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The Idea of History in Rabbinic Judaism (Brill Reference Library of Judaism)
by Jacob Neusner
Binding: Hardcover, 342 pages
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
Weight: 1.75 pound
Dimension: H: 0.75 x L: 9.6 x W: 0.48 inches
ISBN 10: 9004135839
ISBN 13: 9789004135833
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Book Description:
History provides one way of marking time. But there are others, and the Judaism of the dual Torah, set forth in the Rabbinic literature from the Mishnah through the Talmud of Babylonia, ca. 200 600 C.E., defines one such alternative. This book tells the story of how a historical way of thinking about past, present, and future, time and eternity, the here and now in relationship to the ages, that is, Scripture s way of thinking gave way to another mode of thought altogether. This other model Neusner calls a paradigm, because a pattern imposed meaning and order on things that happened. Paradigmatic modes of thought took the place of historical ones. Thinking through paradigms, with a conception of time that elides past and present and removes all barriers between them, in fact governs the reception of Scripture in Judaism until nearly our own time. Neusner here explains through the single case of Rabbinic Judaism, precisely how that other way of reading Scripture did its work, and why, for so many centuries, that reading of the heritage of ancient Israel governed. At stake are 1 a conception of time different from the historical one and 2 premises on how to take the measure of time that form a legitimate alternative to those that define the foundations of the historical way of measuring time. Fully exposed, those alternative premises may prove as logical and compelling as the historical ones. The approach follows the documentary history of ideas, and individual chapters describe the treatment of historical topics in the Mishnah, the Talmud of the Land of Israel (a.k.a., the Yerushalmi), Genesis Rabbah, that is, ca. 200, 400, and 450 CE, and Pesiqta deRab Kahana, ca. 500 CE.


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