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Devotion to the study of the Babylonian Talmud, a document of law and theology completed in the seventh century A.D. and thereafter the primary and authoritative source of Judaic legal and moral teachings, was one of the distinctive traits of Russian Jewry before 1917.

The five papers contained in this volume are important for three reasons. First, they contain important insights and critical perspectives hitherto unavailable to Western scholarship in the history of Judaism in late antiquity. Second, they underline the importance of introducing into the study of Talmudic and other ancient legal literature a concern for the economic foundations of the laws. Third, they provide a glimpse into the mind of a segment of the Soviet Jewish community during its long period of silence, specifically, the segment which evidently attempted to reach an accommodation between the classical Judaic heritage and the new modes of thought and expression under Soviet Communism.

Solodukho made the effort both to preserve the traditions of Talmudic learning acquired in his youth and to master the Marxist hermeneutic which came to dominance in his mature years.

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.).