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Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (Hebrew: ספרות חז"ל‎ "Literature [of our] sages," where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the Talmudic era). This more specific sense of "Rabbinic literature"—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash
Midrash
(Hebrew: מדרש‎), and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of Rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts. This article discusses rabbinic literature in both senses. It begins with the classic rabbinic literature of the Talmudic era (Sifrut Hazal), and then adds a broad survey of rabbinic writing from later periods.

Contents

1 Mishnaic
Mishnaic
literature 2 The Midrash 3 Later works by category

3.1 Major codes of Jewish law 3.2 Jewish thought and ethics 3.3 Liturgy

4 Later works by historical period

4.1 Works of the Geonim 4.2 Works of the Rishonim (the "early" rabbinical commentators) 4.3 Works of the Acharonim (the "later" rabbinical commentators)

5 Meforshim

5.1 Classic Torah
Torah
and Talmud
Talmud
commentaries 5.2 Modern Torah
Torah
commentaries 5.3 Modern Siddur
Siddur
commentaries

6 See also 7 Bibliography 8 External links

8.1 General 8.2 Links to full text resources 8.3 Glossaries

Mishnaic
Mishnaic
literature[edit] The Mishnah
Mishnah
and the Tosefta
Tosefta
(compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200 CE) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, expounding and developing Judaism's Oral Law, as well as ethical teachings. Following these came the two Talmuds:

The Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Talmud, c. 450 CE The Babylonian Talmud, c. 600 CE The minor tractates (part of the Babylonian Talmud)

The Midrash[edit] Midrash
Midrash
(pl. Midrashim) is a Hebrew word referring to a method of reading details into, or out of, a biblical text. The term midrash also can refer to a compilation of Midrashic teachings, in the form of legal, exegetical, homiletical, or narrative writing, often configured as a commentary on the Bible
Bible
or Mishnah. There are a large number of "classical" Midrashic works spanning a period from Mishnaic
Mishnaic
to Geonic times, often showing evidence of having been worked and reworked from earlier materials, and frequently coming to us in multiple variants. A compact list of these works [based on (Holtz 1984)] is given below; a more thorough annotated list can be found under Midrash. The timeline below must be approximate because many of these works were composed over a long span of time, borrowing and collating material from earlier versions; their histories are therefore somewhat uncertain and the subject of scholarly debate. In the table, "n.e." designates that the work in question is not extant except in secondary references.

Extra-canonical rabbinical literature ("n.e." designates "not extant")

Estimated date Exegetical Homiletical Narrative

Tannaitic period (till 200 CE)

Mekhilta of Rabbi
Rabbi
Ishmael Mekhilta of Rabbi
Rabbi
Shimon Mekilta le-Sefer Devarim
Mekilta le-Sefer Devarim
(n.e.) Sifra Sifre

Alphabet of Akiba ben Joseph
Alphabet of Akiba ben Joseph
(?)

Seder Olam Rabbah

400–650 CE

Genesis Rabbah Lamentations Rabbah

Leviticus Rabbah Pesikta de-Rav Kahana Midrash
Midrash
Tanhuma

Seder Olam Zutta

650–900 CE

Midrash
Midrash
Proverbs Ecclesiastes Rabbah

Deuteronomy Rabbah Pesikta Rabbati Avot of Rabbi
Rabbi
Natan

Pirkei de- Rabbi
Rabbi
Eliezer Tanna Devei Eliyahu

900–1000 CE

Midrash
Midrash
Psalms Exodus Rabbah Ruth Zuta Lamentations Zuta

1000–1200

Midrash
Midrash
Aggadah of Moses ha-Darshan Midrash
Midrash
Tadshe

Sefer ha-Yashar

Later

Yalkut Shimoni Midrash
Midrash
ha-Gadol Ein Yaakov Numbers Rabbah

Later works by category[edit] Major codes of Jewish law[edit] Main article: Halakha

Mishneh Torah Arba'ah Turim Shulchan Aruch Beit Yosef Chayei Adam The Responsa literature

Jewish thought and ethics[edit]

Jewish philosophy

Philo Isaac Israeli Emunot v'Dayyot Kuzari Guide for the Perplexed Bachya ibn Pakuda Sefer Ikkarim Wars of the Lord Or Adonai

Kabbalah

Sepher Yetzirah Bahir Zohar Pardes Rimonim Etz Hayim

Aggada Hasidic thought

Tanya Kedushas Levi Likutey Moharan

Musar literature

Mesillat Yesharim Shaarei Teshuva Orchot Tzaddikim Sefer Chasidim

Liturgy[edit]

The Siddur
Siddur
and Jewish liturgy Piyyutim (Classical Jewish poetry)

Later works by historical period[edit] Works of the Geonim[edit] The Geonim are the rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in Babylon
Babylon
(650 - 1250) :

She'iltoth of Acha'i [Gaon] Halachoth Gedoloth Emunoth ve-Deoth (Saadia Gaon) The Siddur
Siddur
by Amram Gaon Responsa

Works of the Rishonim (the "early" rabbinical commentators)[edit] The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1000 - 1550)

The commentaries on the Torah, such as those by Rashi, Abraham ibn Ezra and Nahmanides. Commentaries on the Talmud, principally by Rashi, his grandson Samuel ben Meir and Nissim of Gerona. Commentaries on the Mishnah, such as those composed by Maimonides, Obadiah of Bertinoro, and Nathan ben Abraham Talmudic novellae (chiddushim) by Tosafists, Nahmanides, Nissim of Gerona, Solomon ben Aderet
Solomon ben Aderet
(RaShBA), Yomtov ben Ashbili (Ritva) Works of halakha (Asher ben Yechiel, Mordechai ben Hillel) Codices
Codices
by Maimonides
Maimonides
and Jacob ben Asher, and finally Shulkhan Arukh Responsa, e.g. by Solomon ben Aderet
Solomon ben Aderet
(RaShBA) Kabbalistic works (such as the Zohar) Philosophical works (Maimonides, Gersonides, Nahmanides) Ethical works (Bahya ibn Paquda, Jonah of Gerona)

Works of the Acharonim (the "later" rabbinical commentators)[edit] The Acharonim are the rabbis from 1550 to the present day.

Important Torah
Torah
commentaries include Keli Yakar (Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz), Ohr ha-Chayim by Chayim ben-Attar, the commentary of Samson Raphael Hirsch, and the commentary of Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin. Important works of Talmudic novellae include: Pnei Yehoshua, Hafla'ah, Sha'agath Aryei Responsa, e.g. by Moses Sofer, Moshe Feinstein Works of halakha and codices e.g. Mishnah
Mishnah
Berurah by Yisrael Meir Kagan and the Aruch ha-Shulchan by Yechiel Michel Epstein Ethical and philosophical works: Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Yisrael Meir Kagan and the Mussar Movement Hasidic works (Kedushath Levi, Sefath Emmeth, Shem mi-Shemuel) Philosophical/metaphysical works (the works of the Maharal of Prague, Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
and Nefesh ha-Chayim by Chaim of Volozhin) Mystical works Historical works, e.g. Shem ha-Gedolim by Chaim Joseph David Azulai.

Meforshim[edit] Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning "commentators" (or roughly meaning "exegetes"), Perushim means "commentaries". In Judaism
Judaism
these words refer to commentaries on the Torah
Torah
(five books of Moses), Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud, the responsa literature, or even the siddur (Jewish prayerbook), and more. Classic Torah
Torah
and Talmud
Talmud
commentaries[edit] Classic Torah
Torah
and/or Talmud
Talmud
commentaries have been written by the following individuals:

Geonim

Saadia Gaon, 10th century Babylon

Rishonim

Rashi
Rashi
(Shlomo Yitzchaki), 12th century France Abraham ibn Ezra Nahmanides
Nahmanides
(Moshe ben Nahman) Samuel ben Meir, the Rashbam, 12th century France Rabbi
Rabbi
Levi ben Gershom (known as Ralbag or Gersonides) David ben Joseph Kimhi, the Radak, 13th century France Joseph ben Isaac, also known as the Bekhor Shor, 12th century France Nissim ben Reuben Gerondi, the RaN, 14th century Spain Isaac ben Judah Abravanel (1437–1508) Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno, 16th century Italy

Acharonim

The Vilna Gaon, Rabbi
Rabbi
Eliyahu of Vilna, 18th century Lithuania The Malbim, Meir Lob ben Jehiel Michael

Classical Talmudic commentaries were written by Rashi. After Rashi
Rashi
the Tosafot
Tosafot
were written, which was an omnibus commentary on the Talmud
Talmud
by the disciples and descendants of Rashi; this commentary was based on discussions done in the rabbinic academies of Germany and France. Modern Torah
Torah
commentaries[edit] Modern Torah
Torah
commentaries which have received wide acclaim in the Jewish community include:

Haemek Davar by Rabbi
Rabbi
Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin The Chofetz Chaim Torah
Torah
Temimah of Baruch ha-Levi Epstein Kerem HaTzvi, by Rabbi
Rabbi
Tzvi Hirsch Ferber Sefat Emet (Lips of Truth), Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Ger, 19th century Europe The "Pentateuch and Haftaras" by Joseph H. Hertz Uebersetzung und Erklärung des Pentateuchs ("Translation and Commentary of the Pentateuch") by Samson Raphael Hirsch Nechama Leibowitz, a noted woman scholar Ha Torah
Torah
vehaMitzva ("The Torah
Torah
and the Commandment") by Meïr Leibush, the "Malbim" Ha-Ketav veha- Kabbalah
Kabbalah
by Rabbi
Rabbi
Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg The Soncino Books of the Bible

Modern Siddur
Siddur
commentaries[edit] Modern Siddur
Siddur
commentaries have been written by:

Rabbi
Rabbi
Yisrael Meir Kagan
Yisrael Meir Kagan
HaCohen, The Chofetz Chaim's Siddur Samson Raphael Hirsch, The Hirsch Siddur, Feldheim Abraham Isaac Kook, Olat Reyia The Authorised Daily Prayer Book
Book
with commentary by Joseph H. Hertz Elie Munk, The World of Prayer, Elie Munk Nosson Scherman, The Artscroll
Artscroll
Siddur, Mesorah Publications Jonathan Sacks, in The Authorised Daily Prayer Book
Book
of the British Commonwealth (the new version of "Singer's Prayer Book") as well as the Koren Sacks Siddur. Reuven Hammer, Or Hadash, a siddur commentary built around the text of Siddur
Siddur
Sim Shalom, United Synagogue
Synagogue
of Conservative Judaism My Peoples Prayer Book, Jewish Lights Publishing, written by a team of non-Orthodox rabbis and Talmud
Talmud
scholars.

See also[edit]

Judaism
Judaism
portal

Jewish commentaries on the Bible List of Jewish Prayers and Blessings List of rabbis Moses in rabbinic literature Simeon in rabbinic literature Rabbinic Judaism The Traditional Jewish Bookshelf Torah
Torah
databases (electronic versions of traditional Jewish texts)

Bibliography[edit]

Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts, Barry W. Holtz, (Summit Books) Introduction to Rabbinic Literature Jacob Neusner, (Anchor Bible Reference Library/Doubleday) Introduction to the Talmud
Talmud
and Midrash, H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, (Fortress Press) The Literature of the Sages: Oral Torah, Halakha, Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmud, External Tractates, Shemuel Safrai and Peter J. Tomson (Fortress, 1987)

External links[edit] General[edit]

A survey of rabbinic literature A timeline of Jewish texts Comprehensive listing by category - Global Jewish Database Judaica archival project Chapters On Jewish Literature Online Resources for the Study of Rabbinic Literature

Links to full text resources[edit]

Mechon Mamre Sages of Ashkenaz Database Halacha Brura and Birur Halacha Institute The Electronic Torah
Torah
Warehouse hebrewbooks.org seforimonline.org Primary Sources @ Ben Gurion University Young Israel library

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