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One of the first attempts to capture the oral tradition of Jewish law in writing. As the basis for the Talmud the structure of this writing is one of it's most fascinating elements. Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph developed the exegetical method of the Mishnah which is comparable to a threaded discussion group - or maybe even Everything2. Each traditional practice is linked to it's basis in the biblical text and also to the "discussion" that follows. What results is an incredibly intertwined and evolving account of how the Jewish tradition has changed over time.

The Mishnah was the result of an interesting time in history which lead a group of rabbis to begin the Gleanings.

The Mishnah is the portion of the Talmud that contains the written version of the Oral Law given to Moses along with the Torah, which comprises the written law of Judaism. Traditionally, it was held that the oral law should not be written down and must be transmitted by word of mouth. However, following the destruction of the Second Temple, an effort was made to standardize the different versions of the oral law that had evolved, and eventually, this standardization was recorded in written form.

The Mishnah is written in Hebrew and deals almost entirely with the legal aspects of Jewish tradition, the halacha. It was standardized by Rabbi Judah ben Simeon, also known as Judah ha Nasi, the Hebrew word for Prince. It is believed to have been written around the year 217 CE.

The Mishnah is comprised of six sections, each one called a seder, or order. These are:

The second part of the Talmud is the Gemara, which is a commentary on the Mishnah.

Mish"na (?), n. [NHeb. mishnah, i. e., repetition, doubling, explanation (of the divine law), fr. Heb. shanah to change, to repeat.]

A collection or digest of Jewish traditions and explanations of Scripture, forming the text of the Talmud.

[Written also Mischna.]


© Webster 1913.

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