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Encyclopedia > Rabbinic literature

Rabbinic literature, in the broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of Judaism's rabbinic writing/s throughout history. However, the term often used as an exact cognate of the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (ספרות חז"ל; "Literature [of our] Sages, [of] blessed memory"), where the latter usually refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era. The latter, more specific, sense is how the term is normally used in medieval and modern rabbinic writing (where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the Talmudic era), and in contemporary academic writing (where "rabbinic literature" refers to Talmud, Midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts). The Star of David, a common symbol of Jews and Judaism Judaism is the religion and culture of the Jewish people and one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths. ... See Semicha for article about ordination of rabbis. ... The Modern Hebrew language is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ... The first page of the Talmud, in the standard Vilna edition. ...


This article discusses rabbinic literature in both senses. It begins with the classic rabbinic literature of the Talmudic era (Sifrut Hazal), and then adds a broad survey of rabbinic writing from later periods.


The term meforshim, or parshanim is also used in modern-day yeshiva's (i.e. Talmudical academies), denoting the "rabbinical commentaries" of the "commentators", see below for further elucidation. A yeshiva (Hebrew, pl. ... See Semicha for article about ordination of rabbis. ...

Contents

The oral law

The Mishnah and the Tosefta (compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, explaining Judaism's oral law. Next came the two Talmuds: The Mishnah (Hebrew משנה, Repetition) is a major source of rabbinic Judaisms religious texts. ... The Mishnah is the basic compilation of the Oral law of Judaism; it was written compile around 200 CE. The Tosefta is a second compilation of oral law from that period. ... For other uses, see number 200. ... An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or other regroupement, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is verbally transmitted. ... The first page of the Talmud, in the standard Vilna edition. ...

The Jerusalem Talmud (In Hebrew Talmud Yerushalmi, in short known as the Yerushalmi), also known as the Palestinian Talmud, (not related to current Palestinian issues at all!), was written in the Land of Israel at the same time of the writing of the the Babylonian Talmud, (which is known as... Events August 25 - Marcian proclaimed Eastern Roman Emperor by Aspar and Pulcheria. ... The first page of the Talmud, in the standard Vilna edition. ... For other uses, see number 600. ... The Minor Tractates are essays from the tannaitic period or later dealing with topics about which no formal tractate exists in the Mishnah. ...

The Midrash

Midrash (pl. Midrashim) is a Hebrew word referring to a method of reading details into, or out of, a Biblical text. The term midrash also can refer to a compilation of Midrashic teachings, in the form of legal, exegetical or homiletical commentaries on the Bible. Midrash (pl. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum Hebrew Bible refers to the common portions of the Jewish and Christian canons. ...


Later works by category

Jewish law

Halakha is the Jewish way of life. Notable works in this category include: Halakha (הלכה or Halakhah, Halacha, Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish law, custom and tradition regulating all aspects of behavior. ...

Halakha (הלכה or Halakhah, Halacha, Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish law, custom and tradition regulating all aspects of behavior. ... The Mishneh Torah or Yad ha-Chazaka is a code of Jewish law by one of the most important Jewish authorities, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, better known as Maimonides or by the Hebrew abbreviation RaMBaM (usually written Rambam in English). ... Arbaah Turim (ארבעה טורים, Hebrew: Four rows), also abbreviated as Tur, is an important work of Jewish law, composed by Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher (Baal ha-Turim) of Spain (1270 -ca 1340). ... The Shulkhan Arukh (Hebrew: Prepared Table), by Rabbi Yosef Karo is considered the most authoritative compilation of Jewish law since the Talmud. ... Note: This is based on an entry from the 1906 public domain Jewish Encyclopedia The responsa literature, known in Hebrew as Sheelot U-teshuvot (questions and answers), is the body of written decisions and rulings given by rabbis to questions addressed to them. ...

Jewish thought and ethics

Jewish philosophy is the attempt to fuse the fields of philosophy with the religious teachings of Judaism. ... The tree of life. ... Aggadah ( Aramaic אגדה: tales, lore; pl. ... Hasidic Judaism (Hebrew: Chasidut חסידות, meaning pious from the Hebrew root word chesed חסד meaning loving kindness) is a Haredi Jewish religious movement. ... Jewish ethics stands at the intersection of Judaism and the Western philosophical tradition of ethics. ... The Hebrew term mussar, while literally derived from a word meaning tradition, usually refers to Jewish ethics in general, or (and more commonly) refers to the Jewish ethics education movement that developed in the 19th century Orthodox Jewish European community. ...

Liturgy

The siddur is the prayerbook used by Jews the world over, containing a set order of daily prayers. ... Jewish services are the prayers recited as part of observance of Judaism. ... A piyyut (plural piyyutim, Hebrew פיוט, [pijút] and [pijutím]) is a Jewish liturgical poem, usually designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services. ...

Later works by historical period

Works of the Geonim

The Geonim are the rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in Babylon (650 - 1250) : Geonim (also Gaonim) (גאונים) (Singular: Gaon [גאון] meaning Genius in Hebrew) were the rabbis who were the Jewish Talmudic sages who were the generally accepted leaders of the Jewish community in the early medieval era. ... Babylon was the capital city of Babylonia in Mesopotamia (in contemporary Iraq, about 70 mi/110 km south of Baghdad). ... Events Arab conquest of Persia, establishment of Islam as state religion Hindu empire in Sumatra Croats and Serbs occupy Bosnia Khazars conquer Great Bulgarian Empire in southern Russia building of St. ... Events December 13 - Death of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor Louis IX of France is captured by Muslims and has to ransom himself Mabinogion appears Albertus Magnus isolates the element arsenic Vincent of Beauvais writes proto-encyclopedic The Greater Mirror City of Stockholm founded Alphonso III of Portugal takes Algarve...

Emunoth ve-Deoth written by Rabbi Saadia Gaon, was originally called Kitab al-Amanat wal-ltikadat (Book of the Articles of Faith and Doctrines of Dogma) the work was the first systematic presentation and philosophic foundation of the dogmas of Judaism. ... Saadia Ben Joseph Gaon ( 892- 942), the Hebrew name of Said al-Fayyumi, was a rabbi who was also a prominent Jewish exilarch, philosopher, and exegete. ... The siddur is the prayerbook used by Jews the world over, containing a set order of daily prayers. ... Note: This is based on an entry from the 1906 public domain Jewish Encyclopedia The responsa literature, known in Hebrew as Sheelot U-teshuvot (questions and answers), is the body of written decisions and rulings given by rabbis to questions addressed to them. ...

Works of the Rishonim (the "early" rabbinical commentators)

The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1250 - 1550) Rishonim (Hebrew - sing. ... Events December 13 - Death of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor Louis IX of France is captured by Muslims and has to ransom himself Mabinogion appears Albertus Magnus isolates the element arsenic Vincent of Beauvais writes proto-encyclopedic The Greater Mirror City of Stockholm founded Alphonso III of Portugal takes Algarve... Events February 7 - Julius III becomes Pope. ...

Torah, (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or especially law. It primarily refers to the first section of the Tanakh–the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or the Five Books of Moses. ... Rashi (1040-1105) is the acronym of Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (or: Shlomo Yitzhaki). ... Rabbi Abraham Ben Meir Ibn Ezra (also known as Ibn Ezra, or Abenezra) (1092 or 1093-1167), was one of the most distinguished Jewish men of letters and writers of the Middle Ages. ... Nahmanides is the common name for Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi; the name is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Ben Nahman, meaning Son of Nahman. He is also commomly known as Ramban, being an acronym of his Hebrew name and title, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, and by his Catalan name... The first page of the Talmud, in the standard Vilna edition. ... Rashi (1040-1105) is the acronym of Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (or: Shlomo Yitzhaki). ... Rabbi Nissim ben Reuven (1320 - 1380) of Girona was an influential talmudist and authority in Jewish law. ... Tosafists were medieval rabbis who collected commentaries on the Talmud, and appear in virtually every edition since it was first printed. ... Nahmanides is the common name for Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi; the name is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Ben Nahman, meaning Son of Nahman. He is also commomly known as Ramban, being an acronym of his Hebrew name and title, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, and by his Catalan name... Shlomo ben Aderet (or Solomon son of Aderet) (1235-1310), universally known to scholars of Judaism as the Rashba (the acronym for his Hebrew name), was a Medieval rabbi, Halakhist, and famous Talmudist. ... Halakha (הלכה or Halakhah, Halacha, Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish law, custom and tradition regulating all aspects of behavior. ... Asher ben Jehiel (or Rabeinu Osher ben Yechiel) (1250? 1259?-1328), an eminent rabbi and Talmudist often known by his Hebrew acronym the ROSH (literally Head), was born in western Germany and died in Toledo, Spain. ... Rambam Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Hebrew: רבי משה בן מיימון; Arabic: Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Kurtubi al-Israili; March 30, 1135—December 13, 1204), commonly known by his Greek name Maimonides, was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher. ... Jacob ben Asher, in Hebrew Yaakov ben Asher, (1270-ca 1340) was an influential Medieval rabbinic authority. ... The Shulkhan Arukh (Hebrew: Prepared Table), by Rabbi Yosef Karo is considered the most authoritative compilation of Jewish law since the Talmud. ... Note: This is based on an entry from the 1906 public domain Jewish Encyclopedia The responsa literature, known in Hebrew as Sheelot U-teshuvot (questions and answers), is the body of written decisions and rulings given by rabbis to questions addressed to them. ... Shlomo ben Aderet (or Solomon son of Aderet) (1235-1310), universally known to scholars of Judaism as the Rashba (the acronym for his Hebrew name), was a Medieval rabbi, Halakhist, and famous Talmudist. ... The tree of life. ... The Zohar (Hebrew זהר Zohar Splendor, radiance) is widely considered the most important work of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. ... Rambam Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Hebrew: רבי משה בן מיימון; Arabic: Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Kurtubi al-Israili; March 30, 1135—December 13, 1204), commonly known by his Greek name Maimonides, was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher. ... Levi ben Gershon, (Levi son of Gerson), better known as Gersonides or the Ralbag (1288—1344 CE), was a famous rabbi, philosopher and Talmudic commentator, and is well-known to scholars of Judaism. ... Nahmanides is the common name for Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi; the name is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Ben Nahman, meaning Son of Nahman. He is also commomly known as Ramban, being an acronym of his Hebrew name and title, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, and by his Catalan name... Bahya ibn Paquda (also: Pakuda) Full name: Bahya ben Joseph ibn Pakuda, known to Talmud scholars (in Hebrew) as the Rabbeinu Bechaya (Our Rabbi Behaya), was a Jewish philosopher and rabbi who lived at Saragossa, Spain, in the first half of the eleventh century. ...

Works of the Acharonim (the "later" rabbinical commentators)

The Acharonim are the rabbis from 1550 to the present day. Acharonim (Hebrew - sing. ... Events February 7 - Julius III becomes Pope. ...

Torah, (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or especially law. It primarily refers to the first section of the Tanakh–the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or the Five Books of Moses. ... Rabbi S.R. Hirsch Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (June 20, 1808 - December 31, 1888) was the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism. ... Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (1817- 10 August 1893) was a rosh yeshiva (dean of a yeshiva) and author if several works of rabbinic literature in Lithuania. ... The first page of the Talmud, in the standard Vilna edition. ... Moses ben Samuel Sofer, known to Jews as the Hatam Sofer, or the Chsam Soifer, (after his main work), was one of the leading rabbis of European Judaism in the 1800s. ... Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) was an Orthodox Rabbi who was world renowned for his expertise in halacha (Jewish Law) and was the de facto supreme Rabbinic authority for the Orthodox Jewry of North America. ... Halakha (הלכה or Halakhah, Halacha, Halachah) is the collective corpus of Jewish law, custom and tradition regulating all aspects of behavior. ... A codex (Latin for book; plural codices) is a handwritten book from late Antiquity or the Middle Ages. ... Mishnah Berurah (Hebrew: Clarified Teaching) is a commentary on the Orach Chayim (laws of prayer, synagogue, shabbat and holidays) section of the Shulkhan Arukh by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, better known as The Chafetz Chayim (Poland, 1838 - 1933). ... Categories: People stubs | Judaism-related stubs | 1838 births | 1933 deaths | Orthodox rabbis ... Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829-1907), often called the Aruch ha-Shulchan (after his main work), was a posek (authority in Jewish law) in Lithuania. ... Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829-1907), often called the Aruch ha-Shulchan (after his main work), was a posek (authority in Jewish law) in Lithuania. ... Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (also Moses Chaim, Moses Hayyim, also Luzzato) (1707-1746), also known by the Hebrew acronym as the RAMCHAL, was a prominent Italian Jewish rabbi, mystic, and philosopher best remembered today for his ethical treatise Mesillat Yesharim (Path of the Just). ... Categories: People stubs | Judaism-related stubs | 1838 births | 1933 deaths | Orthodox rabbis ... The Hebrew term mussar, while literally derived from a word meaning tradition, usually refers to Jewish ethics in general, or (and more commonly) refers to the Jewish ethics education movement that developed in the 19th century Orthodox Jewish European community. ... Hasidic Judaism (Hebrew: Chasidut חסידות, meaning pious from the Hebrew root word chesed חסד meaning loving kindness) is a Haredi Jewish religious movement. ... Judah Low ben Bezalel (1525 — 1609) was a Jewish scholar and rabbi, most of his life in Prague. ... Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (also Moses Chaim, Moses Hayyim, also Luzzato) (1707-1746), also known by the Hebrew acronym as the RAMCHAL, was a prominent Italian Jewish rabbi, mystic, and philosopher best remembered today for his ethical treatise Mesillat Yesharim (Path of the Just). ... Chaim Volozhin (or Chaim Volozhiner or Chaim of Volozhin) (1749 - 1821) was an Orthodox Judaism rabbi, Talmudist, and ethicist. ... Rabbi Chaim Joseph David ben Isaac Zerachia Azulai (1724, 21 March 1807), commonly known as the Chida (by the acronym of his name), was a rabbinical scholar and a noted bibliophile, who pioneered the history of Jewish religious writings. ...

Meforshim

Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning "(classical rabbinical) commentators" (or roughly meaning "exegetes"), and is used as a substitute for the correct word perushim which means "commentaries". In Judaism this term refers to commentaries by the commentators on the Torah (five books of Moses), Tanakh, the Mishnah, the Talmud, responsa, even the siddur (Jewish prayerbook), and more. The Modern Hebrew language is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ... This article discusses textual hermeneutics. ... The Star of David, a common symbol of Jews and Judaism Judaism is the religion and culture of the Jewish people and one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths. ... Torah, (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or especially law. It primarily refers to the first section of the Tanakh–the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or the Five Books of Moses. ... 11th century Targum Tanakh [תנ״ך] (also spelt Tanach or Tenach) is an acronym for the three parts of the Hebrew Bible, based upon the initial Hebrew letters of each part: Torah [תורה] (The Law; also: Teaching or Instruction), Chumash [חומש] (The five, also Pentateuch or The five books of... The Mishnah (Hebrew משנה, Repetition) is a major source of rabbinic Judaisms religious texts. ... The first page of the Talmud, in the standard Vilna edition. ... Note: This is based on an entry from the 1906 public domain Jewish Encyclopedia The responsa literature, known in Hebrew as Sheelot U-teshuvot (questions and answers), is the body of written decisions and rulings given by rabbis to questions addressed to them. ... The siddur is the prayerbook used by Jews the world over, containing a set order of daily prayers. ...


Classic Torah and/or Talmud commentaries have been written by: Torah, (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or especially law. It primarily refers to the first section of the Tanakh–the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, or the Five Books of Moses. ...

Classical Talmudic commentaries were written by Rashi. After Rashi the Tosafos were written, which was an omnibus commentary on the Talmud by the disciplies and descendants of Rashi; this commentary was based on discussions done in the rabbinic academies of Germany and France. Geonim (also Gaonim) (גאונים) (Singular: Gaon [גאון] meaning Genius in Hebrew) were the rabbis who were the Jewish Talmudic sages who were the generally accepted leaders of the Jewish community in the early medieval era. ... Saadia Ben Joseph Gaon ( 892- 942), the Hebrew name of Said al-Fayyumi, was a rabbi who was also a prominent Jewish exilarch, philosopher, and exegete. ... Rishonim (Hebrew - sing. ... Rashi (1040-1105) is the acronym of Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (or: Shlomo Yitzhaki). ... Rabbi Abraham Ben Meir Ibn Ezra (also known as Ibn Ezra, or Abenezra) (1092 or 1093-1167), was one of the most distinguished Jewish men of letters and writers of the Middle Ages. ... Nahmanides is the common name for Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi; the name is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Ben Nahman, meaning Son of Nahman. He is also commomly known as Ramban, being an acronym of his Hebrew name and title, Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, and by his Catalan name... Levi ben Gershon, (Levi son of Gerson), better known as Gersonides or the Ralbag (1288—1344 CE), was a famous rabbi, philosopher and Talmudic commentator, and is well-known to scholars of Judaism. ... ... Rabbi Nissim ben Reuven (1320 - 1380) of Girona was an influential talmudist and authority in Jewish law. ... This article or section should be merged with Don Isaac Abravanel. ... Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno was an Italian rabbi, Biblical commentator, philosopher and physician. ... Acharonim (Hebrew - sing. ... Elijah Ben Solomon, the Vilna Gaon Elijah (Eliyahu) Ben Solomon Kremer, born April 23, 1720, Vilna (now Vilnius), Lithuania; where he died on October 9, 1797, was a prominent Jewish rabbi, Talmud scholar, and Kabbalist. ... Meir Lob ben Jehiel Michael (1809 - September 18, 1879), better known as the Malbim, was a Russian rabbi, preacher, and author. ...


Modern Torah commentaries which have received wide acclaim in the Jewish community include:

Modern Siddur commentaries have been written by: Orthodox Judaism is one of the three major branches of Judaism. ... Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (1817- 10 August 1893) was a rosh yeshiva (dean of a yeshiva) and author if several works of rabbinic literature in Lithuania. ... Rabbi Baruch Epstein or Baruch ha-Levi Epstein (1860-1941) was a Lithuanian rabbi. ... Rabbi S.R. Hirsch Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (June 20, 1808 - December 31, 1888) was the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism. ... Several of the Gerer Rebbes Ger, Gerrer, or Gur is the Yiddish name of Góra Kalwaria, a small town in Poland, and the name of a large Orthodox Hasidic dynasty which originated from this town. ... Categories: People stubs | Judaism-related stubs | 1838 births | 1933 deaths | Orthodox rabbis ... Conservative Judaism (or Masorti Judaism) is a denomination of Judaism characterized by: A positive attitude toward modern culture The belief that traditional rabbinic modes of study, and modern scholarship and critical text study, are both valid ways to learn about and from Jewish religious texts. ... Harold Kushner is a Conservative rabbi, in the liberal wing of Conservative Judaism, a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, and a long time congregational rabbi of a Conservative synagogue in Natick, Massachusetts, USA. He is the author of the immensely popular book on liberal theology, When Bad Things Happen to... Rabbi Dr. Chaim Potok (February 17, 1929 _ July 23, 2002) was an American author and rabbi. ...

Categories: People stubs | Judaism-related stubs | 1838 births | 1933 deaths | Orthodox rabbis ... Rabbi S.R. Hirsch Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (June 20, 1808 - December 31, 1888) was the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism. ... Abraham Isaac Kook (1864 - 1935) is known in Hebrew as הרב אברהם יצחק הכהן קוק HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, and by the acronym HaRaAYaH. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook The first official Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of then British-controlled Palestine (a position which was later succeeded by that of Chief... ArtScroll is an imprint of translations, books and commentaries from an Orthodox Jewish perspective published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd. ... The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (or USCJ; until 1992, it was the United Synagogue of America) is the official organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America. ...

See also

The Star of David, a common symbol of Jews and Judaism Judaism is the religion and culture of the Jewish people and one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths. ... A Torah database (מאגר תורני or מאגר יהדות) is an electronic collection of classic Jewish texts in electronic form, the kinds of texts which especially in Israel are often called The Traditional Jewish Bookshelf (ארון הספרים היהודי); the texts are in their original languages, usually Hebrew or Aramaic. ... List of prominent rabbis. ... Listed below are some Hebrew prayers and blessings that are part of Judaism that are recited by many Jews. ...

Bibliography

  • Back to the Sources: Reading the Classic Jewish Texts, Barry W. Holtz, (Summit Books)
  • Introduction to Rabbinic Literature Jacob Neusner, (Anchor Bible Reference Library/Doubleday)
  • Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, (Fortress Press)
  • The Literature of the Sages: Oral Torah, Halakha, Mishna, Tosefta, Talmud, External Tractates, Shemuel Safrai and Peter J. (Tomsan Fortress, 1987)

Jacob Neusner (1932- ) is the worlds most prolific and influential academic scholar of Judaism. ...

External links

  • General
    • A survey of rabbinic literature (http://ohr.edu/judaism/survey/survey.htm)
    • Jewish Law research guide (http://library.law.miami.edu/jewishguide.html)
    • A timeline of Jewish texts (http://hillel.myjewishlearning.com/texts/about_jewish_texts/What_Are_Jewish_Texts/Timeline50.htm)
    • Judaica archival project (http://www.virtualgeula.com/archival/eng/cat-ti-e.htm#BB)
    • Chapters On Jewish Literature (http://www.authorama.com/chapters-on-jewish-literature-1.html)
  • Links to full text resources
  • Glossaries
    • Judaic glossary (http://www.indiana.edu/~letrs/help-services/QuickGuides/bar-ilan/judaicglossary.html)
    • Sources@JTS (http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/diduknow/sources/)
    • Glossary/Bibliography (http://yucs.org/~jyuter/notes/glossary.html)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2615 words)
Literature is literally "an acquaintance with letters" as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning "an individual written character (letter)").
The word "literature" as a common noun can refer to any form of writing, such as essays; "Literature" as a proper noun refers to a whole body of literary work, world-wide or relating to a specific culture.There is often confusion regarding the actual definition of literature and Literature.
Critics may exclude works from the classification "literature", for example, on the grounds of a poor standard of grammar and syntax, of an unbelievable or disjointed story-line, or of inconsistent or unconvincing characters.
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