J acobnA Man for Distinctionsnby Paul Gottfriedn’The Jews are a race apart. They have made laws according to their own fashion, and keep them.”nThe Ecology of Religion:nFrom Writing to Religion innthe Study of Judaismnhy ]acob NeusnernNashville: Abingdon Press;n320 pp., $27.95nNeusner’s bibliography is asnlong as the laundry list of a professionalnfootball team. Only in his mid-n50’s, Neusner has published more thanntwo hundred books — including detailednstudies of the various rabbinicncommentaries on the Five Books ofnPaul Gottfried is a professor ofnhumanities at Elizabethtown Collegenin Pennsylvania.nWIJ. -H T ir^fn^-^ »»«{•)»!#•;n’i^p4i^ii%_ ‘•”•n•• –.^rw ” •”{•^”••jl-JWt^^lMfc!!nMoses and histories of Babylonian Jewrynand of the primitive church — andnseveral hundred scholady essays. He hasnalso edited annotated translations of thenMishnah, the extensive rabbinic lawncode, and published translations of thentwo authoritative redactions of the Talmud.nWhile Neusner has written onncontemporary Jewish issues and (as anmember of the NEH and NEA), hasnventured bold opinions on the arts andnon the state of academic learning, hisnreal reputation is based on his prodigiousnscholady accomplishments.nConcerning these accomplishments,ntwo general observations are in order.nThe first is that the conclusions Neusnerndraws have often been offensive tonself-designated Jewish spokesmen. Hisnnn— Celsusninterpretations of Talmudic texts andnthe claims he makes for them havendrawn fire, most notably two years agonfrom the Commentary-contributor andnJewish apologist Hyam Maccoby;nwhile several months ago, the JewishnTheological Seminary, where Neusnernreceived his rabbinic ordination, in effectnwithdrew the offer to confer annhonorary doctorate which they hadnpreviously granted, claiming that, itnbeing inappropriate to give the degreento his designated surrogate (Neusnernbeing unable to attend the ceremony,nowing to an attack of gout), the awardnwould be postponed indefinitely. Thendisinviting of Neusner occurred shortlynafter he had printed an essay thatncriticized the methodology of a thennMAY 1990/31n