Re-living Biblical Israel in the Greco-Roman Period: The Community of the Renewed Covenant' Between the Bible and the Mishnah

Shemaryahu Talmon

The author of this paper purports to illustrate the significance of the Hebrew Bible in the world of ideas of the "Community of the Renewed Coveant' by viewing it from the angle of 'Continuity vs. Innovation' and Inspiration vs. Interpretation'. The sin gularity of the Covenanters' self-identification with biblical Israel will be highlighted by a comparison of their posture with bibical Israel will be highlighted by a compariorison of their posture with the attides of other streams in Second Temple Jud aism, foremost with that of the Pharisaic movement in nascendi.

1. Their insistance on perpetuating a calendrical system rooted in the biblical era with finds expression: a) in their 'counting the day from the morning' rather than 'from the evening', as was the rule in most `Jewish communities; b) in the perpetuation of the biblical roster of 24 'priestly watches in the Temple', mismerot ha-kohanim, adjusted to the solar calendar of 364 days; c) in their observation of the offering of the paschal lamb, zebah hag ha-pesah and the mazzot-feast, hag ha mazzot, as two discrete ritual celebrations.

2. In the re-enactment of the Israel's history in the biblical period, exemplified by: a) the application of the biblical concept of 'Covenant' to the life of their community in its actual present; b) the ideational re-enactment of the biblical motif cycle 'exile-sojurn in the desert-restoration' in the history of their community; c) in the absence of a closed biblical canon and the continuance of an 'Open-eded Bible'.