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Talmud(tăl`məd) [Aramaic from Heb.,=learning], in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries, in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere. Its two divisions are the MishnaMishna
, in Judaism, codified collection of Oral Law—legal interpretations of portions of the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and other legal material. Together with the Gemara, or Amoraic commentary on the Mishna, it comprises the Talmud.
..... Click the link for more information. or text of the Oral Law (in Hebrew) and the Gemara (in Aramaic), a commentary on the Mishna, which it supplements. The Mishna is divided into six Orders (Sedarim) and comprises 63 tractates (Massektoth), only 36 1-2 of which have a Gemara. The redaction of the Mishna was completed under the auspices of Juda ha-Nasi, c.A.D. 200, who collected and codified the legal material that had accumulated through the exposition of the Law by the Scribes (Soferim), particularly Hillel and Shammai, and its elaboration by the TannaimTannaim
[plural of Aramaic tanna,=one who studies or teaches], Jewish sages of the period from Hillel to the compilation of the Mishna. They functioned as both scholars and teachers, educating those in the synagogues as well as in the academies.
..... Click the link for more information. of the 1st and 2d cent. A.D., particularly Akiba ben Joseph. The Gemara developed out of the interpretations of the Mishna by the AmoraimAmoraim
[Heb. amar=to interpret], in Judaism, term referring to those scholars, predominantly at Caesarea and Tiberias in Palestine (c.A.D. 220–c.A.D. 375) and in Babylonia (c.A.D. 200–c.A.D.
..... Click the link for more information. . Both the Palestinian and Babylonian schools produced Talmuds, known respectively as the Talmud Yerushalmi (compiled c.5th cent. A.D.) and the Talmud Babli (c.6th cent. A.D.). The Babylonian Talmud is longer and more comprehensive and sophisticated than the Talmud Yerushalmi. It became the authoritative work due in part to the predominance of Babylonian Jewry and the decline of the Palestinian community by the year 1000. The Talmud touches on a wide range of subjects, offering information and comment on astronomy, geography, historical lore, domestic relations, and folklore. The legal sections of the Talmud are known as the halakahhalakah
[Heb.,=law], in Judaism, the body of law regulating all aspects of life, including religious ritual, familial and personal status, civil relations, criminal law, and relations with non-Jews.
..... Click the link for more information. ; the poetical digressions, illustrating the application of religious and ethical principles through parables, legends, allegories, tales, and anecdotes, constitute the Aggada. In the Middle Ages there arose a vast literature of commentaries on the Gemara—commentaries on those commentaries—and responsa (questions and answers); Rashi was one of the best-known commentators, and his commentaries are included in standard editions of the Talmud. In the Middle Ages thousands of Talmud manuscripts were destroyed by the Christians. The term Talmud is sometimes used to refer to the Gemara alone.
See The Babylonian Talmud (34 vol., tr. 1935–48); J. Goldin, The Living Talmud (1957, repr. 1964); H. L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1931, repr. 1969); C. G. Montefiore and H. Loewe, ed., A Rabbinic Anthology (1970); J. Neuser, Invitation to the Talmud (1973, repr. 1984); A. Steinsaltz, ed., The Talmud (Vol. I–XX, 1989–99) and The Essential Talmud (1992); D. H. Akenson, Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds (1999).
a collection of dogmatic religious, ethical, and legal tenets of Judaism. Compiled between the fourth century B.C. and the fifth century A.D., it is written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic dialects.
The Talmud comprises precepts on morality and law, discourses on religious doctrine and practices, legends about the universe, and prescientific information on medicine, astronomy, and geography. The oldest part of the Talmud, the Mishnah (“repetition”), interprets the laws of the Pentateuch, which at the time of writing no longer conformed to changing social conditions. The Mishnah also includes interpretations of the Torah that were compiled toward the early third century A.D. and which Orthodox Jews are required to adhere to. Later, the Mishnah itself became a subject of interpretation among Judaic theologians. The body of interpretations revolving around the Mishnah—the Gemara (“completion”)—together with the Mishnah itself, comprises the Talmud.
The part of the Talmud containing the laws that regulate the religious, family, and civic life of the Jews is called the halakah; the nonlegal part, containing myths, legends, parables, tales, and short stories, is called the Haggadah. The Haggadah is based on Middle Eastern folklore. In actuality there are two Talmuds, the Palestinian and Babylonian, named according to the place where the Gemara were compiled.
The Talmud views man as dependent on god, and the social order as inalterable. It advises patience and advocates intolerance toward adherents of other faiths.