chapter  2
Pages 51

Between the closure of Scripture and the commencement of the earliest layers of articulated thought in the Mishnah, a vast labor of reflection yielded propositions of fundamental and enduring consequence. These form the second stage in the formation of Judaism. But concerning that next stage no direct evidence in documentary form-no compilations that reached closure and that was formulated and handed on in the line of tradition from Scripture to the Mishnah-informs us. We have not a single piece of writing to tell us where, when, and by whom such reflection was undertaken. For their part, the sages of Rabbinic Judaism accord no recognition to any document from the Pentateuch and the Scripture of which it is part to the Mishnah, though from that point on, that Judaism treats many compilations as authoritative. No public statement framed into a systematic reconstitution the rules and cases of Scripture. Thecategory-formation of a vast and coherent legal system, itself embod-ying and realizing a counterpart theological structure took shape at this stage and constitutes the organizing construction of the law of Judaism. But all we know is, when the work on the Mishnah as we know it got under way, that structure had taken shape in its principal components.1