Herbert Basser

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Herbert W. Basser (born 1942) is a Canadian scholar of religion and a Jewish theologian known for his work Studies in Exegesis: Christian Critiques of Jewish Law (Boston, 2000).[1]


In 1963, he graduated from Yeshiva University with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature.[2] After several years as a mathematics teacher, he continued his studies at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada earning a Master of Arts in 1979 and a Ph.D. in 1983.[2]

Basser has held the Harvard Starr Fellowship at Harvard University, taught at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Toronto, and the University of California, Berkeley.[3] He has been teaching religious studies at Queen's University in Canada since 1980.[2]


Basser is perhaps best known for his view that scholars of early Christianity have not given sufficient study to rabbinic writings of the time, therefore resulting in a limited understanding how Christianity developed from the Jewish religious tradition.


  • The Gospel of Matthew and Judaic Traditions: A relevance based commentary, Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2015 (with Marsha B. Cohen).
  • The Mind behind the Gospels: A Commentary to Mathew 1 – 14, Brighton: Academic Studies Press, 2009.
  • Studies in Exegesis: Christian Critiques of Jewish Law and Rabbinic Responses 70-300 C.E. Leiden, Boston: E. J. Brill, 2000. Reprint paper 2002.
  • Pseudo-Rabad; Commentary to Sifre Numbers, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998.
  • Pseudo-Rabad: Commentary to Sifre Deuteronomy, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994.
  • Approaches to Ancient Judaism V (Introduced and edited by H. Basser), Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993.
  • The Mystical Study of Ruth: Midrash HaNe'elam of the Zohar to the Book of Ruth, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993. (Lawrence Englander with Herbert Basser).
  • Moses Kimhi: Commentary on the Book of Job, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992. (Herbert Basser and Barry Walfish).
  • In the Margins of the Midrash, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990.
  • Midrashic Interpretations of the Song of Moses, Berne and New York: Peter Lang, 1984.


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