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The Idea of History in Rabbinic Judaism

Posted By: yousufhunk
The Idea of History in Rabbinic Judaism

The Idea of History in Rabbinic Judaism
Brill Academic Publishers | January 2004 | ISBN-10: 9004135839 | 342 pages | PDF | 1.3 MB

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, Scripture¹s 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.