Though Rabbi’s Mishnah replaced the earlier mishnah compilations, no later Mishnah compilation ever replaced his work. Instead, Rabbi’s Mishnah was widely accepted in the rabbinic community and served as the central core of both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. Traditionally, the Mishnah’s immediate success has been attributed to its concise language, the inclusion of a variety of legal opinions stemming from the different tannaitic traditions, and the reputation of its esteemed editor. By highlighting these features, Avot contributed to both the immediate success of the Mishnah and the long-lasting survival of rabbinic Judaism. For the immediate context, Avot underscored the synthesis of scholarship and leadership embodied in the esteemed patriarch, Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. Rabbi’s reputation contributed to the success of his Mishnah and that in turn amplified his own power and the power and pre-eminence of his immediate descendants. In the long tern, Avot encapsulated rabbinic ideals while laying the grounds for the halakhah and therefore continued to be well read and influential down through the ages.

Amram Tropper, Wisdom, Politics, and Historiography: Tractate Avot in the Context of the Graeco-Roman Near East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 106-107.

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