Ernest R. Trattner writes: "The destruction of the Jewish National State and the burning of the Temple necessitated tremendous changes of a structural nature. Many old regulations had to be abolished. The High Court at Jamnia also took upon itself the power to suspend certain Biblical laws which were either obsolete or incapable of being fulfilled due to changed conditions. Of the many prohibitions abrogated by the rabbis none benefitted Judaism more than setting aside the age-old tradition against putting the Oral Law into written form. Despite the fact that for centuries it was regarded as a serious transgression of Judaism to commit any part of the Oral Law into writing, the demands of the new age were entirely too compelling to be denied. The time had now come when the memory of the sages (even as it was trained in those days) could no longer hold the vast accumulation by oral transmission. Since the destruction of the Temple, the growth of the Oral Law, and the extension of its principles, mushroomed into a huge bulk. Individual teachers, jurists, and disciples resorted to jotting down various aspects of the Oral Law as aids to memory. From such beginnings as these arose the vast literature of the Talmud." (Understanding the Talmud, p. 8)
Moses Mielziner writes: "Finally R. Jehuda Hanasi, flourishing towards the end of the second century, undertook the great task of establishing a general code of the oral law. By virtue of his eminent learning, his dignity as Patriarch and as head ofa celebrated academy, he succeeded in accomplishing this task. Taking the unfinished work of R. Akiba and R. Meir as basis, and retaining, in general, its division and arrangement, he examined and sifted the whole material of the oral law, and completed it by adding the decisions which his academy gave concerning many doubtful cases. Unanimously adopted opinions he recorded without the names of their authors or transmitters, but where a divergence of opinions appeared, the individual opinion is given in the name of its author, together with the decision of the prevailing majority, or side by side with that of its opponent, and sometimes even with the addition of short arguments pro and con." (Introduction to the Talmud, p. 5)
Hermann L. Strack writes: "Mishna signifies specifically: (1) the entire content of the traditional law as far as it had been developed by the end of the second post-Christian century; (2) the sum of the teachings of any one of the teachers active up to that date (Tannaim); (3) a single statement of law, in which sense the term halakah was also employed; (4) any collection of such statements, as when reference is made to the 'Mishnayoth Gedoloth, the great Mishna collections, e.g. the Mishna of Hiyya, of Hoshaiah, of Bar Kappara; (5) par excellence by Mishna is meant the collection made by the Judah ha-Nasi ('Rabbi') which, however, in the form in which it has come down to us, contains many additions and modifications." (Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, p. 3)
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