Oral tradition

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time -- a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles... John, the disciple of the Lord…exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me?" "I do know thee, the first-born of Satan" (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

These findings may have significant implications for our understanding of ancient human migration patterns. As Jason Daley reports for Smithsonian .com ,  the traditional story of human arrival to the Americas posits that some 13,000 years ago, stone-age people moved across a land bridge that connected modern-day Siberia to Alaska. But recent studies suggest that route did not contain enough resources for the earliest migrants to successfully make the crossing. Instead, some researchers say, humans entered North America along the coast.

Although the Mishnah constitutes the body of Jewish law, other Sages of the period also committed to writing the soul of the law. Worthy of special mention is Rabbi Akiva (50-135 .) who was a master of both the revealed and concealed aspects of the Torah. Rabbi Akiva was the primary custodian of the Workings of Creation tradition, the prevalent view is that Sefer Yetzirah was redacted from Abraham through him. Rabbi Nechunia ben Hakanah and his disciple, the High Priest Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha , wrote the Sefer HaBahir (Book of Illumination) and the Pirkei Heichalot Rabati (The Greater Book of the Divine Chambers), which was one of the main texts for the study of Workings of the Chariot, containing meditative exercises, mystical disciplines, and directions for entering the prophetic state.

However, Jacob Neusner argues that the Mishnah does far more than expound upon and organize the Biblical commandments. Rather, important topics covered by the Mishnah "rest on no scriptural foundations whatsoever," such as portions of the civil law tractates of Bava Kamma , Bava Metzia and Bava Batra . [8] In other words, "To perfect the [Written] Torah, the Oral tradition had to provide for a variety of transactions left without any law at all in Scripture." [8] Just as portions of the Torah reflect (according to the documentary hypothesis ) the agenda of the Levite priesthood in centralizing worship in the Temple in Jerusalem and legitimizing their exclusive authority over the sacrificial cult, so too can the Mishnah be seen as reflecting the unique "program" of the Tannaim and their successors to develop an egalitarian form of Judaism with an emphasis on social justice and an applicability throughout the Jewish diaspora. [8] [9] As a result, the Talmud often finds the rabbis combing scripture for textual support to justify existing religious practice, rather than deriving the practice organically from the language of scripture. [8]

Oral tradition

oral tradition

However, Jacob Neusner argues that the Mishnah does far more than expound upon and organize the Biblical commandments. Rather, important topics covered by the Mishnah "rest on no scriptural foundations whatsoever," such as portions of the civil law tractates of Bava Kamma , Bava Metzia and Bava Batra . [8] In other words, "To perfect the [Written] Torah, the Oral tradition had to provide for a variety of transactions left without any law at all in Scripture." [8] Just as portions of the Torah reflect (according to the documentary hypothesis ) the agenda of the Levite priesthood in centralizing worship in the Temple in Jerusalem and legitimizing their exclusive authority over the sacrificial cult, so too can the Mishnah be seen as reflecting the unique "program" of the Tannaim and their successors to develop an egalitarian form of Judaism with an emphasis on social justice and an applicability throughout the Jewish diaspora. [8] [9] As a result, the Talmud often finds the rabbis combing scripture for textual support to justify existing religious practice, rather than deriving the practice organically from the language of scripture. [8]

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