At all events, if these writings have many old elements and may be used to illustrate the background of the New Testament, they illustrate not only the excessive legalism and ritualism against which early Christianity contended, but also the more spiritual and ethical side of Judaism.
On the other hand, Judaism has never been without its heroes, martyrs or saints, and the fact that it still lives is sufficient to prove that the mechanical legalism of the Talmud has not hindered the growth of Jewish religion.
This legalism contrasts strikingly with the efforts of pagan philosophy to exhibit virtue as its own reward; and the contrast is triumphantly pointed out by more than one early Christian writer.
In the same spirit, under the reviving influence of ancient philosophy (with which, however, he was imperfectly acquainted and the relation of which to Christianity he extravagantly misunderstood), he argues that the old Greek moralists, as inculcating a disinterested love of good - and so implicitly love of God as the highest good - were really nearer to Christianity than Judaic legalism was.
Anne Hutchinson was, in fact, voicing a protest against the legalism of the Massachusetts Puritans, and was also striking at the authority of the clergy in an intensely theocratic community.
The development of the priestly code of legislation (Priestercodex) was a gradual process, and probably occupied a considerable part of the 5th century B.C. The Hebrew race now definitely entered upon the new path of organized Jewish legalism which had been originally marked out for it by Ezekiel in the preceding century.
The rejection of the Jews is their own fault, due to their obstinacy and legalism (ix.
While in his zeal for legalism he virtually adopts the standpoint of Pharisaism, he is at one with Jewish Hellenism in substituting belief in the soul's immortality for the doctrine of a bodily resurrection.
The excessive legalism which pervades the Talmud was the scholarship of the age, and the Talmud suffers to a certain extent because accepted opinions and isolated views are commingled.
The presbyterian constitution gave the people a share in church life which the Lutherans lacked, but it involved a dogmatic legalism which imperilled Christian freedom and fostered self-righteousness.