By setting forth the book of Genesis as it is re-presented in the rabbinic statement Genesis Rabbah, Neusner demonstrates the way in which Judaism confronted creation and the Genesis story. In 'Confronting Creation', the author presents a new, analytical translation of Genesis Rabbah, a document that came to closure around 400 C.E. What made that particular time crucial in the life of Israel and the Jewish people is an event that also helped shape the entire history of Western civilization - the rise of Christianity to the status of the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Judaic sages' rereading of the Torah's accounts of the beginning of the world and of Israel took place during a time of significant change in Western civilization. That fact explains the importance of this reading of Genesis to Western civilization, because Genesis Rabbah illuminates the Judaic tradition in contemplating God's creation of the world.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"'Confronting Creation' does what it claims to do and does it superbly. The author opens, unpacks, and presents in intelligible form a significant, but complicated, Rabbinic text. He does so in such fashion that we understand the historical setting of the text, the mind-set of the sages, and the relevance of the text to the contemporary religious quest. The selection of texts from Genesis Rabbah and his perceptive, straight-forward analysis of these texts will appeal to the serious beginning student and serve as a model for every scholar wishing to translate the results of his scholarly achievements for students and serious laymen."
Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman, Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Baltimore, Maryland
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard. He has published more than 900 books and unnumbered articles, both scholarly and academic and popular and journalistic, and is the most published humanities scholar in the world. He has been awarded nine honorary degrees, including seven US and European honorary doctorates. He received his AB from Harvard College in 1953, his PhD from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in 1961, and rabbinical ordination and the degree of Master of Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1960.
Neusner is editor of the 'Encyclopedia of Judaism' (Brill, 1999. I-III) and its Supplements; Chair of the Editorial Board of 'The Review of Rabbinic Judaism,' and Editor in Chief of 'The Brill Reference Library of Judaism', both published by E. J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands. He is editor of 'Studies in Judaism', University Press of America.
Neusner resides with his wife in Rhinebeck, New York. They have a daughter, three sons and three daughters-in-law, six granddaughters and two grandsons.