Courtesy of The Library of Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Moses receives the Tablets of the Law on Mt. Sinai while the Israelites look on in this illustrated page from a 15th-century edition of the treatise Pirqé Avot contained in the Mishnah.

In Pirqé Avot (literally, “Sayings of the Fathers”) the Sinaitic authority of the Mishnah was asserted for the first time. The Mishnah, a collection of originally oral laws, was compiled in written form about 200 A.D. Since then, the Mishnah has regulated much of Jewish daily life and religious observance. According to Avot, Moses received both a written Torah and an oral Torah from God on Mt. Sinai. The Mishnah, cornerstone of the oral Torah which ultimately came to include the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the Tosefta, the Midrashim, and various collections of Scriptural exegeses and biblica1 commentaries, is therefore accorded equal authority with the Hebrew Scriptures.