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.