A compilation of Jewish oral law and tradition that expands on and interprets God’s written Law, especially that given to Moses. It was compiled and put into written form by the early third century C.E.

The name Mishnah is derived from a Hebrew word that means “repetition” or “instruction.” Orthodox Jews believe that at Mount Sinai, God gave to Moses both the written Law and oral instructions on carrying out that Law. The Mishnah later became the foundation of the Talmud.

While claiming to complement the Scriptures, the Mishnah actually does the opposite—in effect, burying God’s laws and principles under a mountain of man-made rules and traditions. (Mr 7:1, 13) The Mishnah has historical value for Bible students because it provides background information on certain passages of Scripture and explains ancient Jewish customs and attitudes toward God’s name.