Orthodox Judaism as it has been known through the medieval and modern world covers the period from approximately 100 B.C.E to 640 C.E. It was during this period that the Babylonian Talmud came to prominence through the efforts of the Babylonian rabbinic schools. The Talmud continues to govern the life of traditional Jewry, orthodox and conservative, throughout the world and to provide important guidance for reform Jews as well. Because of the Talmud's continuing influence, an understanding of this period is crucial to any understanding of present-day Judaism. Dr. Neusner centers his study on three key words applied to rabbinic Judaism: power - the way in which one man caused another to do his will; myth - the stories people told and the beliefs they held to account for and justify the power-relationships they experienced; and function - how things worked. This important book deals with complex materials in a clear, nontechnical manner that will prove useful to those persons who are not familiar with Hebraic 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, 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 A.B. from Harvard College in 1953, his Ph.D. 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.