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Title: The Halakha: Historical and Religious Perspectives
Author: Neusner, Jacob
Publisher: Brill; Publication Date: 2002
Hardcover; ISBN: 9789004122192
Volumes: 1; Pages: x, 250
List Price in Cloth: $144.00 Our price: $122.99
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The normative law, or Halakhah, of the Oral Torah defines the principal medium by which the sages set forth their message. Norms of conduct, more than norms of conviction, convey the sages' statement by embodying its system for the social order of holy Israel. The essays gathered here, complementing the author's Theology of the Halakhah (Brill, 2001), systematically investigate the religious meaning of the normative law of Judaism, with special reference to the concept of time and history that is embodied by the law, in the now-classic essays, "History, Time, and Paradigm in Scripture and in Judaism," "Halakhah Past Time: Why No History in Rabbinic Judaism?" and the comparison of history and purity in Rabbinic Judaism and in the religious system of the Dead Sea library at Qumran, "History and Purity in First-Century Judaism." Two essays of anthropological interest, "The Halakhah and Anthropology," and "The Halakhah and the Inner Life of the Israelite," move from history to the Halakhah as a cultural indicator. The final essays take up two theological questions, how the theology expressed in the Halakhic system works together with the theology conveyed by the Aggadic statements of Rabbinic Judaism in late antiquity; and the case for the Rabbis' reading of ancient Israelite Scripture: "Why the Rabbis are right." An essay, "ritual without myth," argues that the Halakhah on its own, without verbal explanation, embodies its own mythic structure, in the context of the law of Numbers 19/Mishnah-tractate Parah.Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and chairman of the editorial board of Review of Rabbinic Judaism (Brill), Encyclopaedia of Judaism (Brill) and other joint ventures in the study of Judaism. He is editor of The Brill Reference Library of Judaism. He is the most published scholar of Judaism in the world and holds twenty-three honorary degrees, academic medals, and other awards.