The importance of the Tosefta for literary, historical, and religious scholarship has long been known, and this two-volume set makes it accessible to many more readers. The work is a vital supplement to the early rabbinic oral tradition first set to writing in the Mishnah at the end of the second century of the Common Era. Dating to about 220 CE and also set in the Tannaic period, the Tosefta has the same six “orders” and essentially the same “tractates” as the Mishnah, often agreeing with it, but sometimes differing significantly in its understanding of the oral tradition. This English translation of the Mishnaic Hebrew (with some Aramaic) is not merely a paraphrase, but aims at a literal rendition into English of the formulary patterns and syntactical traits of the original text. It contains complete references to the passages in the Tosefta that cite verbatim the corresponding unit in the Mishnah, which is printed in italics. The Tosefta is crucial to the study of formative rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity.
Jacob Neusner is Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism at Bard College and is Senior Fellow, Institute of Advanced Theology, Princeton. He has published more than 1000 books including translations of the Mishnah and both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, and is the author of innumerable articles.