the religious aspects of Judaism have played a part in culture throughout history.
Between Time and Eternity: The Essentials of Judaism