Tiqqun 'olam (repairing the world) in the Mishnah: From populating the world to building a community

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Tiqqun 'olam is an elusive concept in Jewish thought. In halakhic sources the term is not defined, yet it is invoked in the Mishnah as the justification for a variety of rabbinic taqqanot/enactments. The concept of tiqqun 'olam originated during the end of the Second Temple period. This term first appears in a dispute between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel (mGittin 4:5). The concept of tiqqun 'olam began to change during the Ushah period as a result of the harsh political, demographical and economic conditions following the Bar-Kokhba revolt. The main change came at the end of the Mishnaic period, with the editing of the tiqqun 'olam unit in tractate Gittin by R. Judah haNasi and his disciples. In this paper I trace the early life of the concept tiqqun 'olam as it appears in the Mishnah, and expose the first layer of the development of the concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-310
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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