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Encyclopedia > Jacob Neusner

Jacob Neusner (born July 28, 1932, Hartford, Connecticut) is an academic scholar of Judaism who lives in Rhinebeck, New York. is the 209th day of the year (210th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1932 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... When used by itself in a sentence, the term Hartford can refer to one of several places in the United States. ... Official language(s) none (de facto English) Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport[2] Largest metro area Hartford Metro Area[3] Area  Ranked 48th in the US  - Total 5,543[4] sq mi (14,356 km²)  - Width 70 miles (113 km)  - Length 110 miles (177 km)  - % water 12. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Rhinebeck is a village located in the Town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County, New York. ... State nickname: Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York Governor George Pataki Official languages None Area 141,205 km² (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water 18,795 km² (13. ...



Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary (where he received rabbinic ordination), the University of Oxford, and Columbia University. Harvard redirects here. ... The Jewish Theological Seminary of America The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, known in the Jewish community simply as JTS, is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism, and is the movements main rabbinical seminary. ... The University of Oxford (informally Oxford University), located in the city of Oxford, England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... Alma Mater Columbia University is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ...

Neusner is often celebrated as one of the most published authors in history (he has written or edited more than 900 books.)[citation needed]

Since 1994, he has taught at Bard College. He has also taught at Columbia University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Brandeis University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and the University of South Florida. For other meanings of the word Bard, see Bard (disambiguation). ... Alma Mater Columbia University is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ... The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (also known as UW-Milwaukee, UWM or Milwaukee) is a public research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ... Brandeis University is a private university located in Waltham, Massachusetts, United States. ... Dartmouth College is a private, coeducational university located in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Incorporated as Trustees of Dartmouth College,[6][7] it is a member of the Ivy League and one of the nine colonial colleges founded before the American Revolution. ... Brown University is a private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. ... The University of South Florida (USF), known within its system as USF Tampa[2][3][4], is a public university system located in Tampa, Florida, USA, with an autonomous campus in St. ...

Neusner is a member of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He is the only scholar to have served on both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. He also has received scores of academic awards, honorific and otherwise. Nassau Street, Princetons main street. ... Full name Clare Hall Motto _ Named after Clare College Previous names - Established 1966, 1984 Sister College St Cross College President Prof. ... The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with one of the most selective sets of entry requirements in the United Kingdom. ... The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency of the United States established by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 (Pub. ... The National Endowment for the Arts is a United States federally funded program that offers support and funding for projects that exhibit artistic excellence. ...


Neusner's scholarly activity is vast. Generally speaking his research centers around rabbinic Judaism of the Mishnaic and Talmudic Eras. He was a pioneer in the application of "form criticism" approach to Rabbinic texts. Much of Neusner's work has been to de-construct the prevailing approach viewing Rabbinic Judaism as a single religious movement within which the various Rabbinic texts were produced. In contrast, Neusner views each rabbinic document as an individual piece of evidence that can only shed light on the more local Judaisms of such specific document's place of origin and the specific Judaism of the author. His Judaism: The Evidence of the Mishnah (Chicago, 1981; translated into Hebrew and Italian) is the classic statement of his work and the first of many comparable volumes on the other documents of the rabbinic canon. Rabbinic Judaism (or in Hebrew Yahadut Rabanit - יהדות רבנית) is a Jewish denomination characterized by reliance on the written Torah as well as the Oral Law (the Mishnah, Talmuds and subsequent rabbinic decisions) as halakha (Legally Binding, i. ... Form criticism is a method of biblical criticism applied as a means of analyzing the typical features of texts, especially their conventional forms or structures, in order to relate them to their sociological contexts. ...

Neusner’s method of studying documents individually without contextualizing them with other Rabbinic documents of the same era or genre, led to a series of very important studies on the way Judaism creates categories of understanding and how those categories relate to one another, even as they emerge diversely in discrete rabbinic documents. Neusner’s work shows, for instance, how deeply Judaism is integrated with the system of the Pentateuch, how such categories as "merit" and "purity" work in Judaism, and how classical Judaism absorbed and transcended the destruction of the Jerusalem in 70 CE. Look up Pentateuch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Jerusalem (disambiguation). ... This article is about the year 70. ...

Neusner has translated into English nearly the entire Rabbinic canon. This work has opened up many Rabbinic documents to scholars of other fields unfamiliar with Hebrew and Aramaic. His translation technique utilizes a "Harvard-outline" format which attempts to make the argument flow of Rabbinic texts easier to understand for those unfamiliar with Talmudic reasoning.

Neusner's enterprise has been aimed at a humanistic and academic reading of classics of Judaism. Neusner has been drawn from studying text to context. Treating a religion in its social setting, as something a group of people do together, rather than as a set of beliefs and opinions. Humanism is a system of thought that defines a socio-political doctrine (-ism) whose bounds exceed those of locally developed cultures, to include all of humanity and all issues common to human beings. ... Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... For other uses, see Classics (disambiguation). ...

Theological works

In addition to his historical and textual works Neusner has also contributed to the area of Theology. He is the author of "Israel:" Judaism and its Social Metaphors and The Incarnation of God: The Character of Divinity in Formative Judaism.

Contributions to Academia

In addition to his scholarly activities, Neusner has been heavily involved in the shaping of Jewish and Religious Studies in the American University. He has sponsored a number of conferences and collaborative projects that drew different religions into conversation on common themes and problems. Neusner’s efforts have produced conferences and books on, among other topics, the problem of difference in religion, religion and society, religion and material culture, religion and economics, religion and altruism, and religion and tolerance. These collaborations build on Neusner’s intellectual vision, his notion of a religion as a system, and would not have happened otherwise. By working in the realm of Judaism and Jewish Religion, he developed methods and theories applicable to the study of Religion generally.

Neusner has written a number of works exploring the relationship of Judaism to other religions. His A Rabbi Talks with Jesus (Philadelphia, 1993; translated into German, Italian, and Swedish, attempts to establish a religiously sound framework for Judaic-Christian interchange. It has earned the praise of Pope Benedict XVI and the nickname "The Pope's Favorite Rabbi". Papal Arms of Pope Benedict XVI. The papal tiara was replaced with a bishops mitre, and pallium of the Pope was added beneath the coat of arms. ...

He also has collaborated with other scholars to produce comparisons of Judaism and Christianity, as in The Bible and Us: A Priest and A Rabbi Read Scripture Together (New York 1990; translated into Spanish and Portuguese). He has collaborated with scholars of Islam, conceiving World Religions in America: An Introduction (third edition, Nashville 2004), which explores how diverse religions have developed in the distinctive American context. This article is about the state. ... This article is about the year. ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... For other cities named Nashville, see Nashville (disambiguation). ...

He also has composed numerous textbooks and general trade books on Judaism. The two best-known examples are The Way of Torah: An Introduction to Judaism (Belmont 2003); and Judaism: An Introduction (London and New York 2002; translated into Portuguese and Japanese). Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the state. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ...

Throughout his career, Neusner has established publication programs and series with various academic publishers. Through these series, through reference works that he conceived and edited, and through the conferences he has sponsored, Neusner has advanced the careers of dozens of younger scholars from across the globe. Few others in the American study of religion have had this kind of impact on students of so many approaches and interests.

Neusner has aimed to make Rabbinic literature useful to specialists in a variety of fields within the academic study of religion, as well as in ancient history, culture and Near and Middle Eastern Studies. His work has concerned the classic texts of Judaism and how they form a cogent statement of a religious system. “Ancient” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... Inhabitants of the Near East, late nineteenth century. ... Middle Eastern Studies is a name given to a number of academic programs associated with the study of the culture, politics, economy, and geography of the Middle East, an area that is generally interpreted to cover a range of nations extending from North Africa in the west to the Chinese... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Critical assessment of Neusner's work

Although he is highly influential, Neusner has been criticized by scholars in his field of study. Some scholars are critical of Neusner's methodology, and assert that many of his arguments are circular or attempt to prove "negative assumptions" from a lack of evidence (e.g., Cohen, Evans, Maccoby, Poirier, Sanders). Others are critical of Neusner's reading and interpretations of Rabbinic texts, finding that his account is forced and inaccurate (e.g., Cohen, Evans, Maccoby, Poirier and in detail, Zuesse). This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

One methodological and historical critique of Neusner is by E. P. Sanders. In his earliest work, Neusner had argued that the most credible evidence showed that the Second Commonwealth Pharisees were a sectarian group centered on "table fellowship" and ritual food purity practices, and less interested in wider Jewish values or social issues. Zeitlin and Maccoby challenged this account. Sanders proposed that many of Neusner's interpretations of Pharisaic discussions and rulings were questionable (e.g., Neusner concludes that 67% of the debates between Pharisaic "houses" dealt with ritual food purity; Sanders concludes that less than 1% do -- see Sanders, below, p. 177). Ed Parish Sanders (born 1937) is a leading New Testament theologian (Th. ...

Studies critical of Neusner's work include:

  • Shaye J. D. Cohen,"Jacob Neusner, Mishnah and Counter-Rabbinics," Conservative Judaism, Vol.37(1) Fall 1983 p. 48-63
  • Craig A. Evans, "Mishna and Messiah 'In Context'," Journal of Biblical Literature, (JBL), 112/2 1993, p. 267-289
  • Saul Lieberman, "A Tragedy or a Comedy" Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol.104(2) April/June 1984 p. 315-319
  • Hyam Maccoby, "Jacob Neusner's Mishnah," Midstream, 30/5 May 1984 p. 24-32
  • Hyam Maccoby, "Neusner and the Red Cow," Journal for the Study of Judaism (JSJ), 21 1990, p. 60-75.
  • John C. Poirier, "Jacob Neusner, the Mishnah and Ventriloquism," The Jewish Quarterly Review, LXXXVII Nos.1-2, July-October 1996, p. 61-78
  • E.P.Sanders, Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah. Philadelphia, 1990.
  • Solomon Zeitlin, "A Life of Yohanan ben Zakkai. A Specimen of Modern Jewish Scholarship," Jewish Quarterly Review, 62, 1972, p. 145-155.
  • Solomon Zeitlin, "Spurious Interpretations of Rabbinic Sources in the Studies of the Pharisees and Pharisaim," Jewish Quarterly Review, 62, 1974, p. 122-135.
  • Evan M. Zuesse, "The Rabbinic Treatment of 'Others' (Criminals, Gentiles) according to Jacob Neusner," Review of Rabbinic Judaism, Vol. VII, 2004, p. 191-229
  • Evan M. Zuesse, "Phenomenology of Judaism," in: Encyclopaedia of Judaism, ed. J. Neusner, A. Avery-Peck, and W.S. Green, 2nd Edition Leiden: Brill, 2005 Vol.III, p. 1968-1986. (Offers an alternative to Neusner's theory of "Judaisms.")

Books by Jacob Neusner

A complete list of books by Professor Jacob Neusner may be found here:

Additional biographical source: Jacob Neusner. "From History to Religion." Pp. 98-116 in The Craft of Religious Studies, edited by Jon R. Stone. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. This is a complete list of works by Professor Jacob Neusner. ...

External links

  • Prof. Jacob Neusner's homepage
  • Scholar of Judaism, Professional Provocateur, Dinitia Smith, The New York Times, April 13, 2005
  • [1] Second to the Saints, Shahar Smooha, 'Haaretz Daily Newspaper', June 22, 2007

  Results from FactBites:
Jacob Neusner (246 words)
Jacob Neusner is a prolific, as well as controversial, Jewish scholar and rabbi.
He has written or edited over 400 books about the Torah, Tosefta, Talmud, Midrash and other Jewish writings.
"Jacob Neusner's Mishnah" Midstream 30/5 (May 1984) p.24-32
Jacob Neusner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1334 words)
Jacob Neusner (born July 28, 1932, Hartford, Connecticut) is an influential as well as controversial academic scholar of Judaism, and the most prolific.
Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary (where he received rabbinic ordination), the University of Oxford, and Columbia University.
Neusner is a member of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University.
  More results at FactBites »



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