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1. Judaism

ALAN UNTERMAN


Subject Religion » Judaism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631182757.1996.00003.x


Extract

The primary source of Jewish religion is the Hebrew Bible, consisting of twenty-four books divided up into three sections: Torah (the Pentateuch), Neviim (the Prophets) and Ketuvim (the Writings or Hagiographa). Next in importance to the Bible is the Babylonian Talmud , a collection of rabbinical traditions edited in the fifth/sixth centuries ce , containing the main teachings of the oral Torah. Other early rabbinical writings, such as the Palestinian Talmud (fourth/fifth centuries) and midrashic commentaries on the Bible, are less authoritative than the Babylonian Talmud , which itself is an extended commentary to the Mishnah (a work redacted at the end of the second century). The most influential medieval works are the commentary of Rashi (1040–1105) on both the Bible and the Babylonian Talmud; the great law code, known as Mishneh Torah , of Maimonides (1135–1204), and the same author's philosophical magnum opus, The Guide for the Perplexed , which reinterprets Jewish theology in Aristotelian terms; and the collection of mystical traditions, known as the Zohar , which was written or edited by Moses de Leon (1240–1305). (See figure 1.1 .) In the late middle ages the standard code of Jewish law and ritual ( halakhah ), the Shulchan Arukh or ‘Prepared Table’, was written by Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488–1575), who included the customs of Spanish and oriental Jewry, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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