A volume such as this is possible only through the cooperation and encouragement of many people. Among those who simply must be mentioned here, I would like to thank, first of all, the contributors for their enormous efforts in bringing this volume to a successful conclusion. I am also grateful to the series editors, John J. Collins and Florentino García Martinez, for accepting this book for publication in the Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplement Series. My thanks go to Sonja Mortenson and Andy Wong for their technical assistance on the project. I gratefully acknowledge that funding for this project was provided, in part, by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Finally, my dear wife Gail has helped in every stage of production. I would like to express my love and appreciation to her at this point.
I regret to announce that the present volume contains the final published work of Prof. Dr. Odil Hannes Steck, who died on March 31, 2001. It seems fitting, therefore, to dedicate this volume to his memory.