"In Pirkei Avot, there is a tradition described as a Shalshelet Kabbalah, a chain of reception, a process of handing on, from one generation to the next:
From Moses to Joshua and from Joshua to the elders and from the elders to the prophets, until the last of the sages.
This concept of a continuous chain is central to the whole Jewish outlook on tradition.
And it does not only go back to Revelation.
The very notion of the inspired person or persons who act as a link in the chain throughout the generations is a profound contribution to the Revelations without necessarily changing it.
The original revelations contained all that was eventually relevant to it.
Those men who contributed to knowledge were in reality discoverers; they did not invent new ideas or theories.
They merely uncovered truths that were already there."
From Parabola Magazine 14:2, pp. 95-102