Jacob Neusner has--in over sixty scholarly works, fourteen textbooks, and thirteen collections of essays--laid the foundation and completed the structure for a new understanding of the history of Judaism. The present volume is the capstone effort to date in this endeavor.
Neusner reconstructs and interprets the Mishnah's intellectual history, presenting a picture of the beginnings and first major expression of Judaism. "What makes this account distinctively historical," writes Neusner in his Introduction, "will be our 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, to ask about the interplay between idea and social, material reality."
Neusner 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.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"The mishnaic system, once impenetrable to all those who did not know the system from within, is now accessible and intelligible to the serious student. Neusner's conclusion is both profound and logically drawn from the evidence. This is destined to be a classic of modern Jewish scholarship."
"'Judaism: The Evidence of the Mishnah' demonstrates the worth of academic inquiry into the meaning of one multiform religion. . . . The results are of the highest value to the entire discipline of religious studies, both in themselves and because the approach is of the highest potential transferability within the discipline."
William A. Clebsch, 'Religious Studies Review'
"This is a magisterial achievement, a work of immense learning, methodically self-conscious, and philosophically illuminating. It inaugurates with distinction a new series of studies in tthe history of Judaism."
'The Key Reporter'
"[This] promises to be one of the most important and exciting books in the field of religious studies in decades. It is a classic, . . . a revolutionary work."
Jonathan Smith, University of Chicago
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.