Rabbinic Judaism
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Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the center ...
. Rabbinic Judaism has its roots in Pharisaic Judaism and is based on the belief that
Moses Moses hbo, מֹשֶׁה, Mōše; also known as Moshe or Moshe Rabbeinu (Mishnaic Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, ); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, Mūše; ar, موسى, Mūsā; grc, Mωϋσῆς, Mōÿsēs () is considered the most important Prop ...
at Mount Sinai received both the Written Torah (''Torah she-be-Khetav'') and the Oral Torah (''Torah she-be-al Peh'') from God. The Oral Torah, transmitted orally, explains the Written Torah. At first, it was forbidden to write down the Oral Torah because the
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi – known as ''semikha'' – following a course of study of Jewish history and texts such as the Talmud. The basic form of ...
s feared that it would become rigid and lose its flexibility, but after the destruction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, , ), later known as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem between and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which had been built at the same location in the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kin ...
they decided to write it down in the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the center ...
and other rabbinic texts. Rabbinic Judaism contrasts with the
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים, Ṣədūqīm) were a socio-religious sect of Jewish people who were active in Judea during the Second Temple period, from the second century BCE through the destruction of the Second Temple , Temple in ...
, Karaite Judaism and Samaritanism, which do not recognize the Oral Torah as a divine authority nor the rabbinic procedures used to interpret Jewish scripture. Although there are now profound differences among Jewish denominations of Rabbinic Judaism with respect to the binding force of ''
halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', and ''halocho'' ( ), is the collective body of Judaism, Jewish religious laws which is derived from the Torah, written and Oral Tora ...
'' (Jewish
religious law Religious law includes ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Different religious systems hold sacred law in a greater or lesser degree of importance to their belief systems, with some being explicitly antinomian whereas othe ...
) and the willingness to challenge preceding interpretations, all identify themselves as coming from the tradition of the
Oral Law An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted. M ...
and the rabbinic method of analysis.


Background


Origins of Judaism


Second Temple Judaism


Hellenistic Judaism

In 332 BCE the Persians were defeated by
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
. After his demise, and the division of Alexander's empire among his generals, the Seleucid Kingdom was formed. During this time currents of Judaism were influenced by
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is a time-frame for Western philosophy and Ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic pe ...
developed from the 3rd century BCE, notably among the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish: ) is the dispersion of Israelites or Jews out of their ancient ancestral homeland (the Land of Israel) and their subsequent settlement in other parts of th ...
in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
, culminating in the compilation of the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Greek language, Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. It includes several ...
. An important advocate of the symbiosis of Jewish theology and Hellenistic thought is
Philo Philo of Alexandria (; grc, Φίλων, Phílōn; he, יְדִידְיָה, Yəḏīḏyāh (Jedediah); ), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Judaism, Hellenistic Jewish Jewish philosophy, philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the ...
. Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is an ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous L ...
and in the diaspora. These inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. There was a general deterioration in relations between Hellenized Jews and other Jews, leading the Seleucid king
Antiochus IV Epiphanes Antiochus IV Epiphanes (; grc, Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής, ''Antíochos ho Epiphanḗs'', "God Manifest"; c. 215 BC – November/December 164 BC) was a Greek Hellenistic kingdoms, Hellenistic List of Seleucid rulers, king who ruled ...
to ban certain Jewish religious rites and traditions. Consequently, the Jews who rejected Hellenism revolted against the Greek ruler leading to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom, known as the
Hasmonean dynasty The Hasmonean dynasty (; he, ''Ḥašmōnaʾīm'') was a ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity, from BCE to 37 BCE. Between and BCE the dynasty ruled Judea semi-autonomously in the Seleucid Empire, and ...
, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean dynasty eventually disintegrated in a civil war. The people, who did not want to continue to be governed by a Hellenized dynasty, appealed to Rome for intervention, leading to a total Roman conquest and annexation of the country, see Iudaea province. Nevertheless, the cultural issues remained unresolved. The main issue separating the Hellenistic and other Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic (
melting pot The melting pot is a Monoculturalism, monocultural metaphor for a wiktionary:heterogeneous, heterogeneous society becoming more wiktionary:homogeneous, homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" with a common culture; an alternativ ...
) culture. Hellenistic Judaism spread to Ptolemaic Egypt from the 3rd century BCE, and became a notable '' religio licita'' throughout the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
, until its decline in the 3rd century concurrent with the rise of
Gnosticism Gnosticism (from grc, γνωστικός, gnōstikós, , 'having knowledge') is a collection of religious ideas and systems which coalesced in the late 1st century AD among Judaism, Jewish and Early Christianity, early Christian sects. These ...
and
Early Christianity Early Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major reli ...
. The decline of Hellenistic Judaism is obscure. It may be that it was marginalized by, absorbed into or became Early Christianity (see the Gospel according to the Hebrews). The
Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles ( grc-koi, Πράξεις Ἀποστόλων, ''Práxeis Apostólōn''; la, Actūs Apostolōrum) is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian Church and the spread of The gospel, ...
at least report how
Paul the Apostle Paul; grc, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; hbo, פאולוס השליח (previously called Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; grc, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus; ...
preferredly evangelized communities of proselytes and Godfearers, or circles sympathetic to Judaism: the Apostolic Decree allowing converts to forgo
circumcision Circumcision is a procedure that removes the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common form of the operation, the foreskin is extended with forceps, then a circumcision device may be placed, after which the foreskin is excised. Top ...
made Christianity a more attractive option for interested pagans than
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
. See also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity. The attractiveness of Christianity may, however, have suffered a setback with its being explicitly outlawed in the 80s CE by
Domitian Domitian (; la, Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was a Roman emperor who reigned from 81 to 96. The son of Vespasian and the younger brother of Titus, his two predecessors on the throne, he was the last member of the Flavia ...
as a "Jewish superstition", while Judaism retained its privileges as long as members paid the Fiscus Judaicus. However, from a historical perspective, Persecution of Christians seemed only to increase the number of Christian converts, leading eventually to the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperor Constantine and the subsequent development of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
. On the other hand, mainstream Judaism began to reject Hellenistic currents, outlawing use of the Septuagint (see also the Council of Jamnia). Remaining currents of Hellenistic Judaism may have merged into
Gnostic Gnosticism (from grc, γνωστικός, gnōstikós, , 'having knowledge') is a collection of religious ideas and systems which coalesced in the late 1st century AD among Judaism, Jewish and Early Christianity, early Christian sects. These ...
movements in the early centuries CE.


Hillel and Shammai

In the later part of the Second Temple period (2nd century BCE), the Second Commonwealth of Judea ( Hasmonean Kingdom) was established and religious matters were determined by a pair ('' zugot'') which led the
Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin (Hebrew language, Hebrew and Aramaic: סַנְהֶדְרִין; Greek language, Greek: , ''synedrion'', 'sitting together,' hence 'Deliberative assembly, assembly' or 'council') was an assembly of either 23 or 71 elders (known as ...
. The Hasmonean Kingdom ended in 37 BCE but it's believed that the "two-man rule of the Sanhedrin" lasted until the early part of the 1st century CE during the period of the Roman province of Judea. The last pair, Hillel and Shammai, was the most influential of the Sanhedrin ''zugot''. Both were
Pharisees The Pharisees (; he, פְּרוּשִׁים, Pərūšīm) were a Jews, Jewish social movement and a school of thought in the Levant during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70), destruction of the Second Temp ...
, but the
Sadducees The Sadducees (; he, צְדוּקִים, Ṣədūqīm) were a socio-religious sect of Jewish people who were active in Judea during the Second Temple period, from the second century BCE through the destruction of the Second Temple , Temple in ...
were actually the dominant party while the Temple stood. Since the Sadducees did not survive the
First Jewish–Roman War The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt ( he, המרד הגדול '), or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( l ...
, their version of events has perished. In addition, Hillel's views have been seen as superior to Shammai's by Rabbinic Judaism. The development of an
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication wherein knowledge, art, ideas and Culture, cultural material is received, preserved, and transmitted orally from one generation to another.Jan Vansina, Vansina, Jan: ''Oral Traditio ...
of teaching called the '' tanna'' would be the means by which the faith of Judaism would sustain the fall of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, , ), later known as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem between and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which had been built at the same location in the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kin ...
.


Jewish messianism

Jewish messianism has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd to 1st centuries BCE, promising a future "anointed" leader or
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Age ...
to resurrect the Israelite "
Kingdom of God The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" b ...
", in place of the foreign rulers of the time. This corresponded with the Maccabean Revolt directed against the
Seleucids The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Ancient Greece, Greek state in West Asia that existed during the Hellenistic period from 312 BC to 63 BC. The Seleucid Empire was ...
. Following the fall of the Hasmonean kingdom, it was directed against the Roman administration of Iudaea Province, which, according to
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...
, began with the formation of the Zealots during the Census of Quirinius of 6 CE, although full scale open revolt did not occur till the
First Jewish–Roman War The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt ( he, המרד הגדול '), or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( l ...
in 66 CE. Historian H. H. Ben-Sasson has proposed that the "Crisis under Caligula" (37–41) was the "first open break" between Rome and the Jews even though tension already existed during the census in 6 CE and under Sejanus (before 31 CE).


Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism


Written and Oral Law

Rabbinic tradition holds that the details and interpretation of the
Torah The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
(Written Law), which are called the Oral Torah or Oral Law, were originally an unwritten tradition based upon the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. All the laws in the Written Torah are recorded only as part of a narrative describing
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
imparting these laws to Moses and commanding him to transmit them to the Jewish nation. However, as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, these oral laws were recorded by rabbi
Judah ha-Nasi Judah ha-Nasi ( he, יְהוּדָה הַנָּשִׂיא‎, ''Yəhūḏā hanNāsīʾ‎''; Yehudah HaNasi or Judah the Prince) or Judah I, was a second-century rabbi (a tannaim, tanna of the fifth generation) and chief redactor and editing, ed ...
("Judah the Prince") in the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
, redacted . The
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the center ...
was a compilation of both the Mishnah and the Gemara, rabbinic commentaries redacted over the next three centuries. The Gemara originated in two major centers of Jewish scholarship, Palestine and
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the
Jerusalem Talmud The Jerusalem Talmud ( he, תַּלְמוּד יְרוּשַׁלְמִי, translit=Talmud Yerushalmi, often for short), also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud of the Land of Israel, is a collection of rabbinic notes on the second-century ...
. It was compiled sometime during the 4th century in Palestine. Judaism at this time was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the
Pharisees The Pharisees (; he, פְּרוּשִׁים, Pərūšīm) were a Jews, Jewish social movement and a school of thought in the Levant during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70), destruction of the Second Temp ...
, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. This led to further unrest, and the 1st century BCE and 1st century CE saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa.


Destruction of the Temple

Before the
destruction of the Second Temple The siege of Jerusalem of 70 CE was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), in which the Roman Empire, Roman army led by future emperor Titus besieged Jerusalem, the center of Jewish rebel resistance in the Roman p ...
, Judaism was divided into antagonistic factions. The main camps were the
Pharisees The Pharisees (; he, פְּרוּשִׁים, Pərūšīm) were a Jews, Jewish social movement and a school of thought in the Levant during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70), destruction of the Second Temp ...
, Saducees, and Zealots, but also included other less influential sects. The 1st century BCE and 1st century CE saw a number of charismatic religious leaders, contributing to what would become the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
of Rabbinic Judaism, including Yochanan ben Zakai and Hanina Ben Dosa. Following the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE and the expulsion of the Jews from the Roman province of Judea, Jewish worship stopped being centrally organized around the Temple, prayer took the place of sacrifice, and worship was rebuilt around rabbis who acted as teachers and leaders of individual communities. The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions: * How to achieve atonement without the Temple? * How to explain the disastrous outcome of the rebellion? * How to live in the post-Temple, Romanized world? * How to connect present and past traditions? How people answered these questions depended largely on their position prior to the revolt. But the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans not only put an end to the revolt, it marked the end of an era. Revolutionaries like the Zealots had been crushed by the Romans, and had little credibility (the last Zealots died at Masada in 73). The Sadducees, whose teachings were so closely connected to the Temple cult, disappeared. The Essenes also vanished, perhaps because their teachings so diverged from the issues of the times that the destruction of the Second Temple was of no consequence to them; precisely for this reason, they were of little consequence to the vast majority of Jews. Two organized groups remained: the
Early Christians Early Christianity (up to the First Council of Nicaea in 325) Spread of Christianity, spread from the Levant, across the Roman Empire, and beyond. Originally, this progression was closely connected to History of the Jews in the Roman Empire, alre ...
, and
Pharisees The Pharisees (; he, פְּרוּשִׁים, Pərūšīm) were a Jews, Jewish social movement and a school of thought in the Levant during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70), destruction of the Second Temp ...
. Some scholars, such as Daniel Boyarin and Paula Fredricksen, suggest that it was at this time, when Christians and Pharisees were competing for leadership of the Jewish people, that accounts of debates between Jesus and the apostles, debates with Pharisees, and anti-Pharisaic passages, were written and incorporated into the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
. Of all the major Second Temple sects, only the Pharisees remained. Their vision of Jewish law as a means by which ordinary people could engage with the sacred in their daily lives, provided them with a position from which to respond to all four challenges, in a way meaningful to the vast majority of Jews. Following the destruction of the Temple, Rome governed Judea through a Procurator at Caesarea and a Jewish Patriarch. A former leading Pharisee, Yohanan ben Zakkai, was appointed the first Patriarch (the Hebrew word, Nasi, also means
prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in s ...
, or
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
), and he reestablished the Sanhedrin at Javneh under Pharisee control. Instead of giving tithes to the priests and sacrificing offerings at the Temple, the rabbis instructed Jews to give money to charities and study in local
synagogue A synagogue, ', 'house of assembly', or ', "house of prayer"; Yiddish: ''shul'', Ladino: or ' (from synagogue); or ', "community". sometimes referred to as shul, and interchangeably used with the word temple, is a Jewish house of wo ...
s, as well as to pay the '' Fiscus Iudaicus''. In 132, the Emperor
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Trâiānus Hadriānus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman ''municipium'' founded by Italic peoples, Italic settlers ...
threatened to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city dedicated to
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
, called Aelia Capitolina. Some of the leading sages of the Sanhedrin supported a
rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and ...
(and, for a short time, an independent state) led by Simon bar Kozeba (also called Simon bar Kokhba, or "son of a star"); some, such as
Rabbi Akiva Akiva ben Yosef (Mishnaic Hebrew: ''ʿĂqīvāʾ ben Yōsēf''; – 28 September 135 Common Era, CE), also known as Rabbi Akiva (), was a leading Jewish scholar and sage, a ''Tannaim, tanna'' of the latter part of the first century and the beginn ...
, believed Bar Kokhba to be a
messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Age ...
. Up until this time, a number of Christians were still part of the Jewish community. However, they did not support or take part in the revolt. Whether because they had no wish to fight, or because they could not support a second messiah in addition to Jesus, or because of their harsh treatment by Bar Kokhba during his brief reign, these Christians also left the Jewish community around this time. This revolt ended in 135 when Bar Kokhba and his army were defeated. The Romans then barred Jews from Jerusalem, until Constantine allowed Jews to enter for one day each year, during the holiday of
Tisha B'Av Tisha B'Av ( he, תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב ''Tīšʿā Bəʾāv''; , ) is an annual Ta'anit, fast day in Judaism, on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred, primarily the destruction of both Solomon's Temple by the Neo-Baby ...
. After the suppression of the revolt the vast majority of Jews were sent into exile; shortly thereafter (around 200), Judah haNasi edited together judgments and traditions into an authoritative code, the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
. This marks the transformation of Pharisaic Judaism into Rabbinic Judaism. Although the rabbis traced their origins to the Pharisees, Rabbinic Judaism nevertheless involved a radical repudiation of certain elements of Pharisaism, elements that were basic to
Second Temple Judaism Second Temple Judaism refers to the Jewish religion as it developed during the Second Temple period, which began with the construction of the Second Temple around 516 BCE and ended with the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The Second Temple ...
. The Pharisees had been partisan. Members of different sects argued with one another over the correctness of their respective interpretations. After the destruction of the Second Temple, these sectarian divisions ended. The term ''Pharisee'' was no longer used, perhaps because it was a term more often used by non-Pharisees, but also because the term was explicitly sectarian. The rabbis claimed leadership over all Jews, and added to the Amidah the '' birkat haMinim'', a prayer which in part exclaims, "Praised are You O Lord, who breaks enemies and defeats the arrogant," and which is understood as a rejection of sectarians and sectarianism. This shift by no means resolved conflicts over the interpretation of the Torah; rather, it relocated debates between sects to debates within Rabbinic Judaism. The survival of Pharisaic or Rabbinic Judaism is attributed to Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, the founder of the Yeshiva (religious school) in Yavne. Yavneh replaced Jerusalem as the new seat of a reconstituted Sanhedrin, which reestablished its authority and became a means of reuniting Jewry. The destruction of the Second Temple brought about a dramatic change in Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism built upon Jewish tradition while adjusting to new realities. Temple ritual was replaced with prayer service in synagogues which built upon practices of Jews in the diaspora dating back to the Babylonian exile. As the rabbis were required to face two shattering new realities, Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomy, there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.See, Strack, Hermann, ''Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash'', Jewish Publication Society, 1945. pp. 11–12. " he Oral Lawwas handed down by word of mouth during a long period...The first attempts to write down the traditional matter, there is reason to believe, date from the first half of the second post-Christian century." Strack theorizes that the growth of a Christian canon (the New Testament) was a factor that influenced the rabbis to record the oral law in writing. The theory that the destruction of the Temple and subsequent upheaval led to the committing of Oral Law into writing was first explained in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon and often repeated. The Oral Law was subsequently codified in the Mishnah and Gemarah, and is interpreted in
rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Judaism, Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabb ...
detailing subsequent rabbinic decisions and writings. Rabbinic Jewish literature is predicated on the belief that the Written Law cannot be properly understood without recourse to the Oral Law (the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
). Much rabbinic Jewish literature concerns specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the law; this body of interpretations is called ''
halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', and ''halocho'' ( ), is the collective body of Judaism, Jewish religious laws which is derived from the Torah, written and Oral Tora ...
'' (''the way''). The
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the center ...
contains discussions and opinions regarding details of many oral laws believed to have originally been transmitted to Moses. Some see Exodus 18 and Numbers 11 as a display of Moses' appointing elders as judges to govern with him and judge disputes, imparting to them details and guidance of how to interpret the laws of God while carrying out their duties. The Oral Torah includes rules intended to prevent violations of the laws of the Torah and Talmud, sometimes referred to as "a fence around the Torah". For example, the written Torah prohibits certain types of travelling on the Sabbath; consequently, the Oral Torah prohibits walking great distances on the Sabbath to ensure that one does not accidentally engage in a type of travelling prohibited by the written Torah. Similarly, the written Torah prohibits plowing on the Sabbath; the Oral Torah prohibits carrying a stick on the Sabbath to ensure that one does not drag the stick and accidentally engage in prohibited plowing.


Rabbinic literature

As the
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi – known as ''semikha'' – following a course of study of Jewish history and texts such as the Talmud. The basic form of ...
s were required to face a new reality, that of Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the location for
sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity as an act of propitiation or worship. Evidence of ritual animal sacrifice has been seen at least since ancient Hebrews and Greeks, and possibly exis ...
and study) and Judea without autonomy, there was a flurry of legal discourse, and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing. The theory that the destruction of the Temple and subsequent upheaval led to the committing of Oral Torah into writing was first explained in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon and often repeated. The Oral Torah was subsequently codified in the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
and Gemara, and is interpreted in
rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Judaism, Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabb ...
detailing subsequent rabbinic decisions and writings. Rabbinic Jewish literature is predicated on the belief that the Torah cannot be properly understood without recourse to the Oral Torah. It states that many commandments and stipulations contained in the Written Torah would be difficult, if not impossible, to keep without the Oral Torah to define them. For example, the prohibition to do any "creative work" (''melakha'') on the Sabbath, which is given no definition in the Torah, is given a practical meaning in the Oral Torah, which provides definition of what constitutes ''melakha''. Numerous examples exist of this general prohibitive language in the Torah (such as, "don't steal", without defining what is considered theft, or ownership and property laws), requiring—according to rabbinic thought—a subsequent definition through the Oral Torah. Thus Rabbinic Judaism claims that almost all directives, both positive and negative, in the Torah are non-specific in nature and require the existence of either an Oral Torah or some other method to explain them. Much rabbinic Jewish literature concerns specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the law; this body of interpretations is called ''
halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', and ''halocho'' ( ), is the collective body of Judaism, Jewish religious laws which is derived from the Torah, written and Oral Tora ...
'' (''the way'').


Talmud

Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law (the written law expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
'' The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the
midrash ''Midrash'' (;"midrash"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
he, מִדְרָשׁ; ...
ic form, in which halakhic discussion is structured as exegetical commentary on the Pentateuch (Torah). But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant about the year 200 CE, when Rabbi Judah haNasi redacted the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
(). The Oral Law was far from monolithic; rather, it varied among various schools. The most famous two were the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. In general, all valid opinions, even the non-normative ones, were recorded in the Talmud. The Talmud has two components: the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral traditions which is known as the Oral Tor ...
(c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh. The rabbis of the Mishnah are known as ''
Tannaim ''Tannaim'' (Mishnaic Hebrew, Amoraic Hebrew: תנאים , singular , ''Tanna'' "repeaters", "teachers") were the rabbinic Sage (philosophy), sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 10–220 CE. The period of the ''Tan ...
'' (sing. ''Tanna'' תנא). The rabbis of the Gemara are referred to as ''
Amoraim ''Amoraim'' (Aramaic language, Aramaic: plural or , singular ''Amora'' or ''Amoray''; "those who say" or "those who speak over the people", or "spokesmen") refers to Jewish scholars of the period from about 200 to 500 Common Era, CE, who "sai ...
'' (sing. ''Amora'' אמורא).


Mishnah

The Mishnah does not claim to be the development of new laws, but merely the collection of existing oral laws, traditions and traditional wisdom. The rabbis who contributed to the Mishnah are known as the ''Tannaim'', of whom approximately 120 are known. The period during which the Mishnah was assembled spanned about 130 years, and five generations. Most of the Mishnah is related without attribution ('). This usually indicates that many sages taught so, or that Judah haNasi who redacted the Mishnah together with his academy/court ruled so. The ''halakhic'' ruling usually follows that view. Sometimes, however, it appears to be the opinion of a single sage, and the view of the sages collectively ( he, חכמים, ''hachamim'') is given separately. The Talmud records a tradition that unattributed statements of the law represent the views of Rabbi Meir (Sanhedrin 86a), which supports the theory (recorded by Rav Sherira Gaon in his famous '' Iggeret'') that he was the author of an earlier collection. For this reason, the few passages that actually say "this is the view of Rabbi Meir" represent cases where the author intended to present Rabbi Meir's view as a "minority opinion" not representing the accepted law. Judah haNasi is credited with publishing the Mishnah, although there have been a few edits since his time (for example, those passages that cite him or his grandson, Rabbi Yehuda Nesi'ah; in addition, the Mishnah at the end of Tractate Sotah refers to the period after Judah haNasi's death, which could not have been written by Judah haNasi himself). According to the ''Iggeret'' of Sherira Gaon, after the tremendous upheaval caused by the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Oral Torah was in danger of being forgotten. It was for this reason that Judah haNasi chose to redact the Mishnah. In addition to redacting the Mishnah, Judah haNasi and his court also ruled on which opinions should be followed, although the rulings do not always appear in the text. As he went through the tractates, the Mishnah was set forth, but throughout his life some parts were updated as new information came to light. Because of the proliferation of earlier versions, it was deemed too hard to retract anything already released, and therefore a second version of certain laws were released. The Talmud refers to these differing versions as ''Mishnah Rishonah'' ("First Mishnah") and ''Mishnah Acharonah'' ("Last Mishnah"). David Zvi Hoffmann suggests that ''Mishnah Rishonah'' actually refers to texts from earlier sages upon which Judah haNasi based his Mishnah. One theory is that the present Mishnah was based on an earlier collection by Rabbi Meir. There are also references to the "Mishnah of Rabbi Akiva", although this may simply mean his teachings in general. It is possible that Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Meir established the divisions and order of subjects in the Mishnah, but this would make them the authors of a school curriculum rather than of a book. Authorities are divided on whether Judah haNasi recorded the Mishnah in writing or established it as an oral text for memorisation. The most important early account of its composition, the ''Iggeret of Rabbi Sherira Gaon'' of Sherira Gaon, is ambiguous on the point, although the "Spanish" recension leans to the theory that the Mishnah was written.


Gemara

The Gemara is the part of the Talmud that contains rabbinical commentaries and analysis of the Mishnah. In the three centuries following the redaction of the Mishnah by Judah ha-Nasi (c. 200 CE), rabbis throughout Palestine and
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
analyzed, debated and discussed that work. These discussions form the Gemara (). ''Gemara'' means "completion" (from the
Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
' : "to complete") or "learning" (from the
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...
: "to study"). The Gemara mainly focuses on elucidating and elaborating the opinions of the Tannaim. The rabbis of the Gemara are known as (sing. ' ). Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements used in different approaches to biblical
exegesis Exegesis ( ; from the Ancient Greek, Greek , from , "to lead out") is a critical explanation or interpretation (logic), interpretation of a text. The term is traditionally applied to the interpretation of Bible, Biblical works. In modern usage, ...
in rabbinic
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
(or—simpler— interpretation of text in Torah study) exchanges between two (frequently anonymous and sometimes metaphorical) disputants, termed the ' (questioner) and ' (answerer). Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as ''talmud'' long before the existence of the Talmud as a text.


Jewish history


Orthodox Jewish view

Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist and theologically conservative branches of contemporary Judaism. Jewish theology, Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Torah, Written and Oral Torah, Or ...
does not accept the scholarly view that Rabbinic Judaism came into being in the post-Second Temple era. Rather, it sees the Judaism of this period as continuing organically from the religious and cultural heritage of the Israelites, stemming from the Law given to Moses at Sinai onwards. According to this view, while the title ''rabbi'' was not used earlier,
Moses Moses hbo, מֹשֶׁה, Mōše; also known as Moshe or Moshe Rabbeinu (Mishnaic Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, ); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, Mūše; ar, موسى, Mūsā; grc, Mωϋσῆς, Mōÿsēs () is considered the most important Prop ...
was the first rabbi (and is commonly referred to by Orthodox Jews as "Moses our Rabbi"), with the knowledge and laws received at Sinai being passed down from teachers to students through the era of the Judges, and the prophets (most of whom are seen as the "rabbis" of their time), through the sages of the late Second Temple period, and continuing until today.Unbroken Chain of Transmission
/ref>


See also

* Beth din


References


External links


Britannica.com: Rabbinic Judaism
{{Jews and Judaism, state=collapsed Oral Torah