By W. J. Verdenius

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Additional resources for Commentaries on Pindar: Olympian Odes 3, 7, 12, 14 (Mnemosyne : Bibliotheca Classica Batava, No 97)

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Some of the most striking and important of these principles, those in the divisions on Agriculture and Purities in particular, but also a few in the divisions on Appointed Times and Women, may be shown to serve sectarian, and not general or societal, interests. It would carry us far afield to specify what these propositions are and why they evidently speak out of a sectarian context. The main point should not be missed. When we speak about the Pharisees, we speak about Jews who thought that when they ate their meals at home, THE MISHNAH VIEWED WHOLE 27 they should do so in the way, in general, in which the priests eat their meals of meat, meal, and wine, supplied from the leftovers of God's meal on the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Gamaliel, are known from independent sources to have been Pharisees. But that is the sum and substance of it. Consequently, to assign the whole of the Mishnah to the Pharisees who flourished before 70 and who are known to us from diverse sources, all of them composed in the form in which we know them after 70, is hardly justified. We learn little about the Pharisees from the Mishnah, except in the handful of sayings referring to them (M. Hag. 2:4-7; M. Sot. 3:4; M. Toh. 4:12; and M. Yad. 4:6-8), or assigned to people who we have good reason to believe were Pharisees.

They are not shaped and tested by and against reality. Use of pat phrases and syntactical cliches, divorced from different thoughts to be said THE MISHNAH VIEWED WHOLE 17 and different ways of thinking, testifies to the prevailing notion of unstated, but secure and unchanging, reality behind and beneath the accidents of context and circumstance: God is one, God's world is in order, each line carefuly drawn, all structures fully coherent. Two facts have been established. First, the formalization of the Mishnaic thought-units is separate from the utilization of sound, rhythm, and extrinsic characteristics of word-choice.

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