Article

Rabbinic Judaism

Rivka Ulmer

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0103
Rabbinic Judaism

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The origins of rabbinic Judaism are found in the many Judaisms that coexisted during the Second Temple period in the land of Israel, when biblical and co-biblical texts were edited and interpreted. Classical rabbinic Judaism flourished from the 1st century ce to the closure of the Babylonian Talmud, c. 600 ce, in Babylonia. Among the different Judaisms in antiquity, rabbinic Judaism held that at Mount Sinai God revealed the Torah to Moses in two media, the Written and the Oral Torah. The rabbis claimed they possessed the memorized or Oral Torah. Classical rabbinic Judaism is separated into different strata: tannaitic (until 200 ce), amoraic (200–500 ce), and saboraic (500 ce–7th century). The first stage of formative rabbinic Judaism is represented by the Mishnah, a law code that came to closure c. 200 ce, after the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 ce by the Romans and the suppression of the Bar Kokhba uprising of 132–135 ce. Rabbinic Judaism interpreted the Torah, often in opposition to the priestly tradition, which was committed to the written tradition and the sacrificial cult of the Temple. However, at the end of the formative period, rabbinic Judaism synthesized the interpretive, messianic, and priestly traditions. Rabbinic Judaism produced many different texts, ranging from the Mishnah and Tosefta to Midrashic texts and the two Talmuds. Rabbinic Judaism continued to flourish in the Middle Ages in the diaspora. Today it represents “normative” Judaism, the Jewish religious expression of a substantial portion of the worldwide Jewish community.

Article.  7439 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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