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The Early Rabbinic Refashioning Of Biblical Heilsgeschichte, The Fashioning Of The Rabbinic Canon Of Scriptures, And The Formation Of The Early Rabbinic Movement

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Chapter Summary

From the perspective of the social-anthropology of knowledge, this chapter tries to demonstrate that there is a socially constructed set of homologies among: (a) how rabbis re-conceived biblical history, (b) how they defined the canon, (c) how they perceived of the authority of their newly formed professional guild, and (d) what their formative documents, particularly the Mishnah, did. It examines issues pertaining to canon?specifically, the biblical canon within the context of the social formation of the earliest rabbinic guild?within a conceptual frame that relates canon to systems of plausibility in religiously informed cultural settings. Mishnah is the first document authored by the nascent rabbinic movement that was promulgated as authoritative (along with scripture, of course). For several centuries after Mishnah?s initial promulgation, it was known to be the most authoritative text within the rabbinic movement.

Keywords: biblical canon; Mishnah; rabbinic movement; social-anthropology



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