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Book Reviews 139 This Source Reader begins with selections representing the biblical heritage and ends with an epilogue containing an excerpt from Abraham Ibn Daud, writing in the twelfth century C.E., that reports the succession ofthe Geonim, the spiritual masters of Sura and Pumbeditha in Babylon until the close of these influential Academies. The selections address many questions we have about this stretch of religious history. For example, section eight illustrates why the rabbis perceived an essential incompatibility between pure Torah religion and the developments taking place in early Christianity. Schiffman draws on both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds and the Tosefta, and then for the Christian view on the same matter he draws on the secondcentury Christian martyr, Justin's Dialogue with Trypho. But there is much more available here to illustrate the evolution ofdaily life. Section 13.2 illustrates "The Daily Life of the Jew"; section 13.5, "Marriage and the Family"; 13.7, the "Life Cycle." In this post-Holocaust era in which we live, the literary evidence from Christian sources for the development of anti-Jewish sentiment following the demise of the Roman Empire is particularly needful to know. How might the drift have been otherwise? My own inclination would be tojuxtapose more closely the contrast between the Byzantine Christian response to the Jews with the more even-handed treatment of the Muslims after the seventh century. The kindlier treatment of The Jews ofIslam (cf. Bernard Lewis) raises important questions about why the second ofRebekah's Children (cf. Alan Segal) should have been so unfriendly to his brother. Schiffman includes an epilogue touching on this topic, which I realize is not the subject ofhis study. But as a Christian reviewer, this seems to me one of the very pertinent angles from which to view the development, not only of the Texts and Traditions ofRabbinic Judaism, but of the civilization in which this strain of piety has had such a formative influence. Professor Schiffman's History and Source Reader are significant contributions to the discussion of more than the development of Jewish tradition. Though they focus primarily on the Jewish literature, they allow Jew and non-Jew alike to stand together within the common crucible of humanity to witness the development both of one tradition and of the broader scope of this tradition's influence. I can't think of other books that have done a better job of addressing this theme. Stuart Robertson Jewish Studies Program Purdue University Jerusalem and Athens: The Congruity of Talmudic and Classical Philosophy, by Jacob Neusner. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997. 166 pp. $92.50. It had long been taken for granted that "Jerusalem" (that is, Judaism) represents a state ofmind utterly different from that of"Athens" (that is, Greco-Roman culture). Only in 140 SHOFAR Spring 2000 Vol. 18, No.3 the post-war years, thanks to the work of scholars like Erwin Goodenough, Saul Lieberman, and Martin Hengel, has this view begun to break down. It is now widely acknowledged that the Judaisms of Late Antiquity were all themselves Hellenistic religions. Yet, for many, the "Pharisaic" Judaism of classical Rabbinism, as found in the Mishnah and Talmud, is still regarded as having been largely untouched by Hellenism. According to this view, Hellenism made its impact either through Christianity or in shaping modem, "secular" Judaism. In the slender volume before us, Jacob Neusner shows that view to be untenable. At the very core of the Talmud's method is the essence of Greek thinking. Neusner sets out here to make a simple but powerful point, namely, that the classical literature of rabbinic Judaism does not stand in contrast to Greco-Roman thinking but rather takes it up and adapts it to its own purpose. That is, the Mishnaic and Talmudic sages, according to Neusner, make use ofthe dialectic ofGreek philosophical analysis, just as the early Church did, but applied it not to theology but to the realia and details ofeveryday life. They were seeking to discover, as Neusner puts it in one telling phrase, not what was virtuous, but what was kosher. The point is that they did so in a thoroughly Greco-Roman way. The argument moves in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 139-141
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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