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This analysis of how the Rabbis of the Talmud and Midrash made Jeremiah one of their own shows how Rabbinic Judaism rehearses the Prophetic message. Jeremiah offered hope to renew the relation that was broken, and Yohanan ben Zakkai promised another mode of atonement, involving individual conviction, and conduct. Joining the two yields, the thesis of this book is: in the case of Jeremiah Rabbinic Judaism continues and recapitulates Prophetic Judaism. Prophet and Rabbi confront the same kind of crisis with the same theological outcome. The Prophetic response to and the Rabbinic reading of the event of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem- the certainty of God's pardon and love- intersect. The problem of this study of Rabbi Jeremiah is to describe precisely how the Rabbis of the formative canon in the case of Jeremiah naturalized to their system- thus Rabbinized- Prophecy. In taking over the heritage of ancient Israelite Prophecy and law, have the Rabbis subverted Prophecy's religious vision or adapted and adopted it, making that vision their own? By identifying the principal propositions of the Prophet and by examining both the Rabbinic reading of the Prophet and the Rabbinic theology of those same propositions, Neusner answers that question.
University Press of America
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