Jewish Studies

Yitz Landes

Piyyut, Mishnah and Rabbinization in the Sixth to Eighth Centuries

Section: Articles
Jewish Studies Quarterly (JSQ)

Volume 30 () / Issue 1, pp. 28-47 (20)
Published 18.01.2023

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This article examines the depictions of the Mishnah in the works of the classical payetanim and in one contemporary midrashic story. The payetanim emphasized the importance of the Mishnah as a representation of Jewish identity and as a composition that should be studied or recited in liturgical and other settings. Further, while the rabbis of the Talmuds take for granted that Rabbi Judah the Patriarch was responsible for creating the Mishnah, some piyyutim paint the Mishnah as a divinely revealed, Sinaitic text. The importance placed on the Mishnah likely stems from its ritual functions in Palestine and from the place of the Mishnah in the Christian-Jewish polemic of the time. The Mishnah's role in Jewish self-definition sheds further light on the ways in which religious elites formulated and communicated the importance of rabbinic modes of Judaism in post-Talmudic Palestine.

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