Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

The Jews and the Torah

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What was the Torah to a Jew in Bible Times?

Jerusalem Temple CoinThere was no nation in all of antiquity who had been so immersed in their national writings as the Jews were in their law. Not even the Greeks in the zenith of the Periclean Age could come close. Some may have possessed a larger amount of text with vast literature, but the Jews were in love with their book and they were a people of that book. For the Jew, it was not merely a representation of a prized culture, but it was Torah… and Torah was, to him, the voice of almighty God. Its instruction was to be obeyed without question, and followed to the very letter. The moral law impacted every thought, the civil law influenced every judicial system within Judaism, and the ceremonial law affected every lifestyle from the home to the Temple.


Also see The Text of the Old Testament

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Jewish Literature

Esther Scroll

John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."

Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D. the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D. were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around 200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by "expositors".

Introduction
Brief Historical Background

The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocrypha
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Mishnah
The Gemara
The Halakah
The Haggadah
The Midrash
The Zugoth
The Tannaim
The Amoraim
The Tosefta
The Baraitha
The Talmud
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud

The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart
Glossary
Timeline

Historical Timeline

The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
The Greek Period 331-167 B.C.
The Period of Independence 167-63 B.C.
The Roman Period 63 B.C. to the time of Christ
The Old Testament Canon
The Apocrypha
Other Writings
The Septuagint
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Targums
The Talmud
The Great Synagogue
The Sanhedrin
Synagogues
The Dispersion
Pharisees
Sadducees
Scribes
Preparation for Christ

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