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Although the Hebrew language ceased to be the vernacular of the majority of the Jewish people during the last years of the second temple, it has, throughout the various period, with but few exceptions, persisted as the medium for the noblest literary productions of the nation. Irrespective of the language spoken by the people in the countries of their adoption, the best thoughts of the Jewish writers found expression in the holy tongue.
The continuity of the Hebrew language as a literary medium is, accordingly, unbroken, and to illustrate this fact by examples is one of the aims of this Anthology.
Apart from the literary criterion, there is another aspect which differentiates post-biblical Hebrew literature from the Bible: the former is the product of men, who, with the exception of Ben Sira and possibly the teachers of the Mishnah, did not speak Hebrew as their mother-tongue.
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