Talmud

Talmud

Overview
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. It takes the form of a record of rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

nic discussions pertaining to Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, ethics
Jewish ethics
Jewish ethics stands at the intersection of Judaism and the Western philosophical tradition of ethics. Like other types of religious ethics, the diverse literature of Jewish ethics primarily aims to answer a broad range of moral questions and, hence, may be classified as a normative ethics...

, philosophy, customs and history.

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (c. 200 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

 writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

.

The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably.
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Quotations

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. - Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:8 (37a)

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when? - Rabbi Hillel (Avot 1:14)

Repent one day before your death. (Avot 2:10)

Say little and do much. (Avot 1:15)

Make a teacher for yourself, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit. (Avot 1:6)

In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man. (Avot 2:5)

Let your home be a meeting place for the wise; dust yourself in the soil of their feet, and drink thirstily of their words. (Avot 1:4)

Make that His will should be your will, so that He should make your will to be as His will. Nullify your will before His will, so that He should nullify the will of others before your will. (Avot 2:4)

Rabbi Eliezer would say: The honor of your fellow should be as precious to you as your own, and do not be easy to anger. (Avot 2:7)

Rabbi Joshua would say: An evil eye, the evil inclination, and the hatred of one's fellows, drive a person from the world. (Avot 2:11)

Encyclopedia
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. It takes the form of a record of rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

nic discussions pertaining to Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, ethics
Jewish ethics
Jewish ethics stands at the intersection of Judaism and the Western philosophical tradition of ethics. Like other types of religious ethics, the diverse literature of Jewish ethics primarily aims to answer a broad range of moral questions and, hence, may be classified as a normative ethics...

, philosophy, customs and history.

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (c. 200 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

 writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

.

The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably. The Gemara is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 and is much quoted in other rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

. The whole Talmud is also traditionally referred to as , a Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 abbreviation of , the "six orders" of the Mishnah.

History




Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law (the written law expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves), though some may have made private notes (), for example of court decisions. This situation changed drastically, however, mainly as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth and the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 in the year 70 CE and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the Rabbis were required to face a new reality—mainly Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without at least partial autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.
The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

ic form, in which halakhic
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 discussion is structured as exegetical
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 commentary on the Pentateuch
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

. But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant about the year 200 CE, when Rabbi Judah haNasi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

 redacted the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 .

The Oral Law was far from monolithic; rather, it varied among various schools. The most famous two were the School of Shammai
Shammai
Shammai was a Jewish scholar of the 1st century, and an important figure in Judaism's core work of rabbinic literature, the Mishnah....

 and the School of Hillel
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

. In general, all valid opinions, even the non-normative ones, were recorded in the Talmud.

Structure


The six orders (sedarim; singular: seder) of general subject matter in the Talmud are divided into 60 or 63 tractates (masekhtot; singular: masekhet) of more focused subject compilations. Each tractate is divided into chapters (perakim; singular: perek), 517 in total, that are both numbered according to the Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

 and given names, usually using the first one or two words in the first mishnah. The perek may continue over several (up to tens) of pages. Each perek will contain several mishnayot with their accompanying exchanges that form the "building-blocks" of the Gemara; the name for a passage of gemara is a . A , including baraita or tosefta, will typically comprise a detailed proof-based elaboration of a Mishnaic statement, whether halakhic
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 or aggadic
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

. A sugya may, and often does, range widely off the subject of the mishnah. The sugya is not punctuated in the conventional sense used in the English language, but by using specific expressions that help to divide the sugya into components, usually including a statement, a question on the statement, an answer, a proof for the answer or a refutation of the answer with its own proof.

In a given , scriptural, Tannaic and Amoraic statements are cited to support the various opinions. In so doing, the Gemara will highlight semantic disagreements
Semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

 between Tannaim
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

 and Amora
Amora
Amoraim , were renowned Jewish scholars who "said" or "told over" the teachings of the Oral law, from about 200 to 500 CE in Babylonia and the Land of Israel. Their legal discussions and debates were eventually codified in the Gemara...

im (often ascribing a view to an earlier authority as to how he may have answered a question), and compare the Mishnaic views with passages from the Baraita
Baraita
Baraita designates a tradition in the Jewish oral law not incorporated in the Mishnah. "Baraita" thus refers to teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishnah...

. Rarely are debates formally closed; in some instances, the final word determines the practical law, but in many instances the issue is left unresolved. There is a whole literature on the procedural principles to be used in settling the practical law when disagreements exist: see under #Logic and methodology below.

Mishnah



The Mishnah is a compilation of legal opinions and debates. Statements in the Mishnah are typically terse, recording brief opinions of the rabbis debating a subject; or recording only an unattributed ruling, apparently representing a consensus view. The rabbis recorded in the Mishnah are known as Tannaim
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

.http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gemara

Since it sequences its laws by subject matter instead of by biblical context, the Mishnah discusses individual subjects more thoroughly than the Midrash, and it includes a much broader selection of halakhic subjects than the Midrash. The Mishnah's topical organization thus became the framework of the Talmud as a whole. But not every tractate in the Mishnah has a corresponding talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

. Also, the order of the tractates in the Talmud differs in some cases from that in the Mishnah (see the discussion on each order).http://talital.net/Talmud.html


In addition to the Mishnah, other tannaitic teachings were current at about the same time or shortly thereafter. The Gemara frequently refers to these tannaitic statements in order to compare them to those contained in the Mishnah and to support or refute the propositions of Amoraim. All such non-Mishnaic tannaitic sources are termed baraitot
Baraita
Baraita designates a tradition in the Jewish oral law not incorporated in the Mishnah. "Baraita" thus refers to teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishnah...

 (lit. outside material, "Works external to the Mishnah"; sing. ).
The baraitot cited in the Gemara are often quotations from the Tosefta
Tosefta
The Tosefta is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.-Overview:...

 (a tannaitic compendium of halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 parallel to the Mishnah) and the Halakhic Midrashim (specifically Mekhilta, Sifra and Sifre). Some baraitot, however, are known only through traditions cited in the Gemara, and are not part of any other collection.

Gemara



In the three centuries following the redaction of the Mishnah, rabbis throughout Palestine and Babylonia analyzed, debated, and discussed that work. These discussions form the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 . Gemara means “completion” (from the Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

  : "to complete") or "learning" ( from the Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

: "to study"). The Gemara mainly focuses on elucidating and elaborating the opinions of the Tannaim. The rabbis of the Gemara are known as (sing. ).

Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements used in different approaches to Biblical exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 in rabbinic Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 (or - simpler - interpretation of text in Torah study) exchanges between two (frequently anonymous and sometimes metaphorical) disputants, termed the (questioner) and (answerer). Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the "Talmud" as a text.

Halakha and Aggadah


The Talmud is a wide-ranging document that touches on a great many subjects. Traditionally Talmudic statements are classified into two broad categories, Halakhic and Aggadic statements. Halakhic statements directly relate to questions of Jewish law and practice (Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

). Aggadic statements are not legally related, but rather are exegetical, homiletical, ethical, or historical in nature. See Aggadah
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

 for further discussion.

Minor tractates



In addition to the six Orders, the Talmud contains a series of short treatises of a later date, usually printed at the end of Seder Nezikin. These are not divided into Mishnah and Gemara.

Bavli and Yerushalmi


The process of "Gemara" proceeded in what were then the two major centers of Jewish scholarship, the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

 and Babylonia
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Talmud Yerushalmi. It was compiled in the fourth century in Israel. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500 C.E., although it continued to be edited later. The word "Talmud", when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud.

Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud)




The Jerusalem Talmud, also known as the Palestinian Talmud, was one of the two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary that was transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in Israel. It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias, Sepphoris and Caesarea. It is written largely in a western Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 dialect that differs from its Babylonian counterpart.

This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah that was developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Academies in Israel (principally those of Tiberias and Caesaria.) Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel. Traditionally, this Talmud was thought to have been redacted in about the year 350 CE by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in the Land of Israel. It is traditionally known as the Talmud Yerushalmi ("Jerusalem Talmud"), but the name is a misnomer, as it was not prepared in Jerusalem. It has more accurately been called The Talmud of the Land of Israel.

Its final redaction probably belongs to the end of the fourth century, but the individual scholars who brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By this time Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 had become the state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and Jerusalem the holy city of Christendom. In 325 CE Constantine
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, the first Christian emperor, said "let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.” This policy made a Jew an outcast and pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud consequently lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended. The text is evidently incomplete and is not easy to follow. The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the fifth century has been associated with the decision of Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

 in 425 CE to suppress the Patriarchate
Nasi
Nāśī’ is a Hebrew title meaning prince in Biblical Hebrew, Prince in Mishnaic Hebrew, or president in Modern Hebrew.-Genesis and Ancient Israel:...

 and put an end to the practice of formal scholarly ordination
Semicha
, also , or is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism. In this sense it is the "transmission" of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment in Jewish law...

. Some modern scholars have questioned this connection: for more detail see Jerusalem Talmud: Place and date of composition.

Despite its incomplete state, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in Israel. It was also an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan
Kairouan
Kairouan , also known as Kirwan or al-Qayrawan , is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. Referred to as the Islamic Cultural Capital, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded by the Arabs around 670...

 school of Hananel ben Hushiel
Chananel Ben Chushiel
Chananel ben Chushiel or Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel , an eleventh-century Tunisian Rabbi and Talmudist, was a student of one of the last Geonim. He is best known for his commentary on the Talmud. Chananel is often referred to as Rabbeinu Chananel - Hebrew for "our teacher, Chananel" .-Biography:"Rabbeinu...

 and Nissim Gaon
Nissim Ben Jacob
Nissim ben Jacob , was a rabbi best known today for his Talmudic commentary ha-Mafteach, by which title he is also known.-Biography:Rav Nissim studied at the Kairouan yeshiva, initially under his father - Jacob ben Nissim who...

, with the result that opinions ultimately based on the Jerusalem Talmud found their way into both the Tosafot
Tosafot
The Tosafot or Tosafos are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes...

 and the Mishneh Torah
Mishneh Torah
The Mishneh Torah subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka is a code of Jewish religious law authored by Maimonides , one of history's foremost rabbis...

 of Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

.

There are traditions that hold that in the Messianic Age
Messianic Age
Messianic Age is a theological term referring to a future time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty. Many religions believe that there will be such an age; some refer to it as the "Kingdom of God" or the "World to Come".- Terminology: "messianic" and...

 the Jerusalem Talmud will have priority over the Babylonian. This may be interpreted as meaning that, following the restoration of the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

 and the line of ordained scholars
Semicha
, also , or is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism. In this sense it is the "transmission" of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment in Jewish law...

, the work will be completed and "out of Zion shall go the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem". Accordingly, following the formation of the modern State of Israel there is some interest in restoring Eretz Yisrael traditions. For example, Rabbi David Bar-Hayim
David Bar-Hayim
David Bar-Hayim is an Israeli rabbi who heads the Machon Shilo in Jerusalem, Israel.-Biography:...

 of the Makhon Shilo institute has issued a siddur
Siddur
A siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. This article discusses how some of these prayers evolved, and how the siddur, as it is known today has developed...

 reflecting Eretz Yisrael practice as found in the Jerusalem Talmud and other sources.

Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud)



The Talmud Bavli consists of documents compiled over the period of Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 (3rd to 5th centuries).
The most important of the Jewish centres in Mesopotamia during this time were Nehardea
Nehardea
Nehardea or Nehardeah was a city of Babylonia, situated at or near the junction of the Euphrates with the Nahr Malka , one of the earliest centers of Babylonian Judaism. As the seat of the exilarch it traced its origin back to King Jehoiachin...

, Nisibis
Nisibis
Nusaybin Nisêbîn) is a city in Mardin Province, Turkey, populated mainly by Kurds. Earlier Arameans, Arabs, and Armenians lived in the city. The population of the city is 83,832 as of 2009.-Ancient Period:...

, Mahoza, Pumbeditha and the Sura Academy
Sura Academy
Sura Academy was a Jewish Yeshiva Academy in Babylon, one of the two major Jewish academies, along with the Pumbedita Yeshiva Academy, from the beginning of the era of the Amora sages and up till the end of the era of the Geonim. The Yeshiva Academy was founded by the Amora Abba Arika , a disciple...

.

Talmud Bavli (the "Babylonian Talmud") comprises the Mishnah and the Babylonian Gemara, the latter representing the culmination of more than 300 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the Babylonian Academies
Talmudic Academies in Babylonia
The Talmudic Academies in Babylonia, also known as the Geonic Academies, were the center for Jewish scholarship and the development of Jewish law in Mesopotamia from roughly 589 CE to 1038 CE...

. The foundations of this process of analysis were laid by Rab
Abba Arika
Abba Arika was a Jewish Talmudist who lived in Babylonia, known as an amora of the 3rd century who established at Sura the systematic study of the rabbinic traditions, which, using the Mishnah as text, led to the compilation of the Talmud...

, a disciple of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. Tradition ascribes the compilation of the Babylonian Talmud in its present form to two Babylonian sages, Rav Ashi and Ravina
Ravina II
Ravina II was a Jewish Talmudist and rabbi, accounted as an Amora sage of the 8th generation of the Amora era. In 475 AD, he finished editing the Gemara portion of the Talmud Bavli, completing the work of his teacher Rav Ashi. He was also a nephew of Ravina I. He was a leader for 22 years....

. Rav Ashi was president of the Sura Academy from 375 to 427 CE. The work begun by Rav Ashi was completed by Ravina, who is traditionally regarded as the final Amoraic expounder. Accordingly, traditionalists argue that Ravina’s death in 499 CE is the latest possible date for the completion of the redaction of the Talmud. However, even on the most traditional view a few passages are regarded as the work of a group of rabbis who edited the Talmud after the end of the Amoraic period, known as the Saboraim
Savora
A Savora is a term used in Jewish law and history to signify one among the leading rabbis living from the end of period of the Amoraim to the beginning of the Geonim...

or Rabbanan Savora'e (meaning "reasoners" or "considerers").

The question as to when the Gemara was finally put into its present form is not settled among modern scholars. Some, like Louis Jacobs
Louis Jacobs
Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism...

, argue that the main body of the Gemara is not simple reportage of conversations, as it purports to be, but a highly elaborate structure contrived by the Saboraim, who must therefore be regarded as the real authors. On this view the text did not reach its final form until around 700. Some modern scholars use the term Stammaim (from the Hebrew Stam, meaning "closed", "vague" or "unattributed") for the authors of unattributed statements in the Gemara. (See eras within Jewish law.)

Comparison of style and subject matter


There are significant differences between the two Talmud compilations. The language of the Jerusalem Talmud is a western Aramaic dialect, which differs from the form of Aramaic in the Babylonian Talmud. The Talmud Yerushalmi is often fragmentary and difficult to read, even for experienced Talmudists. The redaction of the Talmud Bavli, on the other hand, is more careful and precise. The law as laid down in the two compilations is basically similar, except in emphasis and in minor details. The Jerusalem Talmud has not received much attention from commentators, and such traditional commentaries as exist are mostly concerned with comparing its teachings to those of the Talmud Bavli.

Neither the Jerusalem nor the Babylonian Talmud covers the entire Mishnah: for example, a Babylonian Gemara exists only for 37 out of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah. In particular:
  • The Jerusalem Talmud covers all the tractates of Zeraim, while the Babylonian Talmud covers only tractate Berachot. The reason might be that most laws from the Orders Zeraim (agricultural laws limited to the land of Israel) had little practical relevance in Babylonia and were therefore not included. The Jerusalem Talmud has a greater focus on the Land of Israel
    Land of Israel
    The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

     and the Torah
    Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

    's agricultural laws pertaining to the land because it was written in the Land of Israel where the laws applied.
  • The Jerusalem Talmud does not cover the Mishnaic order of Kodashim
    Kodashim
    Kodashim or Qodhashim is the fifth Order in the Mishna . Of the six Orders of the Mishna, it is the third longest...

    , which deals with sacrificial rites and laws pertaining to the Temple
    Second Temple
    The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

    , while the Babylonian Talmud does cover it. It is not clear why this is, as the laws were not directly applicable in either country following the Temple's 70 CE destruction.
  • In both Talmuds, only one tractate of Tohorot
    Tohorot
    Tohorot is the sixth order of the Mishnah . This order deals with the clean/unclean distinction and family purity. This is the longest of the orders in the Mishnah. There are 12 tractates:...

     (ritual purity laws) is examined, that of the menstrual laws, Niddah
    Niddah
    Niddah is a Hebrew term describing a woman during menstruation, or a woman who has menstruated and not yet completed the associated requirement of immersion in a mikveh ....

    .


The Babylonian Talmud records the opinions of the rabbis of Israel as well as of those of Babylonia, while the Jerusalem Talmud only seldom cites the Babylonian rabbis. The Babylonian version also contains the opinions of more generations because of its later date of completion. For both these reasons it is regarded as a more comprehensive collection of the opinions available. On the other hand, because of the centuries of redaction between the composition of the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, the opinions of early amoraim might be closer to their original form in the Jerusalem Talmud.

The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Yerushalmi. In the main, this is because the influence and prestige of the Jewish community of Israel steadily declined in contrast with the Babylonian community in the years after the redaction of the Talmud and continuing until the Gaonic era. Furthermore, the editing of the Babylonian Talmud was superior to that of the Jerusalem version, making it more accessible and readily usable. According to Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 (whose life began almost a hundred years after the end of the Gaonic era), all Jewish communities during the Gaonic era formally accepted the Babylonian Talmud as binding upon themselves, and modern Jewish practice follows the Babylonian Talmud's conclusions on all areas in which the two Talmuds conflict.

Language


Of the two main components of the Babylonian Talmud, the Mishnah is written in Mishnaic Hebrew and the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 is written, with a few exceptions, in a characteristic dialect of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
Jewish Babylonian Aramaic was the form of Middle Aramaic employed by Jewish writers in Babylonia between the 4th century and the 11th century CE. It is most commonly identified with the language of the Babylonian Talmud and of post-Talmudic literature, which are the most important cultural...

. This difference in language is due to the long time period elapsing between the two compilations. During the period of the Tannaim
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

 (rabbis cited in the Mishna), the spoken vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 of Jews in Judaea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 was a late form of Hebrew known as Rabbinic or Mishnaic Hebrew, whereas during the period of the Amoraim (rabbis cited in the Gemara), which began around 200 CE, the spoken vernacular was Aramaic. Hebrew continued to be used for the writing of religious texts, poetry, and so forth.

Since the Mishnah and all of the Baraita
Baraita
Baraita designates a tradition in the Jewish oral law not incorporated in the Mishnah. "Baraita" thus refers to teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishnah...

s and verses of Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 quoted and embedded in the Gemara are in Hebrew, Hebrew constitutes somewhat less than half of the text of the Talmud. The rest, including the discussions of the Amoraim and the overall framework of the Gemara, is in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
Jewish Babylonian Aramaic was the form of Middle Aramaic employed by Jewish writers in Babylonia between the 4th century and the 11th century CE. It is most commonly identified with the language of the Babylonian Talmud and of post-Talmudic literature, which are the most important cultural...

. There are occasional quotations from older works in other dialects of Aramaic, such as Megillat Taanit
Megillat Taanit
Megillat Taanit is chronicle which enumerates 35 eventful days on which the Jewish nation either performed glorious deeds or witnessed joyful events. These days were celebrated as feast-days. Public mourning was forbidden on 14 of them, and public fasting on all...

.

Bomberg Talmud 1523


The first complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud was printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg was an early printer of Hebrew language books. A Christian, born in Antwerp, he was primarily active in Venice between 1516 and 1549....

 1520-23. In addition to the Mishnah and Gemara, Bomberg's edition contained the commentaries of Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 and Tosafot
Tosafot
The Tosafot or Tosafos are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes...

. Almost all printings since Bomberg have followed the same pagination. Bomberg's edition was considered relatively free of censorship.

Benveniste Talmud 1645


Following Ambrosius Frobenius
Ambrosius Frobenius
Ambrosius Froben or in Latin Frobenius was a Basel printer, and publisher of an almost complete Hebrew Talmud, 1578–1580. He was son of Hieronymus Frobenius , and grandson of Johann Froben the Swiss scholar and printer....

's publication of most of the Talmud in installments in Basel, Immanuel Benveniste
Immanuel Benveniste
Immanuel Benveniste was an Italian Jewish printer in Amsterdam who printed many Hebrew works including an edition of the Talmud from 1644-48.-References:...

 published the whole Talmud in installments in Amsterdam 1644-1648, Though according to Raphael Rabbinovicz the Benveniste Talmud may have been based on the Lublin Talmud and included many of the censors' errors.

Vilna Talmud, 1835


The edition of the Talmud published by the Szapira brothers in Slavuta
Slavuta
Slavuta is a city in the Khmelnytskyi Oblast of western Ukraine, located on the Horyn River. Serving as the administrative center of the Slavutsky Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast, and is located approximately 80 km from the oblast capital,...

 in 1795 is particularly prized by many hasidic rebbe
Rebbe
Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

s. In 1835, after an acrimonious dispute with the Szapira family, a new edition of the Talmud was printed by Menachem Romm of Vilna. Known as the Vilna Shas
Vilna Edition Shas
The Vilna Edition of the Talmud, printed in Vilna , Lithuania, is by far the most common printed edition of the Talmud still in use today as the basic text for Torah study in yeshivas and by all scholars of Judaism....

, this edition (and later ones printed by his widow and sons) has been used in the production of more recent editions of Talmud Bavli.

A page number in the Talmud refers to a double-sided page, known as a daf; each daf has two amudim labeled and , sides A and B (Recto
Recto
The recto and verso are respectively the "front" and "back" sides of a leaf of paper in a bound item such as a codex, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet. In languages written from left to right the recto is the right-hand page and the verso the left-hand page...

 and Verso). The referencing by daf is relatively recent and dates from the early Talmud printings of the 17th century. Earlier rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 generally only refers to the tractate or chapters within a tractate. Nowadays, reference is made in format [Tractate daf a/b] (e.g. Berachot 23b). In the Vilna edition of the Talmud there are 5,894 folio pages.

The text of the Vilna editions is considered by scholars not to be uniformly reliable, and there have been a number of attempts to collate textual variants.
  1. In the early twentieth century Nathan Rabinowitz published a series of volumes called Dikduke Soferim showing textual variants from early manuscripts and printings.
  2. In 1960 work started on a new edition under the name of Gemara Shelemah (complete Gemara) under the editorship of Menachem Mendel Kasher
    Menachem Mendel Kasher
    Menachem Mendel Kasher was a Polish-born Israeli rabbi and prolific author who authored an encyclopedic work on the Torah entitled Torah Sheleimah.-Early life:...

    : only the volume on the first part of tractate Pesachim appeared before the project was interrupted by his death. This edition contained a comprehensive set of textual variants and a few selected commentaries.
  3. Some thirteen volumes have been published by the Institute for the Complete Israeli Talmud (a division of Mechon ha-Rav Herzog), on lines similar to Rabinowitz, containing the text and a comprehensive set of textual variants (from manuscripts, early prints and citations in secondary literature) but no commentaries.

Goldschmidt Talmud 1897-1909, and German translation


Lazarus Goldschmidt
Lazarus Goldschmidt
Lazarus Goldschmidt was translator of the Babylonian Talmud into German, and the first to translate the entire Babylonian Talmud. His edition appeared from Leipzig 1897 to completion in London 1935.-References:...

 published an edition from the "uncensored text" of the Babylonian Talmud with a German translation in 9 vols. (commenced Leipzig, 1897-1909, edition completed, following emigration to England in 1933, by 1936).

Critical editions


There have been critical editions of particular tractates (e.g. Henry Malter
Henry Malter
Henry Malter was an American rabbi and scholar.- Life :He was educated at the Zabno elementary school, and at the universities of Berlin and Heidelberg...

's edition of Ta'anit), but there is no modern critical edition of the whole Talmud. Modern editions such as those of the Oz ve-Hadar Institute correct misprints and restore passages that in earlier editions were modified or excised by censorship but do not attempt a comprehensive account of textual variants. One edition, by Rabbi Yosef Amar, represents the Yemenite tradition, and takes the form of a photostatic reproduction of a Vilna-based print to which Yemenite vocalization and textual variants have been added by hand, together with printed introductory material. Collations of the Yemenite manuscripts of some tractates have been published by Columbia University.

Steinsaltz, Schottenstein, Metivta and Ehrman Talmuds


There have been four editions aimed at bringing the Talmud to a wider audience.

One is the Steinsaltz Talmud
The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition
The Steinsaltz Edition is a translation of the Babylonian Talmud, that has a literal direct translation of the Talmud along with halacha summaries and commentaries by Torah Scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The translation started in 1965 and was completed in late 2010...

, which contains the text with modern punctuation and a detailed translation and explanation in modern Hebrew: there have since been versions in other languages. A second is the Schottenstein Talmud, published by ArtScroll
ArtScroll
ArtScroll is an imprint of translations, books and commentaries from an Orthodox Jewish perspective published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd., a publishing company based in Brooklyn, New York...

, which contains a translation into English.

A third is the Metivta edition, published by the Oz ve-Hadar Institute: this contains the full text in the same format as the Vilna-based editions, with a full explanation in modern Hebrew on facing pages as well as an improved version of the traditional commentaries.

A previous project of the same kind, called Talmud El Am, "Talmud to the people", was published in Israel in 1960s-80s. The Talmud El Am contains Hebrew text, English translation and commentary by Rabbi Dr A.Ehrman
Arnost Zvi Ehrman
Rabbi Dr Arnost Zvi Ehrman is best known for his work as editor of the Talmud El Am . In addition, his contribution on Jewish law is evident in a number of learned articles and conference papers on the subject...

, with short 'realia', marginal notes, often illustrated, written by experts in the field for the entire Tractate of Berakhot, 2 chapters of Bava Mezia and halachic section of Qiddushin, chapter 1.

Talmud scholarship


From the time of its completion, the Talmud became integral to Jewish scholarship. This section outlines some of the major areas of Talmudic study.

Geonim


The earliest Talmud commentaries were written by the Geonim
Geonim
Geonim were the presidents of the two great Babylonian, Talmudic Academies of Sura and Pumbedita, in the Abbasid Caliphate, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community world wide in the early medieval era, in contrast to the Resh Galuta who wielded secular authority...

 (approximately 800-1000, C.E.) in Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

. Although some direct commentaries on particular treatises are extant, our main knowledge of Gaonic era Talmud scholarship comes from statements embedded in Geonic responsa that shed light on Talmudic passages: these are arranged in the order of the Talmud in Levin's Otzar ha-Geonim. Also important are practical abridgments of Jewish law such as Yehudai Gaon
Yehudai Gaon
Yehudai ben Nahman was the head of the yeshiva in Sura from 757 to 761, during the Gaonic period of Judaism...

's Halachot Pesukot, Achai Gaon
Achai Gaon
Achai Gaon was a leading scholar in the period of the Geonim, an 8th-century Talmudist of high renown. He enjoys the distinction of being the first rabbinical author known to history after the close of the Talmud...

's Sheeltot and Simeon Kayyara
Simeon Kayyara
Simeon Kayyara was a Jewish-Babylonian halakist of the first half of the 9th century. The early identification of his surname with "Qahirah," the Arabic name of Cairo , was shown by J.L. Rapoport to be impossible. Neubauer's suggestion Simeon Kayyara (Hebrew: שמעון קיירא) was a ...

's Halachot Gedolot. After the death of Hai Gaon
Hai Gaon
Hai ben Sherira , was a medieval Jewish theologian, rabbi and scholar who served as Gaon of the Talmudic academy of Pumbedita during the early 11th century. He was born in 939 and died on March 28, 1038...

, however, the center of Talmud scholarship shifts to Europe and North Africa.

Halakhic and Aggadic extractions


One area of Talmudic scholarship developed out of the need to ascertain the Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. Early commentators such as Rabbi Isaac Alfasi
Isaac Alfasi
for other Al-Fasi's see Al-Fasi disambiguationIsaac ben Jacob Alfasi ha-Cohen - also known as the Alfasi or by his Hebrew acronym Rif , was a Talmudist and posek...

 (North Africa, 1013–1103) attempted to extract and determine the binding legal opinions from the vast corpus of the Talmud. Alfasi's work was highly influential, attracted several commentaries in its own right and later served as a basis for the creation of halakhic codes. Another influential medieval Halakhic work following the order of the Babylonian Talmud, and to some extent modelled on Alfasi, was "the Mordechai", a compilation by Mordechai ben Hillel (c. 1250 – 1298). A third such work was that of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (d. 1327). All these works and their commentaries are printed in the Vilna and many subsequent editions of the Talmud.

A fifteenth century Spanish rabbi, Jacob ibn Habib
Jacob ibn Habib
Jacob ben Solomon ibn Habib was a rabbi and talmudist born at Zamora, Spain. In his youth Ibn Ḥabib studied the Talmud under R...

 (d. 1516), composed the Ein Yaakov
Ein Yaakov
Ein Yaakov is a compilation of all the Aggadic material in the Talmud together with commentaries. Its introduction contains an account of the history of Talmudic censorship and the term Gemara...

. Ein Yaakov (or Ein Ya'aqob) extracts nearly all the Aggadic
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

 material from the Talmud. It was intended to familiarize the public with the ethical parts of the Talmud and to dispute many of the accusations surrounding its contents.

Commentaries



The Talmud is often cryptic and difficult to understand. Its language contains many Greek and Persian words that became obscure over time. A major area of Talmudic scholarship developed to explain these passages and words. Some early commentators such as Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz
Gershom ben Judah
Gershom ben Judah, best known as Rabbeinu Gershom and also commonly known to scholars of Judaism by the title Rabbeinu Gershom Me'Or Hagolah , was a famous Talmudist and Halakhist.Rashi of Troyes Gershom ben Judah, (c. 960 -1040? -1028?) best known as Rabbeinu Gershom (Hebrew: רבנו גרשום, "Our...

 (10th c.) and Rabbenu Ḥananel
Chananel Ben Chushiel
Chananel ben Chushiel or Ḥananel ben Ḥushiel , an eleventh-century Tunisian Rabbi and Talmudist, was a student of one of the last Geonim. He is best known for his commentary on the Talmud. Chananel is often referred to as Rabbeinu Chananel - Hebrew for "our teacher, Chananel" .-Biography:"Rabbeinu...

 (early 11th c.) produced running commentaries to various tractates. These commentaries could be read with the text of the Talmud and would help explain the meaning of the text. Another important work is the Sefer ha-Mafteaḥ (Book of the Key) by Nissim Gaon
Nissim Ben Jacob
Nissim ben Jacob , was a rabbi best known today for his Talmudic commentary ha-Mafteach, by which title he is also known.-Biography:Rav Nissim studied at the Kairouan yeshiva, initially under his father - Jacob ben Nissim who...

, which contains a preface explaining the different forms of Talmudic argumentation and then explains abbreviated passages in the Talmud by cross-referring to parallel passages where the same thought is expressed in full. Commentaries (ḥiddushim) by Joseph ibn Migash
Joseph ibn Migash
Joseph ben Meir ibn Megas or Megas was a Rabbi, Posek, and Rosh Yeshiva in Lucena. He is also known as Ri Megas , the Hebrew acronym for "Rabbi Joseph Megas".-Biography:...

 on two tractates, Bava Batra and Shevuot, based on Ḥananel and Alfasi, also survive, as does a compilation by Zechariah Agamati
Zechariah Agamati
Zechariah ben Judah Aghmati , also spelled Agamati, was a Rabbi and Talmudist who lived from 1120 CE - 1195 CE in Morocco.-Works:R. Zechariah's major contribution was the Sefer Ha-Ner, a supercommentary on the Halachot of Isaac Alfasi. The work is extremely significant from a historical perspective...

 called Sefer ha-Ner. Using a different style, Rabbi Nathan b. Jechiel
Nathan ben Jehiel
Nathan ben Jehiel of Rome was a Jewish Italian lexicographer. He was born in Rome not later than 1035 to one of the most notable Roman families of Jewish scholars. Owing to an error propagated by Azulai, he has been regarded as a scion of the house of De Pomis...

 created a lexicon called the Arukh in the 11th century to help translate difficult words.

By far the best known commentary on the Babylonian Talmud is that of Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 1040–1105). The commentary is comprehensive, covering almost the entire Talmud. Written as a running commentary, it provides a full explanation of the words, and explains the logical structure of each Talmudic passage. It is considered indispensable to students of the Talmud.

Medieval Ashkenazic Jewry produced another major commentary known as Tosafot
Tosafot
The Tosafot or Tosafos are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes...

 ("additions" or "supplements"). The Tosafot are collected commentaries by various medieval Ashkenazic Rabbis on the Talmud (known as Tosafists
Tosafists
Tosafists were medieval rabbis from France and Germany who are among those known in Talmudical scholarship as Rishonim who created critical and explanatory glosses on the Talmud. These were collectively called Tosafot , because they were additions on the commentary of Rashi...

). One of the main goals of the Tosafot is to explain and interpret contradictory statements in the Talmud. Unlike Rashi, the Tosafot is not a running commentary, but rather comments on selected matters. Often the explanations of Tosafot differ from those of Rashi.

Among the founders of the Tosafist school were Rabbi Jacob b. Meir (known as Rabbeinu Tam
Rabbeinu Tam
Rabbeinu Tam , born Jacob ben Meir, was one of the most renowned French Tosafists and a foremost halachic authority of his generation...

), who was a grandson of Rashi, and, Rabbenu Tam's nephew, Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel
Isaac ben Samuel
Isaac ben Samuel the Elder, also known as the Ri ha-Zaken, was a French tosafist and Biblical commentator. He flourished at Ramerupt and Dampierre, France in the twelfth century.- Biography :On his father's side Isaac was a grandson of R...

. The Tosafot commentaries were collected in different editions in the various schools. The benchmark collection of Tosafot for Northern France was that of R. Eliezer of Touques
Eliezer of Touques
Eliezer of Touques was a French tosafist, who lived at Touques in the second half of the thirteenth century. He abridged the tosafot of Samson of Sens, Samuel of Évreux, and many others, and added thereto marginal notes of his own, entitled "Gilyon Tosafot," or "Tosafot Gillayon"...

. The standard collection for Spain was that of Rabbenu Asher
Asher ben Jehiel
Asher ben Jehiel- Ashkenazi was an eminent rabbi and Talmudist best known for his abstract of Talmudic law. He is often referred to as Rabbenu Asher, “our Rabbi Asher” or by the Hebrew acronym for this title, the ROSH...

 ("Tosafot Harosh"). The Tosafot that are printed in the standard Vilna edition of the Talmud are an edited version compiled from the various medieval collections, predominantly that of Touques.

Over time, the approach of the Tosafists spread to other Jewish communities, particularly those in Spain. This led to the composition of many other commentaries in similar styles. Among these are the commentaries of Nachmanides (Ramban), Solomon ben Adret (Rashba), Yom Tov of Seville
Yom Tov Asevilli
Yom Tov ben Avraham Asevilli , commonly known by the Hebrew acronym as the Ritva, was a medieval rabbi and Halakhist famous for his commentary on the Talmud. The name "Asevilli" is a Hebrew rendering of the Arabic Isbili, meaning "from Seville".Asevilli was born in Seville, Spain in 1250 where he...

 (Ritva) and Nissim of Gerona
Nissim of Gerona
Nissim ben Reuven of Girona, Catalonia was an influential talmudist and authority on Jewish law. He was one of the last of the great Spanish medieval talmudic scholars. He is also known as the RaN .-Biography:The Ran was born in Barcelona, Catalonia...

 (Ran). A comprehensive anthology consisting of extracts from all these is the Shittah Mekubbetzet of Bezalel Ashkenazi
Bezalel Ashkenazi
Bezalel ben Abraham Ashkenazi was a rabbi and talmudist who lived in Ottoman Palestine during the 16th century. He is best known as the author of Shittah Mekubetzet, a commentary on the Talmud. He is very straightforward in his writings and occasionally offers textual amendments to the Talmud...

.

Other commentaries produced in Spain and Provence were not influenced by the Tosafist style. Two of the most significant of these are the Yad Ramah by Rabbi Meir Abulafia
Meir Abulafia
Meir ben Todros HaLevi Abulafia , also known as the Ramah , was a major Sephardic Talmudist and Halachic authority in medieval Spain...

 (uncle of the mystic Abraham Abulafia
Abraham Abulafia
Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia , the founder of the school of "Prophetic Kabbalah", was born in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1240, and died sometime after 1291, in Comino, Maltese archipelago.-Early life and travels:...

) and Bet Habechirah by Rabbi Menahem haMeiri
Menachem Meiri
Rabbi Menachem Meiri was a famous Catalan rabbi, Talmudist and Maimonidean.-Early life:Menachem Meiri was born in 1249 in Perpignan, which then formed part of the County of Barcelona...

, commonly referred to as "Meiri". While the Bet Habechirah is extant for all of Talmud, we only have the Yad Ramah for Tractates Sanhedrin, Baba Batra and Gittin. Like the commentaries of Ramban and the others, these are generally printed as independent works, though some Talmud editions include the Shittah Mekubbetzet in an abbreviated form.

In later centuries, focus partially shifted from direct Talmudic interpretation to the analysis of previously written Talmudic commentaries. These later commentaries include "Maharshal" (Solomon Luria
Solomon Luria
Solomon Luria was one of the great Ashkenazic poskim and teachers of his time. He is known for his work of Halakha, Yam Shel Shlomo, and his Talmudic commentary Chochmat Shlomo...

), "Maharam" (Meir Lublin
Meir Lublin
Meir Lublin or Meir ben Gedalia was a Polish rabbi, Talmudist and Posek . He is well known for his commentary on the Talmud, Meir Einai Chachamim. He is also referred to as Maharam .-Biography:Maharam was born in Lublin, Poland...

) and "Maharsha" (Samuel Edels), and are generally printed at the back of each tractate.

Another very useful study aid, found in almost all editions of the Talmud, consists of the marginal notes Torah Or, Ein Mishpat Ner Mitzvah and Masoret ha-Shas by the Italian rabbi Joshua Boaz, which give references respectively to the cited Biblical passages, to the relevant halachic codes and to related Talmudic passages.

Most editions of the Talmud include brief marginal notes by Akiva Eger
Akiva Eger
Rabbi Akiva Eger, or Akiva Güns, , was an outstanding Talmudic scholar, influential halakhic decisor and foremost leader of European Jewry during the early 19th century....

 under the name Gilyonot ha-Shas, and textual notes by Joel Sirkes and the Vilna Gaon
Vilna Gaon
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra or Elijah Ben Solomon, , was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries...

 (see Textual emendations below), on the page together with the text.

Pilpul


During the 15th and 16th centuries, a new intensive form of Talmud study arose. Complicated logical arguments were used to explain minor points of contradiction within the Talmud. The term pilpul
Pilpul
Pilpul refers to a method of studying the Talmud through intense textual analysis in attempts to either explain conceptual differences between various halakhic rulings or to reconcile any apparent contradictions presented from various readings of different texts.Pilpul has entered English as a...

(related to the Hebrew word pilpel, meaning "spice" or "pepper") was applied to this type of study. Usage of pilpul in this sense (that of "sharp analysis") harks back to the Talmudic era and refers to the intellectual sharpness this method demanded.

Pilpul practitioners posited that the Talmud could contain no redundancy or contradiction whatsoever. New categories and distinctions (hillukim) were therefore created, resolving seeming contradictions within the Talmud by novel logical means.

In the Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 world the founders of pilpul are generally considered to be Jacob Pollak
Jacob Pollak
Rabbi Jacob Pollak was the founder of the Polish method of halakic and Talmudic study known as the Pilpul; born about 1460; died at Lublin in 1541...

 (1460–1541) and Shalom Shachna
Shalom Shachna
Shalom Shachna was a rabbi and Talmudist, and Rosh Yeshiva of several great Acharonim including Moses Isserles, who was also his son-in-law.-Biography:...

. This kind of study reached its height in the 16th and 17th centuries when expertise in pilpulistic analysis was considered an art form and became a goal in and of itself within the yeshivot of Poland and Lithuania. But the popular new method of Talmud study was not without critics; already in the 15th century, the ethical tract Orhot Zaddikim ("Paths of the Righteous" in Hebrew) criticized pilpul for an overemphasis on intellectual acuity. Many 16th- and 17th-century rabbis were also critical of pilpul. Among them may be noted Judah Loew ben Bezalel
Judah Loew ben Bezalel
Judah Loew ben Bezalel, alt. Loewe, Löwe, or Levai, widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply The MaHaRaL, the Hebrew acronym of "Moreinu ha-Rav Loew," was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as a leading rabbi in the city of...

 (the Maharal of Prague), Isaiah Horowitz
Isaiah Horowitz
Isaiah Horowitz, , also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh after the title of his best-known work, was a prominent Levite rabbi and mystic.-Biography:...

, and Yair Bacharach
Yair Bacharach
Yair Chayim Bacharach was a German rabbi, initially in Koblenz and remainder of his life in Worms and Metz...

.

By the 18th century, pilpul study waned. Other styles of learning such as that of the school of Elijah b. Solomon, the Vilna Gaon
Vilna Gaon
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra or Elijah Ben Solomon, , was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries...

, became popular. The term "pilpul" was increasingly applied derogatorily to novellae deemed casuistic and hairsplitting. Authors referred to their own commentaries as "al derekh ha-peshat" (by the simple method) to contrast them with pilpul.

Sephardic approaches


Among Sephardi
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 and Italian Jews
Italian Jews
Italian Jews can be used in a broad sense to mean all Jews living or with roots in Italy or in a narrower sense to mean the ancient community who use the Italian rite, as distinct from the communities dating from medieval or modern times who use the Sephardi or Ashkenazi rite.-Divisions:Italian...

 from the fifteenth century on, some authorities sought to apply the methods of Aristotelian logic, as reformulated by Averroes
Averroes
' , better known just as Ibn Rushd , and in European literature as Averroes , was a Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy,...

. This method was first recorded, though without explicit reference to Aristotle, by Isaac Campanton
Isaac Campanton
Isaac ben Jacob Canpanton was a Spanish rabbi. He lived in the period darkened by the outrages of Ferran Martinez and Vicente Ferrer, when intellectual life and Talmudic erudition were on the decline among the Jews of Spain. The historiographers Immanuel Aboab , Zacuto Isaac ben Jacob Canpanton...

 (d. Spain, 1463) in his Darkhei ha-Talmud ("The Ways of the Talmud"), and is also found in the works of Moses Chaim Luzzatto.

According to the present-day Sephardi scholar José Faur
José Faur
José Faur is a Sepharadi Hakham , teacher and scholar. He was a Rabbi in the Syrian-Jewish community in Brooklyn for many years and brought many people closer to Judaism and to the Tora...

, traditional Sephardic Talmud study could take place on any of three levels. The most basic level consists of literary analysis of the text without the help of commentaries, designed to bring out the tzurata di-shema'ta, i.e. the logical and narrative structure of the passage. The intermediate level, iyyun (concentration), consists of study with the help of commentaries such as Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 and the Tosafot
Tosafot
The Tosafot or Tosafos are medieval commentaries on the Talmud. They take the form of critical and explanatory glosses, printed, in almost all Talmud editions, on the outer margin and opposite Rashi's notes...

, similar to that practised among the Ashkenazim (historically Sephardim studied the
Tosefot ha-Rosh and the commentaries of Nahmanides in preference to the printed Tosafot). The highest level, halachah (law), consists of collating the opinions set out in the Talmud with those of the halachic codes such as the Mishneh Torah
Mishneh Torah
The Mishneh Torah subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka is a code of Jewish religious law authored by Maimonides , one of history's foremost rabbis...

 and the Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...

, so as to study the Talmud as a source of law. (A project called
Halacha Brura, founded by Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar...

, presents the Talmud and the halachic codes side by side in book form so as to enable this kind of collation.)

A somewhat similar distinction exists in the Ashkenazi yeshivah curriculum between
beki'ut (basic familiarization) and iyyun (in-depth study).

Today most Sephardic yeshivot follow Lithuanian approaches such as the Brisker method (see below): the traditional Sephardic methods are perpetuated informally by some individuals.

Brisker method


In the late nineteenth century another trend in Talmud study arose. Rabbi Hayyim Soloveitchik
Chaim Soloveitchik
Chaim Soloveitchik , also known as Reb Chaim Brisker, was a rabbi and Talmudic scholar credited as the founder of the popular Brisker approach to Talmudic study within Judaism. He was born in Volozhin in 1853, where his father, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik served as a lecturer in the famous...

 (1853–1918) of Brisk (Brest-Litovsk) developed and refined this style of study. Brisker method
Brisker method
The Brisker method, or Brisker derech, is a reductionistic approach to Talmud study innovated by Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk, as opposed to the traditional approach which was rather holistic. It has since become popular and spread to yeshivas around the world...

 involves a reductionistic analysis of rabbinic arguments within the Talmud or among the Rishonim
Rishonim
"Rishon" redirects here. For the preon model in particle physics, see Harari Rishon Model. For the Israeli town, see Rishon LeZion.Rishonim were the leading Rabbis and Poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh and...

, explaining the differing opinions by placing them within a categorical structure. The Brisker method is highly analytical and is often criticized as being a modern-day version of Pilpul. Nevertheless, the influence of the Brisker method is great. Most modern day Yeshivot study the Talmud using the Brisker method in some form. One feature of this method is the use of Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

' Mishneh Torah
Mishneh Torah
The Mishneh Torah subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka is a code of Jewish religious law authored by Maimonides , one of history's foremost rabbis...

as a guide to Talmudic interpretation, as distinct from its use as a source of practical halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

.

Rival methods were those of the Mir
Mir yeshiva (Poland)
The Mir yeshiva , commonly known as the Mirrer Yeshiva or The Mir, was a Haredi yeshiva located in the town of Mir, Russian Empire...

 and Telz yeshivas.

Critical method


As a result of emancipation from the ghetto (1789), Judaism underwent enormous upheaval and transformation during the nineteenth century, (see Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

, Haskala). Modern methods of textual and historical analysis were applied to the Talmud.

Textual emendations


The text of the Talmud has been subject to some level of critical scrutiny throughout its history.

Rabbinic tradition holds that the people cited in both Talmuds did not have a hand in its writings; rather, their teachings were edited into a rough form around 450 CE (Talmud Yerushalmi) and 550 CE (Talmud Bavli.) The text of the Bavli especially was not firmly fixed at that time.

The Gaonic responsa literature addresses this issue. Teshuvot Geonim Kadmonim, section 78, deals with mistaken biblical readings in the Talmud. This Gaonic responsum states:

...But you must examine carefully in every case when you feel uncertainty [as to the credibility of the text] - what is its source? Whether a scribal error? Or the superficiality of a second rate student who was not well versed?....after the manner of many mistakes found among those superficial second-rate students, and certainly among those rural memorizers who were not familiar with the biblical text. And since they erred in the first place....[they compounded the error.]

Teshuvot Geonim Kadmonim, Ed. Cassel, Berlin 1858, Photographic reprint Tel Aviv 1964, 23b.


In the early medieval era, Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 concluded that some statements in the extant text of the Talmud were insertions from later editors. On Shevuot 3b Rashi writes "A mistaken student wrote this in the margin of the Talmud, and copyists {subsequently} put it into the Gemara."

The emendations of R. Yoel Sirkis
Yoel Sirkis
Joel ben Samuel Sirkis also known as the Bach - an abbreviation of his magnum opus, Bayit Chadash - was a prominent Jewish posek and halakhist. He lived in central Europe and held rabbinical positions in Belz, Brest-Litovsk and Kraków from 1561-1640.-Biography:Sirkis was born in Lublin in 1561...

 and the Vilna Gaon
Vilna Gaon
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra or Elijah Ben Solomon, , was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries...

 are included in all standard editions of the Talmud, in the form of marginal glosses entitled Hagahot ha-Bach and Hagahot ha-Gra respectively; further emendations by R. Solomon Luria
Solomon Luria
Solomon Luria was one of the great Ashkenazic poskim and teachers of his time. He is known for his work of Halakha, Yam Shel Shlomo, and his Talmudic commentary Chochmat Shlomo...

 are set out in commentary form at the back of each tractate. The Vilna Gaon
Vilna Gaon
Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kramer, known as the Vilna Gaon or Elijah of Vilna and simply by his Hebrew acronym Gra or Elijah Ben Solomon, , was a Talmudist, halachist, kabbalist, and the foremost leader of non-hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries...

's emendations were often based on his quest for internal consistency in the text rather than on manuscript evidence; nevertheless many of the Gaon's emendations were later verified by textual critics, such as Solomon Schechter
Solomon Schechter
Solomon Schechter was a Moldavian-born Romanian and English rabbi, academic scholar, and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United Synagogue of America, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and architect of the American Conservative Jewish...

, who had Cairo Genizah texts with which to compare our standard editions.

In the nineteenth century R. Raphael Nathan Nota Rabinovicz published a multi-volume work entitled Dikdukei Soferim, showing textual variants from the Munich and other early manuscripts of the Talmud, and further variants are recorded in the Complete Israeli Talmud and Gemara Shelemah editions (see Printing, above).

Historical analysis, and higher textual criticism


Historical study of the Talmud can be used to investigate a variety of concerns. One can ask questions such as: Do a given section's sources date from its editor's lifetime? To what extent does a section have earlier or later sources? Are Talmudic disputes distinguishable along theological or communal lines? In what ways do different sections derive from different schools of thought within early Judaism? Can these early sources be identified, and if so, how? Investigation of questions such as these are known as higher textual criticism. (The term "criticism", it should be noted, is a technical term denoting academic study.)

Religious scholars still debate the precise method by which the text of the Talmuds reached their final form. Many believe that the text was continuously smoothed over by the savoraim.

In the 1870s and 1880s Rabbi Raphael Natan Nata Rabbinovitz engaged in historical study of Talmud Bavli in his Diqduqei Soferim. Since then many Orthodox rabbis have approved of his work, including Rabbis Shlomo Kluger, Yoseph Shaul Ha-Levi Natanzohn, Yaaqov Ettlinger, Isaac Elhanan Spektor
Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor
Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor was a Russian rabbi, Posek and Talmudic sage of the 19th century.- Early struggles :...

 and Shimon Sofer.

During the early 19th century, leaders of the newly evolving Reform movement, such as Abraham Geiger
Abraham Geiger
Abraham Geiger was a German rabbi and scholar who led the founding of Reform Judaism...

 and Samuel Holdheim
Samuel Holdheim
Samuel Holdheim was a German rabbi and author, and one of the more extreme leaders of the early Reform Movement in Judaism. A pioneer in modern Jewish homiletics, he was often at odds with the Orthodox community.- Early life :...

, subjected the Talmud to severe scrutiny as part of an effort to break with traditional rabbinic Judaism. They insisted that the Talmud was entirely a work of evolution and development. This view was rejected as both academically incorrect, and religiously incorrect, by those who would become known as the Orthodox movement
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

. Some Orthodox leaders such as Moses Sofer
Moses Sofer
Moses Schreiber, known to his own community and Jewish posterity as Moshe Sofer, also known by his main work Chasam Sofer, , , was one of the leading Orthodox rabbis of European Jewry in the first half of the nineteenth century...

 (the Chatam Sofer) became exquisitely sensitive to any change and rejected modern critical methods of Talmud study.

Some rabbis advocated a view of Talmudic study that they held to be in-between the Reformers and the Orthodox; these were the adherents of positive-historical Judaism, notably Nachman Krochmal
Nachman Krochmal
Nachman Kohen Krochmal was a Jewish Galician philosopher, theologian, and historian.-Biography:...

 and Zacharias Frankel. They described the Oral Torah as the result of a historical and exegetical process, emerging over time, through the application of authorized exegetical techniques, and more importantly, the subjective dispositions and personalities and current historical conditions, by learned sages. This was later developed more fully in the five volume work Dor Dor ve-Dorshav by Isaac Hirsch Weiss
Isaac Hirsch Weiss
Isaac Hirsch Weiss, also Eisik Hirsch Weiss was an Austrian Talmudist and historian of literature born at Velké Meziříčí, Moravia....

. (See Jay Harris Guiding the Perplexed in the Modern Age Ch. 5) Eventually their work came to be one of the formative parts of Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

.

Another aspect of this movement is reflected in Graetz
Heinrich Graetz
Heinrich Graetz was amongst the first historians to write a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from a Jewish perspective....

's History of the Jews. Graetz attempts to deduce the personality of the Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

 based on the laws or aggadot that they cite, and show that their personalities influenced the laws they expounded.

The leader of Orthodox Jewry in Germany Samson Raphael Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch was a German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism...

, while not rejecting the methods of scholarship in principle, hotly contested the findings of the Historical-Critical method. In a series of articles in his magazine Jeschurun (reprinted in Collected Writings Vol. 5) Hirsch reiterated the traditional view, and pointed out what he saw as numerous errors in the works of Graetz, Frankel and Geiger.

On the other hand, many of the nineteenth century's strongest critics of Reform, including strictly orthodox Rabbis such as Zvi Hirsch Chajes
Zvi Hirsch Chajes
Zvi Hirsch Chajes was one of the foremost Galician talmudic scholars. He is best known for his work Mevo Hatalmud , which serves both as commentary and introduction...

, utilized this new scientific method. The Orthodox Rabbinical seminary of Azriel Hildesheimer
Azriel Hildesheimer
Esriel Hildesheimer was a German rabbi and leader of Orthodox Judaism. He is regarded as a pioneering modernizer of Orthodox Judaism in Germany and as a founder of Modern Orthodox Judaism.-Biography:...

 was founded on the idea of creating a "harmony between Judaism and science". Another Orthodox pioneer of scientific Talmud study was David Zvi Hoffman
David Zvi Hoffman
David Zvi Hoffmann , was an Orthodox Rabbi and Torah Scholar. Born in Verbó in 1843, he attended various Yeshivas in his native town before he entered the college at Pressburg, from which he graduated in 1865...

.

Orthodox Rabbi Yaakov Hayim Sofer (great-grandson of the Kaf ha-Hayyim
Yaakov Chaim Sofer
Yaakov Chaim Sofer was an Orthodox rabbi, Kabbalist, Talmudist and posek . Sofer is author of the work of halakha titled Kaf Hachayim, by which title he is also known....

) notes that the text of the Gemara has had changes and additions, and contains statements not of the same origin as the original. See his Yehi Yosef (Jerusalem, 1991) p. 132 "This passage does not bear the signature of the editor of the Talmud!"

Orthodox scholar Daniel Sperber writes in "Legitimacy, of Necessity, of Scientific Disciplines" that many Orthodox sources have engaged in the historical (also called "scientific") study of the Talmud. As such, the divide today between Orthodoxy and Reform is not about whether the Talmud may be subjected to historical study, but rather about the theological and halakhic implications of such study.

Contemporary scholarship


Some trends within contemporary Talmud scholarship are listed below.
  • Orthodox Judaism maintains that the oral law was revealed, in some form, together with the written law. As such, some adherents, most notably Samson Raphael Hirsch
    Samson Raphael Hirsch
    Samson Raphael Hirsch was a German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism...

     and his followers, resisted any effort to apply historical methods that imputed specific motives to the authors of the Talmud. Other major figures in Orthodoxy, however, took issue with Hirsch on this matter, most prominently David Tzvi Hoffmann.
  • Some scholars hold that there has been extensive editorial reshaping of the stories and statements within the Talmud. Lacking outside confirming texts, they hold that we cannot confirm the origin or date of most statements and laws, and that we can say little for certain about their authorship. In this view, the questions above are impossible to answer. See, for example, the works of Louis Jacobs
    Louis Jacobs
    Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism...

     and Shaye J.D. Cohen
    Shaye J.D. Cohen
    Shaye J. D. Cohen is the Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations of Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient History, with distinction, from Columbia University in 1975...

    .
  • Some scholars hold that the Talmud has been extensively shaped by later editorial redaction, but that it contains sources we can identify and describe with some level of reliability. In this view, sources can be identified by tracing the history and analyzing the geographical regions of origin. See, for example, the works of Lee I. Levine
    Lee I. Levine
    Lee I. Levine is an American-born rabbi, archaeologist and historian of classical Judaism. He is a strong believer in the ability of the Jewish people and Judaism to adapt to local settings as a key to survival...

     and David Kraemer.
  • Some scholars hold that many or most the statements and events described in the Talmud usually occurred more or less as described, and that they can be used as serious sources of historical study. In this view, historians do their best to tease out later editorial additions (itself a very difficult task) and skeptically view accounts of miracles, leaving behind a reliable historical text. See, for example, the works of Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman , also known as Rabbi Shaul Lieberman or The Gra"sh , was a rabbi and a scholar of Talmud...

    , David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni is an American-Israeli rabbi, scholar in the domain of Jewish Sciences and professor of Talmud.-Biography:...

    , and Avraham Goldberg
    Avraham Goldberg
    Avraham Goldberg is an Israeli talmud scholar. Goldberg was born in Pittsburgh, and was educated at yeshivot Torah V'Daat and Chafetz Chaim, as well as at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied English literature. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1941...

    .
  • Modern academic study attempts to separate the different "strata" within the text, to try to interpret each level on its own, and to identify the correlations between parallel versions of the same tradition. In recent years, the work of R. David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni is an American-Israeli rabbi, scholar in the domain of Jewish Sciences and professor of Talmud.-Biography:...

     and Dr. Shamma Friedman have suggested a paradigm shift in the understanding of the Talmud (Encyclopaedia Judaica 2nd ed. entry "Talmud, Babylonian"). The traditional understanding was to view the Talmud as a unified homogeneous work. While other scholars had also treated the Talmud as a multi-layered work, Dr. Halivni's innovation (primarily in the second volume of his Mekorot u-Mesorot) was to differentiate between the Amoraic statements, which are generally brief Halachic decisions or inquiries, and the writings of the later "Stammaitic" (or Saboraic) authors, which are characterised by a much longer analysis that often consists of lengthy dialectic discussion. It has been noted that the Jerusalem Talmud is in fact very similar to the Babylonian Talmud minus Stammaitic activity (Encyclopaedia Judaica (2nd ed.), entry "Jerusalem Talmud"). Shamma Y. Friedman's Talmud Aruch on the sixth chapter of Bava Metzia (1996) is the first example of a complete analysis of a Talmudic text using this method. S. Wald has followed with works on Pesachim ch. 3 (2000) and Shabbat ch. 7 (2006).

Role in Judaism


The Talmud is the written record of an oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. It became the basis for many rabbinic legal codes and customs, of which the most important are the Mishneh Torah
Mishneh Torah
The Mishneh Torah subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka is a code of Jewish religious law authored by Maimonides , one of history's foremost rabbis...

 and the Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...

. Orthodox and, to a lesser extent, Conservative Judaism accept the Talmud as authoritative, while Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism do not. This section briefly outlines past and current movements and their view of the Talmud's role.

Sadducees


The Sadducees
Sadducees
The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Ancient Israel during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society...

 Jewish sect flourished during the Second Temple period. One of their main arguments with the Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

 (later known as Rabbinic Judaism) was over their rejection of an Oral Law, and their denying a resurrection after death.

Karaism


Another movement that rejected the oral law was Karaism
Karaite Judaism
Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh alone as its supreme legal authority in Halakhah, as well as in theology...

. It arose within two centuries of the completion of the Talmud. Karaism developed as a reaction against the Talmudic Judaism of Babylonia. The central concept of Karaism is the rejection of the Oral Torah
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

, as embodied in the Talmud, in favor of a strict adherence to the Written Law only. This opposes the fundamental Rabbinic
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

 concept that the Oral Law was given to Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 on Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

 together with the Written Law. Some later Karaites took a more moderate stance, allowing that some element of tradition (called sevel ha-yerushah, the burden of inheritance) is admissible in interpreting the Torah and that some authentic traditions are contained in the Mishnah and the Talmud, though these can never supersede the plain meaning of the Written Law.

Karaism has virtually disappeared, declining from a high of nearly 10% of the Jewish population to a current estimated 0.2%.

Reform Judaism


With the rise of Reform Judaism, during the nineteenth century, the authority of the Talmud was again questioned. The Talmud was seen by Reform Jews as a product of late antiquity having relevance merely as a historical document. In some cases a similar view was taken of the written law as well, while others appeared to adopt a neo-Karaite
Karaite Judaism
Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh alone as its supreme legal authority in Halakhah, as well as in theology...

 "back to the Bible" approach, though often with greater emphasis on the prophetic than on the legal books.

Present day

See also Halakha: How Halakha is viewed today and Halakha: The sources and process of Halakha.


Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 continues to stress the importance of Talmud study and it is a central component of Yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 curriculum, in particular for those training to be Rabbis. This is so even though Halakha is generally studied from the medieval codes and not directly from the Talmud. Talmudic study amongst the laity is widespread in Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

, with daily or weekly Talmud study particularly common in Haredi Judaism
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 and with Talmud study a central part of the curriculum in Orthodox Yeshivas and day schools. The regular study of Talmud among laymen has been popularized by the Daf Yomi
Daf Yomi
Daf Yomi "page [of the] day" or "daily folio") is a daily regimen undertaken to study the Babylonian Talmud one folio each day...

, a daily course of Talmud study initiated by Rabbi Meir Shapiro
Meir Shapiro
Yehuda Meir Shapiro , , was a prominent Hasidic rabbi and rosh yeshiva, also known as the Lubliner Rav...

 in 1923; its 12th cycle of study began on March 2, 2005.

Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 similarly emphasizes the study of Talmud within its religious and rabbinic education. Generally, however, the Talmud is studied as a historical source-text for Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. The Conservative approach to legal decision-making emphasizes placing classic texts and prior decisions in historical and cultural context, and examining the historical development of Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. This approach has resulted in greater practical flexibility than that of the Orthodox. Talmud study is part of the curriculum of Conservative parochial education at many Conservative day schools
Solomon Schechter Day School Association
The Solomon Schechter Day School Association is the organization of Jewish day school that identify with Conservative Judaism. The association provides guidance and resources for its member schools in the United States and Canada...

 and an increase in Conservative day school enrollments has resulted in an increase in Talmud study as part of Conservative Jewish education among a minority of Conservative Jews. See also: The Conservative Jewish view of the Halakha.

Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 does not emphasize the study of Talmud to the same degree in their Hebrew schools, but they do teach it in their rabbinical seminaries; the world view of liberal Judaism rejects the idea of binding Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, and uses the Talmud as a source of inspiration and moral instruction. Ownership and reading of the Talmud is not widespread among Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 and Reconstructionist
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

 Jews, who usually place more emphasis on the study of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

.

Attacks


Historian Michael Levi Rodkinson
Michael Levi Rodkinson
Michael Levi Rodkinson was an American-Jewish publisher, known for being the first to translate the Babylonian Talmud to English.Born with the surname "Frumkin", Michael Levi was the son of Alexander Sender Frumkin and half brother of Israel Dov Bär Frumkin, the editor of The Havatzeleth newspaper...

, in his book The History of the Talmud, wrote that detractors of the Talmud, both during and subsequent to its formation, "have varied in their character, objects and actions" and the book documents a number of critics and persecutors, including Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin of La Rochelle, a Jewish convert to Christianity in early thirteenth-century Paris, is known for his role in the 1240 Disputation of Paris, which resulted in a decree to publicly burn all available manuscripts of the Talmud....

, Johannes Pfefferkorn
Johannes Pfefferkorn
Johannes Pfefferkorn was a Jewish-born, German Catholic theologian and writer who converted from Judaism. Pfefferkorn actively preached against the Jews and attempted to destroy copies of the Talmud, and engaged in a long running pamphleteering battle with Johann Reuchlin.-Early life:Born a Jew,...

, Johann Andreas Eisenmenger
Johann Andreas Eisenmenger
Johann Andreas Eisenmenger was a German Orientalist, now best known as the author of the anti-Semitic polemic, Entdecktes Judenthum .-Studies rabbinical literature:...

, the Frankists, and August Rohling
August Rohling
August Rohling was a German Catholic theologian, student of anti-Semitic texts, and polemical author....

. Many attacks come from antisemitic sources, particularly Christian antisemites such as Justinas Pranaitis
Justinas Pranaitis
The Reverend Justinas Bonaventura Pranaitis or Pronaitis was a Lithuanian Catholic priest, Russian Master of Theology and Professor of the Hebrew Language at the Imperial Ecclesiastical Academy of the Roman Catholic Church in Saint Petersburg, Russia...

, Elizabeth Dilling
Elizabeth Dilling
Elizabeth Dilling Stokes was an American anti-communist and later antisemitic social activist, as well as an anti-war campaigner and writer in the 1930s and '40s. She stood trial for sedition in what is now called the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.The author of four political books, Dilling...

 or David Duke
David Duke
David Ernest Duke is a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan an American activist and writer, and former Republican Louisiana State Representative. He was also a former candidate in the Republican presidential primaries in 1992, and in the Democratic presidential primaries in...

. Criticisms also arise from Muslim sources, Jewish sources, and atheists and skeptics. Accusations against the Talmud include alleged:
  1. Anti-Christian or anti-Gentile content
  2. Absurd or sexually immoral content
  3. Falsification of scripture


Many of these criticisms, particularly those by antisemitic critics, are based on quotations that are taken out of context, and thus misrepresent the meaning of the Talmud's text. Sometimes the misrepresntation is deliberate, and other times simply due to an inability to grasp the subtle and sometimes confusing narratives in the Talmud. Some quotations provided by antisemitic critics deliberately omit passages in order to generate quotes that appear to be offensive or insulting.

Middle ages


The history of the Talmud reflects in part the history of Judaism persisting in a world of hostility and persecution. Almost at the very time that the Babylonian savoraim put the finishing touches to the redaction of the Talmud, the emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 Justinian
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 issued his edict against deuterosis (doubling, repetition) of the Hebrew Bible
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

. It is disputed whether, in this context, deuterosis means "Mishnah" or "Targum
Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

": in patristic literature, the word is used in both senses. This edict, dictated by Christian zeal and anti-Jewish feeling, was the prelude to attacks on the Talmud, conceived in the same spirit, and beginning in the thirteenth century in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where Talmudic study was then flourishing.

The charge against the Talmud brought by the Christian convert Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin of La Rochelle, a Jewish convert to Christianity in early thirteenth-century Paris, is known for his role in the 1240 Disputation of Paris, which resulted in a decree to publicly burn all available manuscripts of the Talmud....

 led to the first public disputation between Jews and Christians and to the first burning of copies of the Talmud in Paris in 1242.
The fire of copies of the Talmud continued

The Talmud was likewise the subject of the Disputation of Barcelona
Disputation of Barcelona
The Disputation of Barcelona was held at the royal palace of King James I of Aragon in the presence of the King, his court, and many prominent ecclesiastical dignitaries and knights, between Dominican Friar Pablo Christiani, a convert from Judaism to Christianity, and Rabbi Nachmanides The...

 in 1263 between Nahmanides
Nahmanides
Nahmanides, also known as Rabbi Moses ben Naḥman Girondi, Bonastruc ça Porta and by his acronym Ramban, , was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Catalan rabbi, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator.-Name:"Nahmanides" is a Greek-influenced formation meaning "son of Naḥman"...

 (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) and Christian convert, Pablo Christiani
Pablo Christiani
Pablo Christiani , a figure of the thirteenth century, was born to a pious Jewish family, with the name Saul. He became a Christian convert and Dominican friar....

. This same Pablo Christiani made an attack on the Talmud that resulted in a papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 against the Talmud and in the first censorship, which was undertaken at Barcelona by a commission of Dominicans
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

, who ordered the cancellation of passages deemed objectionable from a Christian perspective (1264).

At the Disputation of Tortosa
Disputation of Tortosa
The Disputation of Tortosa, one of the famous disputations between Jews and Christians of the Middle Ages, was held in the years 1413–1414 in the city of Tortosa, Spain....

 in 1413, Geronimo de Santa Fé brought forward a number of accusations, including the fateful assertion that the condemnations of "pagans," "heathens," and "apostates" found in the Talmud were in reality veiled references to Christians. These assertion were denied by the Jewish community and its scholars, who contended that Judaic thought made a sharp distinction between those classified as heathen or pagan, being polytheistic, and those who acknowledge one true God (such as the Christians) even while worshipping the true monotheistic God incorrectly. Thus, Jews viewed Christians as misguided and in error, but not among the "heathens" or "pagans" discussed in the Talmud.

Both Pablo Christiani and Geronimo de Santa Fé, in addition to criticizing the Talmud, also regarded it as a source of authentic traditions, some of which could be used as arguments in favour of Christianity. Examples of such traditions were statements that the Messiah was born around the time of the destruction of the Temple, and that the Messiah sat at the right hand of God.

In 1415, Pope Benedict XIII
Antipope Benedict XIII
Benedict XIII, born Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor , known as in Spanish, was an Aragonese nobleman, who is officially considered by the Catholic Church to be an antipope....

, who had convened the Tortosa disputation, issued a bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the destruction of all copies of it. Far more important were the charges made in the early part of the sixteenth century by the convert Johannes Pfefferkorn
Johannes Pfefferkorn
Johannes Pfefferkorn was a Jewish-born, German Catholic theologian and writer who converted from Judaism. Pfefferkorn actively preached against the Jews and attempted to destroy copies of the Talmud, and engaged in a long running pamphleteering battle with Johann Reuchlin.-Early life:Born a Jew,...

, the agent of the Dominicans. The result of these accusations was a struggle in which the emperor and the pope acted as judges, the advocate of the Jews being Johann Reuchlin
Johann Reuchlin
Johann Reuchlin was a German humanist and a scholar of Greek and Hebrew. For much of his life, he was the real centre of all Greek and Hebrew teaching in Germany.-Early life:...

, who was opposed by the obscurantists; and this controversy, which was carried on for the most part by means of pamphlets, became in the eyes of some a precursor of the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

.

An unexpected result of this affair was the complete printed edition of the Babylonian Talmud issued in 1520 by Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg
Daniel Bomberg was an early printer of Hebrew language books. A Christian, born in Antwerp, he was primarily active in Venice between 1516 and 1549....

 at Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, under the protection of a papal privilege. Three years later, in 1523, Bomberg published the first edition of the Jerusalem Talmud. After thirty years the Vatican, which had first permitted the Talmud to appear in print, undertook a campaign of destruction against it. On the New Year, Rosh Hashanah (September 9, 1553) the copies of the Talmud confiscated in compliance with a decree of the Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 were burned at Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, in Campo dei Fiori (auto de fé). Other burnings took place in other Italian cities, such as the one instigated by Joshua dei Cantori
Joshua dei Cantori
Joshua dei Cantori was a converted Italian Jew who attacked the Talmud at Cremona in 1559. According to Moritz Steinschneider, he belonged to the family Cantarini...

 at Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

 in 1559. Censorship of the Talmud and other Hebrew works was introduced by a papal bull issued in 1554; five years later the Talmud was included in the first Index Expurgatorius; and Pope Pius IV
Pope Pius IV
Pope Pius IV , born Giovanni Angelo Medici, was Pope from 1559 to 1565. He is notable for presiding over the culmination of the Council of Trent.-Biography:...

 commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre Mishnah) instead of "Talmud" dates from this time.

The first edition of the expurgated Talmud, on which most subsequent editions were based, appeared at Basel
Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

 (1578–1581) with the omission of the entire treatise of 'Abodah Zarah and of passages considered inimical to Christianity, together with modifications of certain phrases. A fresh attack on the Talmud was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII , born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally-accepted civil calendar to this date.-Youth:He was born the son of Cristoforo Boncompagni and wife Angela...

 (1575–85), and in 1593 Clement VIII
Pope Clement VIII
Pope Clement VIII , born Ippolito Aldobrandini, was Pope from 30 January 1592 to 3 March 1605.-Cardinal:...

 renewed the old interdiction against reading or owning it. The increasing study of the Talmud in Poland led to the issue of a complete edition (Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, 1602-5), with a restoration of the original text; an edition containing, so far as known, only two treatises had previously been published at Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

 (1559–76). In 1707 some copies of the Talmud were confiscated in the province of Brandenburg
Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

, but were restored to their owners by command of Frederick, the first king of Prussia. A further attack on the Talmud took place in Poland (in what is now Ukrainian territory) in 1757, when Bishop Dembowski, at the instigation of the Frankists, convened a public disputation at Kamianets-Podilskyi
Kamianets-Podilskyi
Kamyanets-Podilsky or Kamienets-Podolsky is a city located on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine, to the north-east of Chernivtsi...

, and ordered all copies of the work found in his bishopric to be confiscated and burned.

The external history of the Talmud includes also the literary attacks made upon it by Christian theologians after the Reformation, since these onslaughts on Judaism were directed primarily against that work, the leading example being Eisenmenger
Johann Andreas Eisenmenger
Johann Andreas Eisenmenger was a German Orientalist, now best known as the author of the anti-Semitic polemic, Entdecktes Judenthum .-Studies rabbinical literature:...

's Entdecktes Judenthum (Judaism Unmasked) (1700).
In contrast, the Talmud was a subject of rather more sympathetic study by many Christian theologians, jurists and Orientalists from the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 on, including Johann Reuchlin
Johann Reuchlin
Johann Reuchlin was a German humanist and a scholar of Greek and Hebrew. For much of his life, he was the real centre of all Greek and Hebrew teaching in Germany.-Early life:...

, John Selden
John Selden
John Selden was an English jurist and a scholar of England's ancient laws and constitution and scholar of Jewish law...

, John Lightfoot
John Lightfoot
John Lightfoot was an English churchman, rabbinical scholar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.-Life:...

 and Johannes Buxtorf
Johannes Buxtorf
Johannes Buxtorf was a celebrated Hebraist, member of a family of Orientalists; professor of Hebrew for thirty-nine years at Basel and was known by the title, "Master of the Rabbis". His massive tome, De Synagoga Judaica Johannes Buxtorf (December 25, 1564 – September 13, 1629) was a...

 father and son
Johannes Buxtorf II
Johannes Buxtorf the Younger, was son of the scholar Johannes Buxtorf, and a Protestant Christian Hebraist.-Life:...

.

Nineteenth century and after


The Vilna edition of the Talmud
Vilna Edition Shas
The Vilna Edition of the Talmud, printed in Vilna , Lithuania, is by far the most common printed edition of the Talmud still in use today as the basic text for Torah study in yeshivas and by all scholars of Judaism....

 was subject to Russian government censorship, or self-censorship to meet government expectations, though this was less severe than some previous attempts: the title "Talmud" was retained and the tractate Avodah Zarah was included. Most modern editions are either copies of or closely based on the Vilna edition, and therefore still omit most of the disputed passages. Although they were not available for many generations, the removed sections of the Talmud, Rashi, Tosafot and Maharsha were preserved through rare printings of lists of errata, known as Chesronos Hashas ("Omissions of the Talmud"). Many of these censored portions were recovered ironically enough from uncensored manuscripts in the Vatican Library. Some modern editions of the Talmud contain some or all of this material, either at the back of the book, in the margin, or in its original location in the text.

In 1830, during a debate in the French Chamber of Peers regarding state recognition of the Jewish faith, Admiral Verhuell declared himself unable to forgive the Jews whom he had met during his travels throughout the world either for their refusal to recognize Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 or for their possession of the Talmud. In the same year the Abbé Chiarini published at Paris a voluminous work entitled "Théorie du Judaïsme," in which he announced a translation of the Talmud, advocating for the first time a version that would make the work generally accessible, and thus serve for attacks on Judaism. In a like spirit nineteenth century anti-Semitic agitators often urged that a translation be made; and this demand was even brought before legislative bodies, as in Vienna. The Talmud and the "Talmud Jew" thus became objects of anti-Semitic attacks, for example in August Rohling
August Rohling
August Rohling was a German Catholic theologian, student of anti-Semitic texts, and polemical author....

's Der Talmudjude (1871), although, on the other hand, they were defended by many Christian students of the Talmud, notably Hermann Strack
Hermann Strack
Hermann Leberecht Strack was a German Protestant theologian and Orientalist; born at Berlin May 6, 1848. Since 1877 he was assistant professor of Old Testament exegesis and Semitic languages at the University of Berlin. He was the foremost Christian authority in Germany on Talmudic and rabbinic...

.

Further attacks from anti-Semitic sources include Justinas Pranaitis
Justinas Pranaitis
The Reverend Justinas Bonaventura Pranaitis or Pronaitis was a Lithuanian Catholic priest, Russian Master of Theology and Professor of the Hebrew Language at the Imperial Ecclesiastical Academy of the Roman Catholic Church in Saint Petersburg, Russia...

' The Talmud Unmasked
The Talmud Unmasked
The Talmud unmasked is book written in 1892 by Justinas Bonaventure Pranaitis . The book, generally regarded as antisemitic, is a collection of quotes from the Talmud and Zohar which purports to demonstrate that Judaism despises non-Jews and promotes the murder of non-Jews...

: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians
(1892) and Elizabeth Dilling
Elizabeth Dilling
Elizabeth Dilling Stokes was an American anti-communist and later antisemitic social activist, as well as an anti-war campaigner and writer in the 1930s and '40s. She stood trial for sedition in what is now called the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.The author of four political books, Dilling...

's The Plot against Christianity (1964). The criticisms of the Talmud in many modern pamphlets and websites are often recognisable as verbatim quotes from one or other of these.

Contemporary accusations


Criticism of the Talmud is widespread, in great part through the Internet.

The Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

's report on this topic states that antisemitic critics of the Talmud frequently use erroneous translations or selective quotations in order to distort the meaning of the Talmud's text, and sometimes fabricate passages. In addition, the attackers rarely provide full context of the quotations, and fail to provide contextual information about the culture that the Talmud was composed in, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Rabbi Gil Student
Gil Student
Gil Ofer Student is the Managing Editor of Orthodox Union Press, and an Orthodox Jewish blogger who writes about the interface between different facets of Judaism, specifically Orthodox Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism, including modern, controversial topics...

, a prolific Internet author, states that many antisemitic attacks on the Talmud are merely recycling discredited material that originated in the thirteenth century disputations, particularly from Raymond Marti and Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin
Nicholas Donin of La Rochelle, a Jewish convert to Christianity in early thirteenth-century Paris, is known for his role in the 1240 Disputation of Paris, which resulted in a decree to publicly burn all available manuscripts of the Talmud....

, and that the criticisms are based on quotations taken out of context, and are sometimes entirely fabricated.

Talmud Bavli



There are five contemporary translations of the Talmud into English:
  • The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition
    The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition
    The Steinsaltz Edition is a translation of the Babylonian Talmud, that has a literal direct translation of the Talmud along with halacha summaries and commentaries by Torah Scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The translation started in 1965 and was completed in late 2010...

    Adin Steinsaltz
    Adin Steinsaltz
    Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz or Adin Even Yisrael is a teacher, philosopher, social critic, and spiritual mentor, who has been hailed by Time magazine as a "once-in-a-millennium scholar". He has devoted his life to making the Talmud accessible to all Jews...

    , Random House. This work is in fact a translation of Rabbi Steinsaltz' complete Hebrew language
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

     translation of and commentary on the entire Talmud. Hebrew complete; English and other languages partial.
  • Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud
    Schottenstein Edition of the Babylonian Talmud
    Schottenstein Edition of the Babylonian Talmud is a 20th century, 73 volume edition of the Babylonian Talmud or Talmud Bavli.The text is published by Artscroll, a division of Mesorah Publications, with the financial assistance of Jerome Schottenstein, an orthodox Jew and founder of an Ohio...

    , Mesorah Publications
    ArtScroll
    ArtScroll is an imprint of translations, books and commentaries from an Orthodox Jewish perspective published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd., a publishing company based in Brooklyn, New York...

    . In this translation, each English page faces the Aramaic/Hebrew page. The English pages are elucidated and heavily annotated; each Aramaic/Hebrew page of Talmud typically requires three English pages of translation. Complete.
  • The Soncino Talmud, Isidore Epstein
    Isidore Epstein
    This article is about the distinguished rabbinical scholar. For the noted astronomer of a similar name see: Isadore Epstein Rabbi Dr. Isidore Epstein , was an Orthodox rabbi and rabbinical scholar in England, who served as the longtime principal of Jews' College, London. Ezekiel Isidore Epstein...

    , Soncino Press. Notes on each page provide additional background material. This translation is published both on its own and in a parallel text edition, in which each English page faces the Aramaic/Hebrew page. It is available also on CD-ROM. Complete.
  • The Talmud of Babylonia. An American Translation, Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner is an American academic scholar of Judaism who lives in Rhinebeck, New York.-Biography:Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , the University of Oxford, and Columbia University.Neusner is often celebrated...

    , Tzvee Zahavy, others. Atlanta: 1984-1995: Scholars Press for Brown Judaic Studies. Complete.
  • The Babylonian Talmud, translated by Michael L. Rodkinson. (1903, contains all of the tractates in the Orders of Mo'ed/Festivals and Nezikin/Damages, plus some additional material related to these Orders.) This is inaccurate and was wholly superseded by the Soncino translation: it is sometimes linked to from the internet because, for copyright reasons, it was until recently the only translation freely available on the Web (see below, under Full text resources).

Talmud Yerushalmi

  • Talmud of the Land of Israel: A Preliminary Translation and Explanation Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner is an American academic scholar of Judaism who lives in Rhinebeck, New York.-Biography:Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , the University of Oxford, and Columbia University.Neusner is often celebrated...

    , Tzvee Zahavy, others. University of Chicago Press. This translation uses a form-analytical presentation that makes the logical units of discourse easier to identify and follow. This work has received many positive reviews. However, some consider Neusner's translation methodology idiosyncratic. One volume was negatively reviewed by Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman , also known as Rabbi Shaul Lieberman or The Gra"sh , was a rabbi and a scholar of Talmud...

     of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

  • Schottenstein Edition of the Yerushalmi Talmud Mesorah/Artscroll. This translation is the counterpart to Mesorah/Artscroll's Schottenstein Edition of the Talmud (i.e. Babylonian Talmud).

  • The Jerusalem Talmud ,Edition, Translation, and Commentary ,Ed. by Guggenheimer, Heinrich W. ,Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin, Germany

  • German Edition, Übersetzung des Talmud Yerushalmi, Herausgegeben von Martin Hengel, Peter Schäfer, Hans-Jürgen Becker, Frowald Gil Hüttenmeister, Mohr&Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany

See also



  • Baraita
    Baraita
    Baraita designates a tradition in the Jewish oral law not incorporated in the Mishnah. "Baraita" thus refers to teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishnah...

  • Daf Yomi
    Daf Yomi
    Daf Yomi "page [of the] day" or "daily folio") is a daily regimen undertaken to study the Babylonian Talmud one folio each day...

  • Ein Yaakov
    Ein Yaakov
    Ein Yaakov is a compilation of all the Aggadic material in the Talmud together with commentaries. Its introduction contains an account of the history of Talmudic censorship and the term Gemara...

  • Gemara
    Gemara
    The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

  • Jerusalem Talmud
    Jerusalem Talmud
    The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

  • Minor Tractates
  • Mishnah
    Mishnah
    The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

  • Mishneh Torah
    Mishneh Torah
    The Mishneh Torah subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka is a code of Jewish religious law authored by Maimonides , one of history's foremost rabbis...

  • Rabbinic literature
    Rabbinic literature
    Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

  • Rashi
    Rashi
    Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

  • Shass Pollak
    Shass Pollak
    Shas Pollak were Jewish mnemonists who, according to the 1917 report of George Stratton in the Psychological Review, memorized the exact layout of words in more than 5,000 pages of the 12 books of the standard edition of the Babylonian Talmud. Stratton's report consists of accounts of and comments...

  • Talmudical hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics is the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical...

  • Tosefta
    Tosefta
    The Tosefta is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.-Overview:...

  • Yeshiva
    Yeshiva
    Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...



Logic and methodology



  • Samuel ha-Nagid
    Samuel ibn Naghrela
    Samuel ibn Naghrela , also known as Samuel HaNagid , , was a Talmudic scholar, grammarian, philologist, poet, warrior, and statesman, who lived in Iberia at the time of the Moorish rule....

    , Mevo ha-Talmud
  • Joseph ben Judah ibn Aknin
    Joseph ben Judah ibn Aknin
    Joseph ben Judah ibn Aknin was a Jewish writer of numerous treatises, mostly on the Mishnah and the Talmud. He was born in Barcelona, but settled in Fez, where by his own admission he lived as a crypto-Jew....

    , Mevo ha-Talmud
  • Zerachiah Halevi
    Zerachiah ha-Levi of Girona
    Zerachiah ben Isaac Ha-Levi Gerondi , called the ReZaH, RaZBI or Baal Ha-Maor was born about 1125 in the town of Girona, Spain – hence the name Gerondi – and died after 1186 in Lunel...

    , Sefer ha-Tzava
  • Samson of Chinon
    Samson of Chinon
    Samson ben Isaac of Chinon was a French Talmudist who lived at Chinon. In Talmudic literature he is generally called after his native place, Chinon , and sometimes by the abbreviation MaHaRShaḲ...

    , Sefer ha-Keritut
  • Jacob Hagiz, Teḥillat Ḥochmah (included in most editions of Keritut)
  • collective, ed. Abraham ibn Akra
    Abraham ibn Akra
    Abraham ibn Akra or Abraham ben Solomon Akra was a Jewish-Italian scholar and editor of scientific works who lived at the end of the 16th century. He edited the work , a collection of several methodological essays and commentaries on various Talmudic treatises...

    , Meharere Nemarim
  • Joseph ibn Verga
    Joseph ibn Verga
    Joseph ibn Verga was a Turkish rabbi and historian who lived at Adrianople at the beginning of the 16th century.He was the son of Solomon ibn Verga, author of Shebeṭ Yehudah, who emigrated from Spain to Turkey as a Marrano...

    , She'erit Yosef
  • Isaac Campanton
    Isaac Campanton
    Isaac ben Jacob Canpanton was a Spanish rabbi. He lived in the period darkened by the outrages of Ferran Martinez and Vicente Ferrer, when intellectual life and Talmudic erudition were on the decline among the Jews of Spain. The historiographers Immanuel Aboab , Zacuto Isaac ben Jacob Canpanton...

    , Darche ha-Talmud
  • David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra
    David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra
    Rabbi David ben Solomon ibn Zimra , also called Radbaz after the initials of his name, Rabbi David iBn Zimra, was an early Acharon of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who was a leading posek, rosh yeshiva, chief rabbi, and author of more than 3,000 responsa as well as several scholarly...

    , Kelale ha-Gemara
  • Bezalel Ashkenazi
    Bezalel Ashkenazi
    Bezalel ben Abraham Ashkenazi was a rabbi and talmudist who lived in Ottoman Palestine during the 16th century. He is best known as the author of Shittah Mekubetzet, a commentary on the Talmud. He is very straightforward in his writings and occasionally offers textual amendments to the Talmud...

    , Kelale ha-Gemara
  • Yeshu’ah b. Yosef ha-Levi, Halichot Olam
  • Yisrael Ya'akov Algazi, Ar'a de-Rabbanan
  • Serillo, Samuel, Kelale Shemuel
  • Horowitz, Isaiah
    Isaiah Horowitz
    Isaiah Horowitz, , also known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh after the title of his best-known work, was a prominent Levite rabbi and mystic.-Biography:...

    , Shene Luchot ha-Berit (section on Torah she-be-al-Pe)
  • Moses Chaim Luzzatto, Derech Tevunot, translated into English as The Ways of Reason, Feldheim 1988, ISBN 978-0873064958
    • same, Sefer ha-Higgayon, translated into English as The Book of Logic, Feldheim 1995, ISBN 978-0873067072
  • de Oliveira, Solomon, Darche Noam
  • Malachi ha-Cohen, Yad Malachi
  • Aryeh Leib HaCohen Heller
    Aryeh Leib HaCohen Heller
    Aryeh Leib Heller-Kahane was a Rabbi, Talmudist, and Halachist in Galicia. He was known as "the Ketzos" based on his greatest work, Ketzot Hachoshen, קצות החושן.-Biography:...

    , Shev Shema'tata
    Shev Shema'tata
    Shev Shema'tata , sometimes pronounced Shev Shmaytsa, is a work on Talmudic logic and methodology by R. Aryeh Leib HaCohen Heller...

  • Goitein, B., Kesef Nivhar
  • Ezechia Bolaffi, Ben Zekunim vol. 1
  • Moshe Amiel, Ha-Middot le-Ḥeqer ha-Halachah, vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3

Modern scholarly works

  • Y. N. Epstein, Mevo-ot le-Sifrut haTalmudim
  • Hanoch Albeck, Mavo la-talmudim
  • Louis Jacobs
    Louis Jacobs
    Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism...

    , "How Much of the Babylonian Talmud is Pseudepigraphic?" Journal of Jewish Studies 28, No. 1 (1977), pp. 46–59
  • Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman , also known as Rabbi Shaul Lieberman or The Gra"sh , was a rabbi and a scholar of Talmud...

    , Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1950)
  • Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner
    Jacob Neusner is an American academic scholar of Judaism who lives in Rhinebeck, New York.-Biography:Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Neusner was educated at Harvard University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , the University of Oxford, and Columbia University.Neusner is often celebrated...

    , Sources and Traditions: Types of Compositions in the Talmud of Babylonia (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992).
  • David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni
    David Weiss Halivni is an American-Israeli rabbi, scholar in the domain of Jewish Sciences and professor of Talmud.-Biography:...

    , Mekorot u-Mesorot (Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1982 on)
  • Yaakov Elman, "Order, Sequence, and Selection: The Mishnah’s Anthological Choices,” in David Stern, ed. The Anthology in Jewish Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) 53-80
  • Strack, Herman L.
    Hermann Strack
    Hermann Leberecht Strack was a German Protestant theologian and Orientalist; born at Berlin May 6, 1848. Since 1877 he was assistant professor of Old Testament exegesis and Semitic languages at the University of Berlin. He was the foremost Christian authority in Germany on Talmudic and rabbinic...

     and Stemberger, Gunter, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, tr. Markus Bockmuehl: repr. 1992, hardback ISBN 978-0-567-09509-1, paperback ISBN 978-0-8006-2524-5
  • Moses Mielziner
    Moses Mielziner
    Moses Mielziner was an American Reform rabbi and author.-Life:...

    , Introduction to the Talmud: repr. 1997, hardback ISBN 978-0-8197-0156-5, paperback ISBN 978-0-8197-0015-5
  • Aviram Ravitzky, Aristotelian Logic and Talmudic Methodology (Hebrew): Jerusalem 2009, ISBN 978-965-493-459-6

Historical study

  • Shalom Carmy (Ed.) Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah: Contributions and Limitations Jason Aronson, Inc.
  • Richard Kalmin Sages, Stories, Authors and Editors in Rabbinic Babylonia Brown Judaic Studies
  • David C. Kraemer, On the Reliability of Attributions in the Babylonian Talmud, Hebrew Union College Annual 60 (1989), pp. 175–90
  • Lee Levine, Ma'amad ha-Hakhamim be-Eretz Yisrael (Jerusalem: Yad Yizhak Ben-Zvi, 1985), (=The Rabbinic Class of Roman Palestine in Late Antiquity)
  • Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman , also known as Rabbi Shaul Lieberman or The Gra"sh , was a rabbi and a scholar of Talmud...

     Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1950)
  • John W. McGinley " 'The Written' as the Vocation of Conceiving Jewishly". ISBN 0-595-40488-X
  • David Bigman, Finding A Home for Critical Talmud Study

General


Full text resources


Manuscripts


Layout

  • "A Page from the Babylonian Talmud" image map
    Image map
    In HTML and XHTML , an image map is a list of coordinates relating to a specific image, created in order to hyperlink areas of the image to various destinations . For example, a map of the world may have each country hyperlinked to further information about that country...

     from Prof. Eliezer Segal

"Daf Yomi" program


Refutation of allegations concerning the Talmud


Audio