On the Oral Torah

The sages in these proportionate, balanced, and measured components revealed a world of rules and exposed a realm of justice and therefore rational explanation. It was the kingdom of Heaven, so the sages called it, meaning the kingdom of God. For that Eden, in the abstraction of natural history that was invented by philosophy, corresponds to the conception of the world and its perfection set forth by the theology of the sages. They accordingly conceived of a philosophical Eden out of Scripture’s account—its authorized history of the world from Eden to the return to Zion. What the observed facts of nature taught philosophers, the revealed facts of Scripture taught our sages of blessed memory. Therein theology differs from philosophy—but, in the Oral Torah in particular, the difference is there and there alone and nowhere else.

Jacob Neusner, The Theology of the Oral Torah, 17

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