Chain of Tradition.
The trustworthiness of the divine behest until the final codification of the Law, from this point of view, rests upon the continuous chain of tradition from Moses down to the men of the Great Synagogue (Ab. i. 1), and afterward upon the successive ordination of the Rabbis by the elders with the laying on of hands (probably originally under the influence of the Holy Spirit; see Semikah). Accordingly the stability and the immutability of the Law remained from the Orthodox standpoint one of the cardinal principles of Judaism (see M. Friedländer, "The Jewish Religion," 1891; Samson Raphael Hirsch, "Horeb," 1837).
Independent research, however, discerns evolution and progress to have been at work in the various Mosaic legislations (Ex. xx. 22-xxiii. 19; Deut. xii.-xxi. 13; and Leviticus together with Num. xv., xviii.-xix. 22), in the prophetic and priestly as well as in the soferic activities, and it necessarily sees in revelation and inspiration as well as in tradition a spiritual force working from within rather than a heavenly communication coming from without. From this point of view, ethical monotheism presents itself as the product not of the Semitic race, which may at best have created predisposition for prophetic inspiration and for a conception of the Deity as a personality with certain moral relations to man, but solely of the Jewish genius, whose purer and tenderer conception of life demanded a pure and holy God in sharp contrast to the cruel and lascivious gods of the other Semitic races (see M. Joël, "Religiös-Philosophische Zeitfragen," 1876, pp. 82-83).