The Mishna was oral tradition and not committed to writing until the 2nd century. It comes from the Hebrew mishneth, repetition. It was a codification of Jewish law, originating independently in Babylonia and Palestine and began seeping into Jewish life about 200 BC. The Sadducees fought it and the Pharisees defended it. The Sadducees would argue like our present day fundamentalists that God's word is so plainly revealed in Scripture that no man could interpret away the plain meaning of the text. The Pharisees argued the opposite, explanation was needed and the Torah was not given to the priest exclusively.

It was forbidden to write down any Mishna, it had to be memorized, and therefore became known as the Oral Law. There were two schools of Mishna, Shammai and Hillel.
[309, 318, 327, BD]

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