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An Introduction to Judaism: A Textbook and Reader [Paperback]

By Jacob Neusner (Author)
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Item Number 154074  
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Item description for An Introduction to Judaism: A Textbook and Reader by Jacob Neusner...

An ancient religion practiced through most of recorded history and having profound influence on both Christianity and Islam, Judaism is also a modern religion that still transforms the lives of many people. Neusner surveys how Judaism took shape as people responded to political and religious crises and describes how Judaism is practiced in American today.

Publishers Description

Judaism is an ancient religion, practiced through most of recorded history and having profound influence on both Christianity and Islam. It is a modern religion, too, still transforming the lives of many people. In this book, Jacob Neusner brings together these two aspects of the study of Judaism. He describes how Judaism is practiced in a particular time and place--America today--and surveys how Judaism took shape as people responded to political and religious crises. Neusner provides a wealth of primary texts in addition to his own analysis.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   496
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.08" Height: 1.23"
Weight:   1.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 19, 1992
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664253482  
ISBN13  9780664253486  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jacob Neusner

Jacob Neusner

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.

Jacob Neusner currently resides in Annandale-On-Hudson. Jacob Neusner was born in 1932 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Bard College Bard College, New York, USA Bard College, New York, USA B.

Jacob Neusner has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Christianity and Judaism, the Formative Categories
  2. Studies in Judaism

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism

Christian Product Categories
Books > General Interest > Other Religion > General

Reviews - What do customers think about An Introduction to Judaism: A Textbook and Reader?

Not a Good Textbook  Oct 15, 2000
I have been teaching for over 5 years at a major university, and I have been fortunate during that short time to use a number of textbooks. Jacob Neusner's AN INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM: A TEXTBOOK AND READER, lacks several elements that are prerequisite of a quality textbook. Some of these elements are: quality of writing, organization, undue repetition of subject matter, and failure to explain specialized terminology.

I have never, in 17 years of collegiate work, encountered a book so poorly written. The style of writing shifts significantly throughout the volume. At times the level of writing and the command of rhetoric is sophomoric and other times it is what one might expect of a Rabbi/scholar.

The structure or organization of the book is its weakest point. While the general outline of the book is intriguing and helpful, within that structure the reader is lost time and time again as to what the main topic is. I have never had to re-read sections of a book as much as I have had to in the reading of this one. (My Ph.D. work is in continental philosophy, so I have read my share of difficult texts. This text is difficult for the wrong reasons.)

There is far too much repetition in the book to excuse it on grounds of effective educational practice. This failure is to be credited to Westminster John Knox for doing the worst job of copy editing I have ever encountered. I am sure it was no easy task to begin with, to edit what was most certainly a first draft, but a scan through the text would signal to the copy editor these repetitions.

Finally, Rabbi Neusner neglects his readers, who believe they are reading an introduction to Judaism, when he assumes that they will arrive with Rabbinic rhetoric pre-installed into their hermeneutic drives. The difficulty of understanding the history of Rabbinic literature is hard enough, but in Neusner's rendering it is at times nearly impossible.

I will admit that there are paragraphs which possess clarity and insight, even some that are well-written, but they are few and far between. The book does possess a wealth of information that will prove beneficial to the student, but the student is hindered greatly from getting to it. I do not mind a difficult book, as a matter of fact I prefer it, but to have to edit a volume into legibility first is anathema to both academics and to literature itself. Westminster John Knox needs to repent for having published this volume.

I only recommend this book as a research tool and not as a textbook. In its reader section there are essays that are quite valuable and do read more easily, but they were certainly edited before W/JK received them. The book looks like a nice textbook, if one only looks at its layout. It has a glossary, and the sections "A Word to the Student" and "A Word to the Teacher," make it appear to be a very conscientious work. But the failure at its "ground" level overwhelms the student. I would not have used this book for a textbook, if I had not inherited it with the course, and I will not use it again.


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