This brief history of Judaism not only seeks to tell the story of Judaism (or of Judaisms) but to define it in such a way as to make it possible for the reader to grasp and make sense of Judaism, all at once, on its own terms.
Professor Neusner accomplishes this task by selecting the central Jewish symbol of Torah and describing its role down through the ages. First Torah is defined--the dual Torah, oral and written--and related to Jewish identity. Then follows an account of the formation of the written Torah and the development of the Mishnah after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. This leads into an account of Midrash and the composition of the Talmud.
After a discussion of Torah as a symbol, chapters follow on Maimonides, the Zohar, Reform Judaism and Zionism. The book ends by pulling the threads together into a woven portrait of Judaism.
Here, in concise and readable form, is the model volume for writing the history of Judaism (or of Judaisms) as well as the history of any particular religion.