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By Jacob Neusner / Wipf & Stock / 2005
Orthodox Judaism developed in the period from approximately 100 B.C.E to 640 C.E. It was during this time that the Babylonian Talmud came to prominence through the efforts of the Babylonian rabbinic schools. The Talmud continues to govern the life of traditional Jewry—orthodox and conservative—and provides important guidance for reform Jews as well. Because of the Talmud’s continuing influence, an understanding of this period is crucial to any understanding of present-day Judaism. Jacob Neusner centers his study on three key words applied to rabbinic Judaism: power—the way in which one man caused another to do his will; myth—the stories people told and the beliefs they held to account for and justify the power-relationships they experienced; and function—how things worked.