CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

The Revival of Mishnah Study in the Early Modern Period

David Faleck, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Humanities

Dept/Program: Jewish Studies

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): David Ruderman

Date of this Version: 21 May 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.



Upon its completion in the sixth century C.E., the Gemara, the rabbinic commentary to the Mishnah, the authoritative corpus of Jewish law, became the primary focus of Jewish study and intellectual effort while the Mishnah itself was largely neglected. Gemara-centric scholarship prevailed through the Gaonic and medieval eras; indeed, it was not until the mid-sixteenth century that the Mishnah regained a place of prominence amid the vast array of Jewish literature. In this paper, we explore first the role and status that the Mishnah occupied among rabbinic scholars before the sixteenth century. We then present evidence of, and reasons for, the Mishnah’s tremendous revival in two geographically and culturally distinct Jewish communities in the mid-sixteenth century. Finally, we look at the aftermath of this revival, explore the convergence between the two traditions, and discuss the enduring effects of the revival on the study of Mishnah in the centuries that followed.

Suggested Citation

Faleck, David, "The Revival of Mishnah Study in the Early Modern Period" 21 May 2008. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 22 May 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.




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