This groundbreaking work continues Jacob Neusner's multi-volume examination of the main texts of Judaism in its formative years. The first two parts of the project--'Judaism: The Evidence of the Yerushalmi'--examined the Mishnah and the Talmud of the Land of Israel and placed them in the social, intellectual, and religious contexts of their time. In 'Judaism and Scripture' Neusner moves from the study of ancient Judaism in society at large to an analysis of Rabbinic Judaism in relation to Scripture itself. Neusner accomplishes this both through close analysis and through the first English translation of the critical text of the Leviticus Rabbah.
Tracing the relationship between the actual Book of Leviticus and its rabbinic commentary, Neusner asks how the rabbis who stand behind the text make use of Leviticus and how, through their comments on it, they make intelligible and comprehensible statements of their own. In answering these two questions Neusner shows, through a prime example, exactly how Scripture enters Judaism and how rabbis of the formative age of Judaism chose and taught the lessons they deemed critical to the life of Israel, the Jewish people.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Neusner's work is original, in fact, strikingly so. He applies to Leviticus Rabbah a methodology and series of questions which are in many ways unique in the study of this literature. In his analysis, he places Leviticus Rabbah within the corpus of Rabbinic literature, shows it as a new type of creation, relates it to its historical context, and, most important, discusses its utilization of and relation to Scripture. His technique is to isolate the various discrete units of meaning, to define and describe the ways scriptural verses are used, to list nonscriptural passages in the collection, and to categorize the major themes and interests which the collection exhibits. His analysis is exceedingly interesting and provocative, and he successfully martials the evidence to argue his case."
Lewis Bath, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles
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.