Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review of Hughes, Jacob Neusner

Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast
Reviews of the Enoch Seminar 2017.03.04
Aaron W. Hughes, Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast. New York: New York University Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-4798-8585-5. Pp. 319. $35.00. Hardcover.

Albert I. Baumgarten
Bar Ilan University
A long, thorough review. Excerpt:
This review will focus on two aspects of Hughes’ account of Neusner’s career, contributions, and place in scholarship: 1. How did Hughes balance his high estimation and praise of Neusner’s distinctive role in American academia with a critical appreciation of the more problematic aspects of Neusner’s life and work, a balance that is crucial for a meaningful biography? How can one be both an admiring and critical biographer? 2. What can one learn from Hughes’ book about the harsh and mutually demeaning relationship between Neusner and Israeli scholars, which was the talk of the discipline on both sides of the Atlantic, and which lasted for decades?