Judaism as Philosophy: Method and Message of the Mishnah (Jewish Studies Series)

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9780872497368: Judaism as Philosophy: Method and Message of the Mishnah (Jewish Studies Series)
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Book by Neusner Jacob

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By studying a large sample of evidence, translated and explained, Neusner identifies the philosophical side to the Mishnah's system, method, and message alike. According to the author, the Mishnah, the first canonical writing of Judaism after the Hebrew Scriptures of ancient Israel (the Old Testament), is to be read as philosophy in accord with the generally accepted understanding of philosophy in its time and place. The philosophical tradition in which the Mishnah takes its place utilizes the method of Aristotle to demonstrate the proposition important to Middle Platonism. While given in the form of a law code, the Mishnah, 200 CE, the foundation of the two Talmuds and of all Judaism thereafter, sets forth a Judaic system of the social order that employes a method that in its context was distinctively philosophical to reach a conclusion that in its time was particularly philosophical. Demonstrated through the systematic and orderly hierarchical classification of the things of nature, the framers of the Mishnah illustrate the ultimate unity of all being emanating from the One on high. This book completely changes a centuries-old way of reading the Mishnah, and hence the origins of Judaism, and insists that the document's writers chose a legal form for a philosophical proposition. Their Judaism emerges as a sustained demonstration of the unity of all being under one God.

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