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The perfect Torah

The perfect Torah by J. Neusner
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"The Perfect Torah" is the medium through which the one, unique God makes himself known. The Judaic statement of monotheism comes to expression in Scripture as perfected by the Oral Torah in its native category-formations, Halakhah, norms of behaviour, and Aggadah, norms of belief. The Halakhah of the oral Torah conveys monotheism in a philosophical mode, and the Aggadah monotheism in a mythic mode. What is perfect about the dual Torah, written and oral, is the perfect match between the message and the medium, Halakhah for the philosophical monotheism, Aggadah for the mythic statement of the same monotheism. Chapters 1 and 2 explain the former, chapters 3 and 4 the latter.

The question answered here concerns how one canonical corpus perfects its companion and produces in consequence perfection: the realization of the initial intent and program of the Written by the Oral Torah. That is addressed by the construction of large exemplary structures of comparison and contrast in the shank of the book. Four principles are established: the perfection through the systematization of the law of the Written Torah by the Oral Torah in chapter 1; the perfection of the medium of the Halakhah for the message of philosophical monotheism, in chapter 2; the perfection of Scripture's anomalous writings through the dismantling of one document and the systematic recasting of another, in chapter 3; and the perfection of the medium of Aggadah in its form of narrative for the message of theology concerning God's personality and activity, in chapter 4.

BRILL; January 2003
233 pages; ISBN 9789047402220
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Title: The perfect Torah
Author: J. Neusner