The Bavli, or Talmud of Babylonia, the foundation-document of Judaism, its law, theology, and exegesis of Scripture, sets forth an orderly world, resting on reason and tested by rationality, all in accord with consistent principles. The document in its coherent intellectual program of inquiry and in its modes of formal cogency embodies that same passion for order, proportion, and rationality that, animates its concrete discussions. Here Neusner spells out the problem of the Bavli's intellectual cogency and formal coherence. He provides in exemplary detail the evidence that sustains that characterization of the writing.
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, and a Member of the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton NJ.