Transformations in Ancient Judaism: Textual Evidence for Creative Responses to Crisis  -     By: Jacob Neusner
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Transformations in Ancient Judaism: Textual Evidence for Creative Responses to Crisis

Hendrickson Publishers / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

Three ancient crises shaped Jewish canonical writings: the destruction of Solomon's temple, the loss of Herod's temple, and the acceptance of Christianity as Rome's state religion. Illustrating Judaism's responses to these events, Jacob Neusner shows how rabbinic reinterpretations of religious texts helped them discover a truth that is continuous with the past and responsive to the future.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Hendrickson Publishers
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781619707399

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Author Bio

Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College. He has published more than nine hundred books and innumerable articles, and he is editor of The Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period and the three-volume Encyclopaedia of Judaism. In addition to his Rabbinic Midrash, he has translated the Mishnah, Tosefta, and both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud into English.

Editorial Reviews

"Jacob Neusner's Transformations in Ancient Judaism is a masterful presentation of the conclusions of his studies, over the course of more than twenty years, of the documents of ancient Judaism in their historical settings. Building on the recognition that religion is a public phenomenon - an 'act of shared culture' - Neusner recounts the development of subsequent Judaic systems as they respond to the major challenges of ancient Jewish history. This is not a dry history of religious systems preserved in documentary records; it is a dramatic history of religious geniuses overcoming catastrophe - a story of 'how hope overcomes despair.'"
-David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian, Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, Jewish Theological Seminary

Publisher's Description

The Jewish people endured three crises during the formation of what would become the Jewish canon, which significantly shaped their religion. The destruction of Solomon's Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E., the destruction of Herod's Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E., and the acceptance of Christianity as the state religion of Rome in 363 C.E. each signaled the apparent end of Jewish religion. Instead of succumbing to defeat and despair, Judaism arose from each crisis as a result of its religious leaders' reinterpretation of its sacred texts.

In Transformations, Jacob Neusner reasons that the Jewish canonical writings - the Hebrew Bible, Mishnah, Talmuds, and the Midrash - illustrate Judaism's response to those three social, cultural, and political crises. Faced with these catastrophic events, the rabbinic sages explored anew the paradigms of piety and practice that they had received from previous generations. The result was that they discovered a truth both continuous with the past and responsive to the unanticipated crisis - a truth that carved out a path for the future. This process, represented in the Jewish canon, continues to define modern Judaism.

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