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Rabbinic literature
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Rabbinic literature

Rabbinic literature, in the broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writing throughout history. However, the term often used as an exact cognate of the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (ספרות חז"ל; "The Literature of our Sages, of blessed memory"), where the latter usually refers specifically to literature from the talmudic era. The latter, more specific, sense is how the term is normally used in medieval and modern rabbinic writing (where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the talmudic era), and in contemporary academic writing (where "rabbinic literature" refers to talmud, midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts).

This article discusses rabbinic literature in both senses. It begins with the classic rabbinic literature of the talmudic era (Sifrut Hazal), and then adds a broad survey of rabbinic writing from later periods.

Table of contents
1 The oral law
2 The Midrash
3 Later works by category
4 Later works by historical period
5 See also
6 Bibliography
7 External links

The oral law

The Mishnah and the Tosefta (compiled from materials pre-dating 200 CE) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, explaining Judaism's oral law. Next came the two Talmuds:

The Midrash

Midrash (pl. Midrashim) is a Hebrew word referring to a method of reading details into, or out of, a Biblical text. The term "midrash" also can refer to a compilation of Midrashic teachings, in the form of legal, exegetical or homiletical commentaries on the Bible.

Later works by category

Jewish law

Halakha is the Jewish way of life. Notable works in this category include:

Jewish thought and ethics


Later works by historical period

Works of the Geonim

The Geonim are the rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in
Babylon (650 CE - 1250 CE) :

Works of the Rishonim

The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1250 CE - 1550 CE)

Works of the Acharonim

The Acharonim are the rabbis from 1550 CE to the present day.

See also


External links