Question:,You agree with me that there was probably some sort of oral tradition given to the Jews which did not make it into the Old Testament. (editor’s note: this is based on an earlier question and answer) I would like to ask you the following three questions:,1) What purpose do you think this oral tradition served? ,2) What exactly did it contain?(What type of information.),3) Do you agree with the opinion of Ultra Orthodox/Rabbinic Jews that they presently posses this oral tradition in the form of the Talmud and other Jewish volumes ( ie.Midrash, Kabbalah etc.)? Could you please include in your answer to this question the reasons for your opinion. ,If you could kindly answer each of these questions separately it would help me keep this information organized if I need to ask for clarity. Thanks. ,Answer:,1. I do not know, and I cannot know. This requires speculation. I will guess, but it is a total guess and is therefore of extremely little value. Remember, I argued that this oral tradition exists by analogy to what we know about the New Testament. Argument by analogy is weak argument. My speculation is that the tradition involved things which were of only temporary application for the situation at hand, but not for the long term. Perhaps it would be commands for the situation they faced with the physical or political situation in the desert or commands concerning social situations which were culturally applicable to Israel at that time, but which would become irrelevant at a later date.,2. I have no idea. Until someone presents evidence to me, I will remain silent. I am certainly not the world’s authority on this. You may want to do some research….,3. Definitely not. These traditions were written well over one thousand years later. The Talmud was collected in the period fairly soon after Jesus. The Mishna was collected about AD 200. It is almost inconceivable that a verbal tradition was maintained for 1500 years but never written down. I cannot prove that they are wrong, but I can reasonably conclude that this was not the case. The oral traditions,Talmud, Mishna were not intended as original revelation but as interpretation of the existing revelation. Whether or not the Talmud or Mishna are inspired is another story, but they are virtually without a doubt that they are not oral tradition handed down to Moses. As far as I know, even the Orthodox Jews do not claim that the Talmud was given to Moses on Sinai. By the way, the Kabbalah is a much later composition (after AD 1000) . Surely there is no Jew who claims that this is part of the original law given at Sinai.,So, people can claim that there was an extra oral tradition handed to the Jews at Sinai. However, unless they can provide evidence for the specifics of such law, they are better off saying little if anything about this speculative topic.,That is my opinion.,John Oakes, PhD

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