An eminent scholar of the history of Judaism, Jacob Neusner shows in this work how Judaism changed from a philosophy to a religion between 200 and 400 C.E. 'The Transformation of Judaism' is a work both revolutionary in its method and unprecedented in its results. Comparing earlier and later sets of Judaic writings, Neusner sets forth how philosophy - abstract, elegant, orderly, and intellectual - turned into religion - tangible, down-to-earth, chaotic, and concrete. In the process, he offers an account of the birth of Judaism that has become normative. Moreover, Neusner's methodology can be applied to the study of religions other than Judaism because it examines the underpinnings of how a society sees the world (philosophy), orders itself (politics), and sustains itself (economics).
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Neusner moves beyond the interpretation of individual texts to grasp as wholes two systems of Judaism, that of the Mishnah and that represented by Rabbinic documents of the fifth century. He thus provides an entirely fresh approach and a new answer to the central question 'What is Judaism?' At the same time, by providing a sound model for the evaluation and comparison of diverse religious systems, this book has an important place within the study of the history of religions in general."
Alan J. Avery-Peck, author of 'The Talmud of the Land of Israel: Shebiit'
"This prolific author provides in this book yet another of his clear and scholarly explorations into the nature of Judaism ... Scholarly detail does not preclude clarity of style and more general reflection on the character of religion in relation to other modes of thought."
Peter Byrne, 'Religious Studies'
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.