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Herbert Danby 20 January — 29 March  was an Anglican priest and writer who played a central role in the change of attitudes toward Judaism  in the first half of the twentieth century. He retained a lifelong passionate interest in music, and also in golf.
He achieved a first class degree in Oriental Languages, and was awarded an MA in His studies continued after he started work, and he was made a Doctor of Divinity in , partly for his translation Tractate Sanhedrin, Mishna and Tosefta , published in In , Danby moved to Jerusalem to become Librarian of St. George's Cathedral. He was Residentiary Canon there, — From , he was Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Jerusalem.
He engaged in the study of Jewish literature, and published his English translation of the Mishnah in , the first ever complete translation of the Mishnah into English.
He also translated a remarkable work by Joseph Klausner entitled Jesus of Nazareth. His contributions to the decline of anti-semitism in intellectual circles in the twentieth century was very significant. He was at work revising his translation of Maimonides' Book of Cleanness when he finally succumbed to his fatal illness.
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The Mishnah , understood to be the written form of the Jewish Oral Law, was preserved by the rabbis following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, and was completed in approximately CE. More than four centuries of Jewish religious thought and activity are found within this text, and it is as important to the development of Judaism as the New Testament is to the development of Christianity. Students of the New Testament will find it especially interesting because its contents reflect the Jewish religious tradition during the time of Jesus and the early Christian Church. The Mishnah historical value in understanding the first two centuries of the common era is comparable in its importance to the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and secular works of that time such as the writings of Josephus. Until the printing of this volume in the s, the Mishnah was not available to study as a whole for the English speaker. Now it is available for the first time in a paperback edition. His interest in, and translation into English of, ancient Jewish writings helped to change the attitudes of scholars away from anti-Semitism in the mid-twentieth century.
The Mishnah: Translated from the Hebrew with Introduction and Brief Explanatory Notes
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