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Any valid description of early rabbinic thought must begin with the Mishnah, one of the earliest dated sources of Judaism, and must focus on the subjects the sages considered important. This book introduces the reader to the world of the Mishnah in a thoughtful, engaging, and spirited manner. Neusner formulates a theory of the Mishnah: what it is, how it should be read, and why it is of considerable interest in the study of religious conceptions of the social order. The result is a relatively quick and easy entry into the sometimes difficult and complex world of the Mishnah.

Author Bio

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.

Nesuner’s works include the Jacob Neusner Jewish Studies Bundle (99 vols.).