Jacob Neusner, influential voice of American Jewry, dies at 84

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Jacob Neusner, one of the most influential voices in American Jewish intellectual life in the past half-century, has died.

Neusner, one of the most published authors in history, having written or edited more than 950 books, died on Saturday at his home in New York. He was 84.

His funeral is set for Monday at 10:30 a.m, at Blithewood Manor on the campus of Bard College, where he has taught theology since 1994. He also taught at Columbia University, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Brandeis University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and the University of South Florida.

Earlier this summer, the NYU Press released an extensive biography of Neusner, titled, “Jacob Neusner: An American Jewish Iconoclast” by Aaron W. Hughes.

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Prior to entering Harvard University as an undergraduate, Neusner, who was raised by American Jewish parents in the small town of West Hartford, Connecticut, had no formal Jewish education.

Neusner graduated from Harvard and spent a year at Oxford University before enrolling in Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

His area of expertise is Rabbinic Judaism and rabbinical Jewish writings.  His work is well known in intellectual circles. He also enjoyed exploring the relationship of Judaism to other religions.

His son, Noam, is a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, who currently works for 30 Point Strategies, a strategic communications firm.


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