Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
Or MISNA (from iteravit) a part of the Jewish Talmud. The Mischna contains the text; and the Gemara, which is the second part of the Talmud, contains the commentaries: so that the Gemara is, as it were, a glossary on the Mischna. The Mischna consists of various traditions of the Jews, and of explanations of several passages of Scripture: these traditions serving as an explication of the written law, and supplement to it, are said to have been delivered to Moses during the time of his abode on the Mount; which he afterwards communicated to Aaron, Eleazar, and his servant Joshua. By these they were transmitted to the seventy elders; by them to the prophets, who communicated them to the men of the great sanhedrim, from whom the wise men of Jerusalem and Babylon received them. According to Prideaux's account, they passed from Jeremiah to Baruch, from him to Ezra, and from Ezra to the men of the great synagogue, the last of whom was Simon the Just, who delivered them to Antigonus of Cocho: and from him they came down in regular succession to Simeon, who took our Saviour in his arms; to Gamaliel, at whose feet Paul was educated; and last of all, to Rabbi Judah the Holy, who committed them to writing in the Mischina.
But D. Prideaux, rejecting the Jewish fiction, observes, that after the death of Simon the Just, about 299 years before Christ, the Mischnical doctors arose, who by their comments and conclusions added to the number of those traditions which had been received and allowed by Ezra and the men of the great synagogue; so that towards the middle of the second century after Christ, under the empire of Antoninus Pius, it was found necessary to commit these traditions to writing; more especially as their country had considerably suffered under Adria, and many of their schools had been dissolved, and their learned men cut off; and therefore the usual method of preserving their traditions had failed. Rabbi Judah on this occasion being rector of the school of Tiberias, and president of the sanhedrim in that place, undertook the work, and compiled it in six books, each consisting of several tracts, which altogether make up the number of sixty-three. Prid. Connex. vol. 2: p. 468, &c. ed. 9. This learned author computes, that the Mischna was composed about the 150th year of our Lord; but Dr. Lightfoot says that the Rabbi Judah compiled the Mischna about the year of Christ 190, in the latter end of the reign of commodus; or, as some compute, in the year of Christ 220. Dr. Lardner is of opinion that this work could not have been finished before the year 190, or later. Collection of Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol.i. p. 178. Thus the book called the Mischna was formed; a book which the Jews have generally received with the greatest veneration. The original has been published with a Latin translation by Surenhusius, with notes of his own and others from the learned Maimonides, &c. in six vols, fol. Amster. A. D. 1698
See TALMUD. It is written in a much purer style, and is not near so full of dreams and visions as the Gemara.
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Mischna'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/m/mischna.html. 1802.