Edersheim was born in Vienna of Jewish parents of culture and wealth. English was spoken in their home, and he became fluent at an early age. He was educated at a local gymnasium and also in the Talmud and Torah at a Hebrew school, and in 1841 he entered the University of Vienna. His father suffered illness and financial reversals before Alfred could complete his university education, and he had to support himself. For the first time since it originally appeared, this classic work has been newly typeset in an easy-to-read modern typeface, making reading, studying, consulting easier than ever before.