Jewish Literature in New Testament Times
What was the Zuggoth in Judaism?
new method that rivaled the Midrash method beginning in the middle of the 3rd
century B.C. Five great "pairs" of teachers promoted this method during the
period between the 3rd and 1st centuries B.C. The most famous were Shammai and
Hillel at the end of the 1st century B.C. The Zugoth method involved the
teaching of the oral law without reference to the order of the Hebrew
Scriptures. Divorced from the established sequence of the Hebrew Scriptures, the
oral law could be taught by means of repetition. Thus the name "Mishnah" (from
the Hebrew snh,
"to repeat") was attached to this oral teaching of the
After the relative calmness of the period of Persian rule, the Greek occupied
Eretz Yisrael. For over a century the land was the battlefield for warring
armies of the Ptolemies and Seleucids. As a result, the Jewish homeland was
politically, economically, and spiritually torn apart. During these times,
Jewish leadership was in the hands of the Zugot.
The term 'Zugot' refers to the two heads of the Sanhedrin (Great Assembly). The
Sanhedrin was the successor to the Great Assembly, and it functioned as the
legislative body of the Jewish people. At the head of the Sanhedrin was the Nasi
(President) and second to him was the Av Bet Din (Father of the Assembly). For a
period of about two hundred years, these Zugot were the spiritual guides of
Jewish life and the transmitters of the Oral Law. These Zugot were:
Yose ben Yoezer of Sereda, Yose ben Yohanan
Yehoshua ben Perahyah, Mattai (or Nittai) or Arbel
Yehudah ben Tabbai, Simeon ben Shetah
Hillel the Elder, Shammai
John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."
Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism
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
Brief Historical Background
The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud
The Purpose and Heart of the Law
- A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart
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 Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Great Synagogue
Preparation for Christ