Bible Books
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Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
Jacob Neusner
(New York: Anchor Bible Reference Library, Doubleday, 1994) 720 pp., $40.00
Reviewed by Sacha Stern
“While I have enjoyed the work required for every one of the five hundred books I have published…accomplishing this work of summary…has given me the greatest satisfaction…it marks a definitive closure; I have accomplished my goals.”
An introduction to rabbinic literature? Or a summary of Jacob Neusner’s oeuvre? This volume does provide a description, with sample passages, of all the “classics” of rabbinic literature—or to be more precise, of early rabbinic literature, that is, from the third to the seventh century C.E.—the Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmud of the Land of Israel, Talmud of Babylonia and the early Midrashim. And yet, this description focuses almost entirely on their logical patterns and rhetorical forms, that is, only on Neusner’s own research.

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