New Book Explores Jewish Law and Narrative

Aug. 23, 2005

by Julie Carlson

A recently released book by Baylor University Press shows how Jewish Halakhah (law) and Aggadah (narrative) fit together to form a robust and coherent covenant theology--one directly concerned about this world.

Written for students, teachers and scholars of rabbinic Judaism, New Testament and Second Temple Judaism, "Performing Israel's Faith: Narrative and Law in Rabbinic Theology," by Jacob Neusner, presents a careful and thorough examination of several key issues within Rabbinic Judaism--the nations, idolatry, sin, repentance and atonement-- and demonstrates that neither Halakhah nor Aggadah can be fully and rightly understood in isolation from each other.

"Neusner provides a synthetic overview of rabbinic theology and concludes with a discussion of the relationship between law and lore, Halakhah and Aggadah," said John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament at Yale University. "This book will be especially useful as an introduction to rabbinic theology for those who are not specialists in that literature."

George W. E. Nickelsburg, Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa, writes, "Neusner brings together into a coherent picture the diverse legal and theological worlds of Halakhah and Aggadah, demonstrating how each in its own way was an integral component of rabbinic covenantal religion."

Neusner, who received his doctorate from Columbia, serves as research professor of theology and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College.

Neusner can be reached at 845-758-7389 or .

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