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The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, Vol. 4

Excerpt from The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, Vol. 4: Medieval Hebrew; The Midrash; The Kabbalah The Hebrew writings after the fifth century of our pres ent era include no such transcendently important re ligious works as the Bible and the Talmud. Yet the Hebraic race had lost neither their wonderful genius for religious thought, nor their strong instinct for formalism, for the embodiment of religion in a mass of minute rules. Hebrew tradition was still to give to the world two remarkable works bearing upon religion. Neither of these is a single book; each, like the Bible itself, is a collection of many works, brief books carrying the complete thought of many generations. One of these collections is commonly called the Midrash, and the other the Kabbalah. To appreciate these two earnest and strange and mystic labors of medieval thinkers, we must realize that from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (a.d. 70) there was no longer a Hebrew nation living in its own land. There was only a mournful race, wide - scattered over all the world. At first the chief remaining center of Hebrew thought and teaching was in Babylon, the foster-home from which sprang the main bulk of the Talmud. But after the fifth century a.d. The lands of Babylonia were plunged also into destruction; and more than ever the Jews became hapless wanderers. They were welcomed, indeed, in some lands. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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