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Jacob Neusner, influential scholar of Judaism, dies at 84

Jacob Neusner, influential scholar of Judaism, dies at 84
Jacob Neusner was a renowned scholar and wrote or edited more than 900 books and articles. (Emily Darrow / Bard College / Associated Press)

One of the most influential American scholars of Judaism has died. Jacob Neusner died Saturday at his home in Rhinebeck, N.Y. He was 84 and suffered from Parkinson's disease. Bard College, where he had taught since 1994, confirmed his death.

Neusner transformed the way Judaism was studied. He made Judaism a topic, alongside Christianity, in secular religious studies programs at colleges and universities.

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His translations of rabbinic texts made many accessible in English for the first time. Neusner wrote or edited more than 900 books and articles. His work on Judaism and Christianity was quoted extensively by retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Neusner was born in West Hartford, Conn., and earned degrees from Harvard University, Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

A funeral is set for Monday.

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