Talmud / Edition 1

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Wherever Jews have settled and whatever languages they spoke, they created a community with a single set of common values. One law, one theology defined the community throughout their many migrations. A single book explains how this came about—the Talmud. By re-framing the Torah through sustained argument and analysis, the Talmud encourages the reader to actively apply reason and practice logic. Renowned scholar Jacob Neusner introduces readers to the Talmud, defining it, explaining its historical context, and illustrating why it remains relevant today. Neusner's The Talmud: What It Is and What It Says invites readers to engage with the text, and emphasizes that the Talmud will continue to be an important cultural guidebook for Jewish life through the next millennium.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Neusner, author or editor of nearly a thousand books (yes, you read that correctly), is a renowned Jewish scholar who has devoted his impressive career to the study of Judaism. His documentary studies of classical texts include valuable translations of both the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmuds. Here, he sets out to provide a primer to the Talmud in seven chapters that discuss "fundamental questions" of history, literature and religion. Although a primer is commonly perceived as a simple, introductory book on a subject, what Neusner has produced here is a complex analysis that requires painstaking attention. As he explains, the Talmud consists of the Mishnah, a systematic codification of the oral law, and the Gemara, rabbinic commentaries, including disputes about the law. Extensive quotations, elaborated by the author, illustrate the Talmudic discussions. A final chapter, "How Does the Talmud Present God?" confronts the vexed question of theodicy-why does a just God allow evil? Neusner cites a Talmudic answer that envisions "resurrection of the dead at the end of days" and "eternal life." Assiduous readers of all faiths will benefit from this introduction to the Talmud as a "cookbook of culture composed of recipes for sustaining civilization." (Aug. 28) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Torah, a.k.a. the Five Books of Moses, refers to the Hebrew Scriptures. We learn of the rabbinic sages' interpretations of the laws and theology outlined in this text through the Talmud, to which there are two parts the Mishnah, a law code, and the Gemara, a commentary on that code. Through a close critical, historical, theological, and cultural reading, Neusner (religion & theology, Bard Coll.), one of the leading authorities on the study of Judaism and religion in the American academy, introduces sophisticated readers to the historical context in which "The Two Talmuds" (the Talmud of the Land of Israel and the Talmud of Babylonia) came about in late antiquity. Generously quoting from the Mishnah, Neusner sets forth an exposition that is thoughtful, well argued, and well reasoned. He builds on his explanations of passages from the Mishnah, shows how the Gemara creates a coherent living code, and compares the two sections. Neusner goes on to explore the Mishnah's authority and how it became the practical law of the Jewish communities. The Talmud is here seen as a vital component of the Torah: "part of God's revelation to Israel." A valuable addition to university libraries; recommended. Herbert E. Shapiro, Empire State Coll., SUNY at Rochester Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742546714
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 697,977
  • Product dimensions: 0.41 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Theology and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College. He is also a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, and Life Member of Clare Hall at Cambridge University, England. He has published numerous books with University Press of America on Jewish studies, particularly Rabbinic Judaism.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 History : the world in which the Talmud came into being 1
Ch. 2 What is the Mishnah? 19
Ch. 3 What is the Gemara? 45
Ch. 4 The two Talmuds 71
Ch. 5 How is the Talmud part of the Torah? 99
Ch. 6 How is the sage part of the Torah? 119
Ch. 7 How does the Talmud present God? 133
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