In this comprehensive 22-volume collection, renowned Judaic scholar Jacob Neusner discusses the Jewish purity laws, arguing that they insight into the origins and early history of Talmudic Judaism. Neusner claims that a disproportionately large part of Mishnah-Tosefta deals with purity. In addition, a strikingly large segment of sayings assigned to the masters of Yavneh also concerns purity. He asserts that if the themes of any legal materials in Mishnah-Tosefta go back to the Pharisees of the period before 70, they are those of purity laws. Purity laws, moreover, assuredly belong to the Pharisaic sect and express part of what is unique to this group.
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Jacob Neusner is research professor of theology and senior fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College.