to 160 C.E. MEIR
Fourth Generation, 160 to 200 C.E. JUDAH THE PRINCE
The Tannaim were the possessors of what was perhaps the greatest principle that dominated a literature until the close of the eighteenth century. They maintained that literature and life were co-extensive. It was said of Jochanan, the son of Zakkai, that he never walked a single step without thinking of God. Learning the Torah, that is, the Law, the authorized Word of God, and its Prophetical and Rabbinical developments, was man's supreme duty. "If thou hast learned much Torah, ascribe not any merit to thyself, for therefor wast thou created." Man was created to learn; literature was the aim of life. We have already seen what kind of literature. Jochanan once said to his five favorite disciples: "Go forth and consider which is the good way to which a man should cleave." He received various answers, but he most approved of this response: "A good heart is the way." Literature is life if it be a heart-literature-
For those unfamiliar with major non-biblical figures in Judaism this is an excellent introduction. The chapter on Maimonides, XIII, does little more than
suggest that he and Aristotle are in a class by themselves. Those who have not read M-Torah, his prime Hebrew Language work, the chapter provides inspiration to do so. It may be ordered in English and many university libraries will have it as research literature.
Reading tanach (Old Testament) without reading Maimonides (best) or RASHI (pretty good) will give a very false impression if one is interested in judaism.