Prior to Rabbi Akiba, Pharisaic Judaism, which ultimately became modern Judaism, kept its scope and authority somewhat limited. While his predecessor, Rabbi Eliezer, preferred to keep the scope of Oral Law limited to its until-then traditional scope, Rabbi Akiba had a more ambitious agenda.
Under Rabbi Eliezer, Pharisaic Judaism was like a set of Powell furniture; solid, sturdy and based on reliable ingredients. In other words, the scope of the Oral Law was confined to matters of keeping the social order.
Not so under Rabbi Akiba. Under his guidance and direction, nearly all matters of life, be they public, personal or intimate, came under the control and ruling authority of the rabbis. This move had more to do with political than religious control, though in the first century the two concepts were nearly inseparable. As such, rabbinical authority extended not only to dietary matters and property rights, but even when so far as to dictate the nature and frequency of the intimate relations between a husband and wife.
The problem with Rabbi Akiba’s direction for Judaism is not that he was a politician trying to establish the authority of his sect, but that in doing so, he overtly overthrew the authority of the Torah in favor of the rulings of the Rabbis. Under Akiba’s version of Judaism, even G-d himself could not challenge rabbinical authority, but must submit to it.
Of course, with the Gentile-ization of the Talmudei Yeshua into the state-church of Rome, in the form of Catholicism, Christianity ultimately went in error toward the same direction. All of this leads one to wonder where first-century messianic Judaism went shortly after the first century, and how it could ever be recovered in purity, nearly 1900 years later.
Food for contemplation. Books like Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah, as well as The Church and the Jews, both by Daniel Gruber, get my highest recommendation.