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The Myth of the Cultural JewCulture and Law in Jewish Tradition$
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Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373707.001.0001

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Origins and Development of Jewish Law

Origins and Development of Jewish Law

A Top-Down View

2 Origins and Development of Jewish Law
The Myth of the Cultural Jew

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 focuses on the development of Jewish law from the standpoint of both Divine Revelation and the actions of the post-Biblical sages during the Talmudic era. It explores Revelation in the Torah, the Written Law, and the development of halakhah in the biblical and post-biblical periods. The discussion focuses on rabbinic authority in the period following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 ce and illustrates how during this period the Pharisee sect reformulated Judaism through the Oral Law by developing innovative measures with a basis in the tradition. Through this process, the Pharisees made Revelation a continuing reality in the lives of the Jews of the post-destruction era. The concluding section explores the influence of Hellenistic culture on the development of early Jewish law, illustrating that minority traditions not only borrow from, but also reinterpret, elements from the surrounding majority cultures.

Keywords:   Revelation, rabbinic Judaism, rabbinic authority, Torah, Talmud, Hellenism, post-Biblical era, Written Law, Oral Law, Pharisee sect, destruction of Second Temple

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