The Velveteen Mishnah
Usually Mishnah is called the first code of Jewish law, but as my rabbi pointed out to me, it doesn't exactly match what we think of as a law code. (Imagine, if you will, a Massachusetts state law that began, "What do we do upon reaching a red light? Stop entirely; this is the opinion of Joe. Jane says that a rolling stop is acceptable. In the opinion of Sue, the answer depends on whether there are other cars on the road. Once, Joe's sons were coming home from a party in the middle of the night, and they admitted to their father that they had neglected to stop at a stop sign...") Mishnah is less a code of law, in the modern sense, than it is a collection of authorized tradition about how to do mitzvot.