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Early Rabbinic Writings (Cambridge Commentaries on Writings by Hyam MacCoby

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By Hyam MacCoby

Rabbinic texts are frequently stated in New testomony and previous testomony stories, yet hitherto there was no effortless approach for a pupil to understand the scope and diversity of the suitable rabbinic writings. This booklet introduces the coed to the entire diversity of the early rabbinic writings, with a radical advent and notes, in order that either a bird's eye view of the literature in addition to shut aquaintance with ordinary and critical texts might be received. this may permit the reader to embark on extra examine with a clearer orientation. The booklet additionally goals to right many incorrect perspectives approximately rabbinic Judaism coming up from outmoded conceptions of the relation among Christianity and Judaism.

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

Example text

This movement was both revolutionary and traditional, thus following in the footsteps of the biblical lay prophets who had rebuked the kings and priests of their time. The rejection of the Oral Torah by the Sadducees, therefore, had a political significance: it meant a rejection of the movement of lay leaders, whether Hasidim or liakamim or rabbis, who claimed superior authority to that of the priests, and exalted the traditions of the people above the priestly exegesis of Scripture. The anti-priest bias of the Pharisaic movement can be seen throughout the rabbinic literature.

The Pharisaic party (earlier called Hasidim, see I Mace. 2:42) arose during the period of the corruption of the High Priesthood, in the period c. 170 BC, and their aim was to assert the ancient right of the laity to call authority, whether royal or priestly, to account. This movement was both revolutionary and traditional, thus following in the footsteps of the biblical lay prophets who had rebuked the kings and priests of their time. The rejection of the Oral Torah by the Sadducees, therefore, had a political significance: it meant a rejection of the movement of lay leaders, whether Hasidim or liakamim or rabbis, who claimed superior authority to that of the priests, and exalted the traditions of the people above the priestly exegesis of Scripture.

The unfinished quality of the Oral Torah, the feeling that it was never quite at the stage of being definitively put into writing, and that every attempt to embody it required further attempts, supplements and supplements of supplements, arose from the sense of the inexhaustibility of the Bible, the conviction that discussion of it could never be brought to completion because each new generation was able to discover new insights or to apply it in previously unforeseen ways. Such a concerted effort of commentary, appreciation and application to life certainly had an inhibiting effect on original composition.

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