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Understanding the religious perspectives of the Mishnah starts with asking three questions. First, what is the relationship of the Mishnah to Scripture, or "oral torah" to "written torah," for understanding the religion of Judaism? Second, what is the relationship between religious ideas and the world in which those ideas emerged? Third, what is the formal religious significance of the language of the Mishnah? These questions are posed with regard to a Judaism that existed from just prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. until around 200 C.E. and assumes as well the groundwork of Neusner's earlier volume "The Mishnah: Social Perspectives. In the present volume, Neusner condenses years of research on these questions and offers a clear and thorough analysis through a single lens. He looks closely at how the Halakhah of the Mishnah relates to the events prior to the Mishnah's writing (e.g., the destruction of the Temple, ca. 70 C.E., and the Bar Kokhba War, ca. 135 C.E.), through the reconstruction following Bar Kokhba until the close of the Mishnah (ca. 200 C.E.). Readers also profit from a thorough sociolinguistic explication of the rhetorical forms of the Mishnah in the light of the social context of that time. The religious perspectives of the Mishnah do not simply record the rules and regulations of bygone times; rather, they mirror the way of life and the social and religious history of Judaism.
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