Jerusalem and Athens

The Congruity of Talmudic and Classical Philosophy


The Talmud - the Mishnah, a philosophical law code, and the Gemara, a dialectical commentary upon the Mishnah - works by translating principal modes of Western philosophy and science into the analysis of the rules of rationality governing the rules of humble, everyday reality. Science, in particular the method of hierarchical classification characteristic of natural history, supplies the method of making connections and drawing conclusions to the Mishnah, the law-code that forms the foundation-document of the Talmud, as Neusner demonstrated in his Judaism as Philosophy. The Method and Message of the Mishnah. Here he proceeds to show how philosophy, specifically dialectical analysis, defines the logic of the Gemara and guides the writers of the Gemara's compositions and the compilers of its composites in their analysis and amplification of some of the topical presentations, or tractates, of the Mishnah.

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Jacob Neusner is Distinguished Research Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, and Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University.