Early Rabbinic Writings (Cambridge Commentaries on Writings by Hyam MacCoby

By Hyam MacCoby

Rabbinic texts are frequently stated in New testomony and previous testomony reviews, yet hitherto there was no effortless manner for a pupil to know the scope and diversity of the correct rabbinic writings. This booklet introduces the scholar to the total diversity of the early rabbinic writings, with a radical creation and notes, in order that either a bird's eye view of the literature in addition to shut aquaintance with common and demanding texts could be acquired. this may let the reader to embark on additional examine with a clearer orientation. The ebook additionally goals to right many fallacious perspectives approximately rabbinic Judaism bobbing up from outmoded conceptions of the relation among Christianity and Judaism.

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Extra resources for Early Rabbinic Writings (Cambridge Commentaries on Writings of the Jewish and Christian World (No. 3))

Example text

Thus in this period of the final settling of the canon, the term 'Oral Torah', with the significance of non-scriptural but valid teachings, became a valuable safeguard against infringement of the biblical canon. As the canon of the Bible became more firmly accepted, it became easier to relax this inhibition and to allow the widespread publication of collections of the traditions of the Oral Torah, and even, finally, to confer on some of these collections the kind of canonicity that would not rival the canonicity of Scripture.

There is little reason, however, to accept such findings in view of the strong contrary evidence from Josephus, the New Testament, the Targums and the rabbinic writings themselves. Josephus, as we have seen, stresses that the Pharisees claimed to be the guardians of a mass of traditions and that they were regarded by the majority of the people as authorities on Jewish religion. Josephus also stresses that the main point of difference between the Sadducees and the Pharisees was on the issue of Oral Torah versus Scripture.

The word midrash can also be used to mean the genre to which the Midrashim belong. ) Since this designation is somewhat misleading (because it seems at first sight to connote entirely halakic Midrashim), the better term has been devised, 'Tannaitic Midrashim', indicating that the rabbis quoted in them were of the earlier generations known as Tannaim, not of the later generations known as ''Amoraim (see p. 42). The Midrashim concerned are the Mekilta, Sifra and Sifre and some smaller works (see p.

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