This book breaks new ground in several areas of Talmudic philology, especially with regard to the central work of classical rabbinic literature, the Mishnah, and its companion volume the Tosefta. The first section, devoted to the textual criticism of the Mishnah, exposes a number of widespread fallacies with regard to the so-called "Palestinian" and "Babylonian" manuscripts of this work. The second section, the largest and most innovative of the book, seeks to place the textual criticism of the Tosefta on a firm foundation on the basis of a detailed analysis which upends the scholarly consensus in this area. The third section contributes to the ongoing debate concerning the relationship between Mishnah and Tosefta, emphasizing the mulifaceted nature of this relationship which varies substantially from one passage to another.
Finally, the afterword makes an impassioned plea for editors of classical rabbinic texts to abandon the antiquated notions of legitimate editorial practice which still prevail in the field in favor of approaches which have long been accepted in other disciplines.