From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

TALMUD (‘learning’)

1. Origin and character . The Jews have always drawn a distinction between the ‘Oral Law,’ which was handed down for centuries by word of mouth, and the ‘Written Law,’ i.e. the Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses. Both, according to Rabbinical teaching, trace their origin to Moses himself. It has been a fundamental principle of all times that by the side of the ‘Written Law,’ regarded as a summary of the principles and general laws of the Hebrew people, there was this ‘Oral Law’ to complete and explain the ‘Written Law.’ It was an article of faith that in the Pentateuch there was no precept and no regulation, ceremonial, doctrinal, or legal, of which God had not given to Moses all explanations necessary for their application, together with the order to transmit them by word of mouth. The classical passage on this subject runs: ‘Moses received the (oral) law from Sinai, and delivered it to Joshua, and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the men of the Great Synagogue’ ( Pirqe Aboth , l. 1). This has long been known to be nothing more than a myth; the ‘Oral Law,’ although it no doubt contains elements which are of great antiquity e.g. details of folklore really dates from the time that the ‘Written Law’ was read and expounded in the synagogues. Thus we are told that Ezra introduced the custom of having the Torah (‘Law’) read in the synagogues at the morning service on Mondays and Thursdays ( i.e. the days corresponding to these); for on these days the country people flocked to the towns from the neighbouring districts, as they were the market days. The people had thus an opportunity, which would otherwise have been lacking to them, of hearing the Law read and explained. These explanations of the Law, together with the results of the discussions of them on the part of the sôpherîm (‘scribes’), formed the actual ‘Oral Law.’ The first explanatory term applied by the Jews to the ‘Oral Law’ was midrash (‘investigation’), and the Bible itself witnesses to the way in which such investigations were made and expounded to the people: ‘Also Jeshua and Bani … and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law; and the people stood in their place. And they read in the book, in the law of God, with an interpretation; and they gave the sense, so that they understood the reading’ (  Nehemiah 8:7-8 ). But it is clear that the ‘investigations’ must have led to different explanations; so that in order to fix authoritatively what in later days were considered the correct explanations, and thus to ensure continuity of teaching, it became necessary to reduce these to writing; there arose thus (soon after the time of Shammai and Hillel) the ‘Former Mishna’ ( Mishna Rishonah ), Mishna meaning ‘Second’ Law. This earliest Mishna, which, it is probable, owed its origin to pupils of Shammai and Hillel, was therefore compiled for the purpose of affording teachers both a norm for their decisions and a kind of book of reference for the explanation of difficult passages. But the immense amount of floating material could not be incorporated into one work, and when great teachers arose they sometimes found it necessary to compile their own Mishna; they excluded much which the official Mishna contained, and added other matter which they considered important. This was done by Rabbi Aqiba, Rabbi Meir, and others. But it was not long before the confusion created by this state of affairs again necessitated some authoritative, officially recognized action. It was then that Jehudah ha-Nasi undertook his great redaction of the Mishna, which has survived substantially to the present day. Jehudah ha-Nasi was born about a.d. 135 and died about a.d. 220; he was the first of Hillel’s successors to whose name was added the title ha-Nasi (‘the Prince’); this is the way in which he is usually referred to in Rabbinical writings; he is also spoken of as ‘Rabbi,’ i.e. master par excellence , and occasionally as ha-Qadosh , ‘the Holy,’ on account of his singularly pure and moral life. Owing to his authority and dignity, the Mishna of Jehudah ha-Nasi soon superseded all other collections, and became the only one used in the schools; the object that Jehudah had had in view, that, namely, of restoring uniform teaching, was thus achieved. The Mishna as we now have it is not, however, quite as it was when it left Jehudah’s hands; it has undergone modifications of various kinds: additions, emendations, and the like having been made even in Jehudah’s life-time, with his acquiescence, by some of his pupils. The language of the Mishna approximates to that of some of the latest books of the OT, and is known by the name of ‘Neo-Hebraic’; this was the language spoken in Palestine during the second century a.d.; It has a considerable intermixture of foreign elements, especially Greek words Hebraized.

The Mishna is divided into six Sedarim (Aram. [Note: Aramaic.] for ‘Orders’), and each Seder contains a number of treatises; each treatise is divided into chapters, and these again into paragraphs. The names of the six ‘Orders,’ which to some extent indicate their contents, are: Zera‘im (‘Seeds’), containing eleven treatises; Mo‘ed (‘Festival’), containing twelve treatises; Nashim (‘Women’), containing seven treatises; Nezikin (‘Injuries’), containing ten treatises [this ‘Order’ is called also Yeshu’oth (‘Deeds of help’)]; Qodashim (‘Holy things’), containing eleven treatises; and Tohâroth (‘Purifications’), containing twelve treatises.

Now the Mishna forms the basis of the Talmud; for just as the Mishna is a compilation of expositions, comments, etc., of the Written Law, and embodies in itself the Oral Law, so the Talmud is an expansion, by means of comment and explanation, of the Mishna; as the Mishna contains the Pentateuch, with all the additional explanatory matter, so the Talmud contains the Mishna with a great deal more additional matter. ‘The Talmud is practically a mere amplification of the Mishna by manifold comments and additions; so that even those portions of the Mishna which have no Talmud are regarded as component parts of it.… The history of the origin of the Talmud is the same as that of the Mishna a tradition, transmitted orally for centuries, was finally cast into definite literary form, although from the moment in which the Talmud became the chief subject of study in the academies it had a double existence (see below), and was accordingly, in its final stage, redacted in two different forms’ (Bacher in JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] xii. 3 b ). Before coming to speak of the actual Talmud itself, it may be well to explain some terms without an understanding of which our whole subject would be very inadequately understood:

Halakhah . Under this term the entire legal body of Jewish oral tradition is included; it comes from a verb meaning ‘to go,’ and expresses the way ‘of going’ or ‘acting,’ i.e. custom, usage, which ultimately issues in law . Originally it was used in the plural form Halakhoth , which had reference to the multifarious civil and ritual laws, customs, decrees etc., as handed down by tradition, which were not, however, of Scriptural authority. It was these Halakboth which were codified by Jehudah ha-Nasi, and to which the term Mishna became applied. Sometimes the word Halakhah is used for ‘tradition,’ which is binding, in contradistinction to Dîn , ‘argument’ (lit. ‘judgment’), which is not necessarily binding.

Haggadah (from the root meaning ‘to narrate’). This includes the whole of the non-legal matter of Rabbinical literature, such as homilies, stories about Biblical saints and heroes; besides this it touches upon such subjects as astronomy, astrology, medicine, magic, philosophy, and all that would come under the term ‘folklore.’ This word, too, was originally used in the plural Haggadoth . Haggadah is also used in a special sense of the ritual for Passover Eve.

Gemara . This is an Aramaic word from the root meaning ‘to learn,’ and has the signification of ‘that which has been learned,’ i.e. learning that has been handed down by tradition (Bacher in JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] , art. ‘Talmud’); it has also the meaning ‘completion’; in this sense it came to be used as a synonym of Talmud .

Baraitha . This is an apocryphal Halakhah . When Jehudah ha-Nasi compiled his Mishna, there was a great deal of the Oral Tradition which he excluded from it (see above); other teachers, however, the most important of whom was Rabbi Chijja, gathered these excluded portions into a special collection; these Halakhoth , which are known as Baraithoth , were incorporated into the Talmud; the discussions on them in the Talmud occupy many folios.

Tannaim (‘Teachers’). This was the technical name applied to the teachers of the Mishna; after the close of the Mishna period those who explained it were no more called ‘Teachers,’ but only ‘Commentators’ ( Amoraïm ); the dicta of the Tannaim could not be questioned excepting by a Tannaite, but an exception was made in the case of Jehudah ha-Nasi, who was permitted to question the truth of Tannaite pronouncements.

There are two Talmuds, the ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘Talmud of Palestine’ and the ‘Babylonian,’ known respectively by their abbreviated forms ‘ Yerushalmi ’ and ‘ Babli .’ The material which went to make up the Yerushalmi had been preparing in the academies, the centres of Jewish learning, of Palestine, chief among which was Tiberias; it was from here that Rabbi Jochanan issued the Yerushalmi , in its earliest form, during the middle of the 3rd cent. a.d. The first editor, or at all events the first compiler, of the Babli was Rabbi Ashi ( d . a.d. 430), who presided over the academy of Sura. Both these Talmuds were constantly being added to, and the Yerushalmi was not finally closed until the end of the 4th cent., the Babli not until the beginning of the 6th. The characteristics which differentiated the academies of Palestine from those of Babylonia have left their marks upon the two Talmuds: in Palestine the tendency was to preserve and stereotype tradition, without permitting it to develop itself along natural channels; the result was that the Yerushalmi became choked with traditionalism, circumscribed in its horizon, and in consequence was regarded with less veneration than the Babli , and has always occupied a position of subordinate importance in comparison with this latter. In the Babylonian academies, on the other band, there was a wider outlook, a freer mental atmosphere, and, while tradition was venerated, it was not permitted to impede development in all directions; the Babli therefore absorbed the thought and learning of all Israel’s teachers, and is richer in material, and of more importance generally, than the Yerushalmi . In order to give some idea of what the Talmud is, and of the enormous masses of material gathered together there, the following example may be cited, abbreviated from Bacher ( op. cit. xii. 5). It will be remembered that the Talmud is a commentary on the Mishna. In the beginning of the latter occurs this paragraph: ‘During what time in the evening is the reading of the Shema‘ begun? From the time when the priests go in to eat their leaven (  Leviticus 22:7 ) until the end of the first watch of the night, such being the words of R. Eliezer. The sages, however, say until midnight, though R. Gamaliel says until the coming of the dawn.’ This is the text upon which the Yerushalmi then comments in three sections; the first section contains the following: a citation from a bariatha with two sayings from R. Jose to elucidate it; remarks on the position of one who is in doubt whether he has read the Shema‘  ; another passage from a baraitha , designating the appearance of the stars as an indication of the time in question; further explanations and passages on the appearance of the stars as bearing on the ritual; other Rabbinical sayings; a baraitha on the division between day and night, and other passages bearing on the same subject; discussion of other baraithas , and further quotations from important Rabbis; a sentence of Tannaitic origin in no way related to the preceding matters, namely, ‘One who prays standing must bold his feet straight,’ and the controversy on this subject between Rabbis Levi and Simon, the one adding, ‘like the angels,’ the other, ‘like the priests’; comments on these two comparisons; further discussion concerning the beginning of the day; Haggadic statements concerning the dawn; a conversation between two Rabbis; cosmological comments; dimensions of the firmament, and more Haggadic comments in abundance; a discussion on the night-watches; Haggadic material concerning David and his harp. Then comes the second section, namely, a Rabbinical quotation; a baraitha on the reading of the Shema‘ in the synagogue; other Rabbinical and Haggadic matter; further Haggadic sayings; lastly, section 3 gives R. Gamaliel’s view compared with that of another Rabbi, together with a question which remains unanswered.

This is, of course, the merest skeleton of an example of the mass of commentary which is devoted to the Mishna, section by section. Although the Haggadic element plays a much less Important rôle than the Halakhic, still the former is well represented, and is often employed for purposes of edification and rebuke, as well as for instruction. The following outline of a Haggadic passage from the Yerushalmi will serve as an example; It is intended as a rebuke to ‘Scandal-mongers,’ and a text (  Deuteronomy 1:12 ) is taken as a starting-point, namely, ‘ How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance and your burden and your strife? ’ It then continues: ‘How did our forefathers worry Moses with their cumbrances? In that they were constantly slandering him, and imputing evil intentions to him in everything that he did. If he happened to come out of his house rather earlier than usual, it was said: “Why has he gone out so early to-day? There has no doubt been some quarrelling at home!” If, on the other hand, he went out a little later than usual, it was said: “What has been occupying him so long indoors? Assuredly he has been concocting plans to oppress the people yet morel” ’ (Bernfeld, Der Talmud , p. 46). Or, to give one other example: in pointing out the evils which come from a father’s favouring one son above the others, it is said: ‘This should not be done, for because of the coat of many colours which the patriarch Jacob gave his favourite son JosephGenesis 37:1 ff.), all Israel went down into Egypt’ ( ib. p. 47).

Haggadoth flourish, as regards quality, more in the Yerushalmi than in the Babli  ; for in the Babylonian schools intellectual acumen reigned supreme: there was but little room for the play of the emotions or for the development of poetical imagination: these were rather the property of Palestinian soil. Therefore, although the Haggadic element is, so far as quantity is concerned, much fuller in the Babli than in the Yerushalmi , it is, generally speaking, of a far less attractive character in the former than in the latter. ‘The fact that the Haggadah is much more prominent in Babli , of which it forms, according to Weiss, more than one-third, while it constitutes only one-sixth of Yerushalmi , was due, in a sense, to the course of the development of Hebrew literature. No independent mass of Haggadoth developed in Babylon, as was the case in Palestine; and the Haggadic writings were accordingly collected in the Talmud’ ( JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] xii. 12). But the Haggadah , whether in the Yerushalmi or in the Babli , occupies in reality a subordinate place, for in its origin, as we have seen, the Talmud was a commentary on the Mishna, which was a collection of Halakhoth  ; and although the Haggadic portions are of much greater human interest, it is the Halakhic portions that form the bulk of the Talmud, and that constitute its importance as the fountain-head of Jewish belief and theology.

2. Authority of the Talmud . Inasmuch as the Oral Law, which with its comments and explanations is what constitutes the Talmud, is regarded as of equal authority with the Written Law, it will be clear that the Talmud is regarded, at all events by orthodox Jews, as the highest and final authority on all matters of faith. It is true that in the Talmud itself the letter of Scripture is always clearly differentiated from the rest; but, in the first place, the comments and explanations declare what Scripture means, and without this official explanation the Scriptural passage would lose much of its practical value for the Jew; and, in the second place, it is firmly believed that the oral laws preserved in the Talmud were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the Talmud is of equal authority with Scripture. The eighth principle of the Jewish creed runs: ‘I firmly believe that the Law which we possess now is the same which has been given to Moses on Mount Sinai.’ In commenting on this in what may not unjustly be described as the official handbook for the orthodox Jewish Religion, the writer says: ‘Many explanations and details of the laws were supplemented by oral teaching; they were handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation, and only after the destruction of the second temple were they committed to writing. The latter are, nevertheless, called Oral Law, as distinguished from the Torah or Written Law, which from the first was committed to writing. Those oral laws which were revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai are called “Laws given to Moses on Mount Sinai” ’ (M. Friedländer, The Jewish Religion [revised and enlarged ed., 1900], p. 136). It is clear from this that the Written Law of the Bible, and the Oral Law as contained in the Talmud, are of equal authority. The Talmud is again referred to as ‘the final authority in Judaism’ by the writer of a later exposition of the Jewish faith (M. Joseph, Judaism as Creed and Life , 1903, p. vii.). One other authoritative teacher may be quoted: ‘As a document of religion the Talmud acquired that authority which was due to it as the written embodiment of the ancient tradition, and it fulfilled the task which the men of the Great Assembly set for the representatives of the tradition when they said, “Make a hedge for the Torah” ( Aboth , i. 2). Those who professed Judaism felt no doubt that the Talmud was equal to the Bible as a source of instruction and decision in problems of religion, and every effort to set forth religious teachings and duties was based on it.’ And speaking of the present day, the same writer says: ‘For the majority of Jews it is still the supreme authority in religion’ (Bacher in JE [Note: Jewish Encyclopedia.] xii. 26).

3. The Talmud and Christianity . Much that is written in the Talmud was originally spoken by men who were contemporaries of Christ; men who must have seen and heard Him. It is, moreover, well known what a conflict was waged in the infant Church regarding that question of the admittance of Gentiles, the result of which was an irreconcilable breach between Jew and Gentile, and an ever-increasing antagonism between Judaism and Christianity. These facts lead to the supposition that references to Christ and Christianity should be found in the Talmud. The question as to whether such references are to be found or not is one which cannot yet be said to have been decided one way or the other. The frequent mention of the Minim is held by many to refer to Christians; others maintain that by these are meant philosophizing Jews, who were regarded as heretics. This is not the place to discuss the question; we can only refer to two works, which approach it from different points of view, and which deal very adequately with it: Christianity in Talmud and Midrash , by R. T. Herford (London, 1903), and Die religiösen Bewegungen innerhalb des Judenthums im Zeitatter Jesu , by M. Friedländer (Berlin, 1905).

W. O. E. Oesterley.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

halakah Talmud Mishnah

Those scholars represented in the Mishnah are referred to as the Tannaim . Generally, they lived from the first through the second centuries A.D. The Talmud gives the opinions of a new generation of scholars referred to as the Amoraim (A.D. 200-500). Various teachers became famous and attracted students from a variety of locales in the ancient world. By this means, the decisions of rabbis resident in Babylon became normative for a broad cross section of ancient Jewish life. How strongly rabbinic decisions influenced the average Jew we cannot know. Passages from the Talmud reflect the great concern of some rabbis that their advice was not being followed by the people.

The Talmud represents a continuation of the application of the oral law ( halakah ) to every sphere of Jewish life. This process probably began with the early Jewish sect known as the Pharisees . Many of the discussions in the Talmud, however, seem to have no direct practical application, but are theoretical in nature.

The passing on of the tradition and the remembering of the specific decisions and reasoning of the teachers by their disciples was apparently emphasized in the rabbinic schools. There is some evidence that both Mishnah and Talmud were remembered according to chants or musical melodies.

The Babylonian Talmud became the most authoritative of the two written Talmuds due both to the political fortunes of the Jewish communities in Palestine and Babylon in the first four centuries A.D. and also to its more sophisticated style. Later generations of Jewish scholars also recognized that the Babylonian Talmud was completed later and so supposed that it absorbed or superseded the Jerusalem one.

Apart from haggadic passages that are mostly Hebrew, it was written in Eastern Aramaic, the language of Babylon at the time. The Babylonian Talmud reflects a highly developed system for settling disputed questions of halakah (oral law). It includes commentary on all six major divisions of the Mishnah, but deletes certain subsections. For example, discussion of the segments of Mishnah that deal with the Temple service are omitted, presumably because the Jewish community in Babylon did not anticipate the rebuilding of the Temple in the near future (interestingly, the Jerusalem Talmud does discuss these sections).

The Babylonian Talmud also contains theoretical legal discussion as well as information on the daily life of Jewish people in the first six centuries, history, medicine, astronomy, commerce, agriculture, demonology, magic, botany, zoology, and other sciences. It also incorporates a large measure of Haggadah (illustrative stories and poetry) in addition to legal discussion.

The Jerusalem Talmud was not compiled in Jerusalem but in the centers of Tiberias, Caesarea, and Sepphoris in Palestine, since Jerusalem ceased to be a major center of Jewish learning after the destruction of the second Temple in A.D. 70. It uses Western Aramaic, the dialect of Palestine. It is succinct and concise in its presentation of legal arguments, and does not contain the considerable body of Haggadah included in the Babylonian Talmud. The Jerusalem Talmud was completed about 400 A.D. approximately a century before the Babylonian Talmud.

The importance of the Talmud to Jewish life until the modern period can hardly be overestimated. Talmud and commentary upon it become a major focus of religious action in the medieval period. The Talmud became the central document for Jewish education during the medieval period.

New Testament scholars are especially interested in the Talmud. Some of the halakah embodied in the Talmud is attributed to early rabbis and may reflect Jewish practice in the time of the writers of the New Testament or of Jesus. This material must be used judiciously in historical reconstruction, however, since it was compiled five centuries after the fact. See Haggadah and Halakah; Mishnah .

Stephenson Humphries-Brooks

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [3]

A collection of Jewish writings. There are two works which bear this name

the Talmud of Jerusalem, and the Talmud of Babylon. Each of these are composed of two parts

the Mishna, which is the text, and is common to both; and the Gemara, or commentary. The Mishna, which comprehends all the laws, institutions, and rules of life (which, besides the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, the Jews thought themselves bound to observe, ) was composed, according to the unanimous testimony of the Jews, about the close of the second century. It was the work of rabbi Jehuda (or Juda) Hakkadosh, who was the ornament of the school of Tiberias, and is said to have occupied him forty years. The commentaries and additions which succeeding rabbies made, were collected by rabbi Jochanan Ben Eliezer, some say in the fifth, others in the sixth, and others in the seventh century, under the name of Gemara, that is, completion, because it completed the Talmud. A similar addition was made to the Mishna by the Babylonish doctors in the beginning of the sixth century, according to Enfield; and in the seventh, according to others. The Mishna is divided into six parts, of which every one which is entitled order, is formed of treatises: every treatise is divided into chapters; and every chapter into mishnas or aphorisms.

In the first part is discussed whatever relates to seeds, fruits, and trees: in the second, feasts: in the third, women, their duties, their disorders, marriages, divorces, contracts, and nuptials; in the fourth, are treated the damages or losses sustained by beasts or men, of things found, deposits, usuries, rents, farms, partnership in commerce, inheritance, sales and purchases, oaths, witnesses, arrests, idolatry; and here are named those by whom in oral law was received and preserved: in the fifth part are noticed what regards sacrifices and holy things: and the sixth treats on purifications, vessels, furniture, clothes, houses, leprosy, baths, and numerous other articles:-all this forms the Mishna. As the learned reader may wish to obtain some notion of rabbinical composition and judgment, we shall gratify his curiosity sufficiently by the following specimen: "Adam's body was made of the earth of Babylon, his head of the land of Israel, his other members of other parts of the world. R. Meir thought he was compact of the earth gathered out of the whole earth: as it is written, thine eyes did see my substance.

Now it is elsewhere written, the eyes of the Lord are over all the earth. R. Aha expressly marks the twelve hours in which his various parts were formed. His stature was from one end of the world to the other; and it was for his transgression that the Creator, laying his hand in anger on him, lessened him; 'for before, ' says R. Eleazer, 'with his hand he reached the firmament.' R. Jehuda thinks his sin was heresy; but R. Isaac thinks that it was nourishing his foreskin." The Talmud of Babylon is most valued by the Jews; and this is the book which they mean to express when they talk of the Talmud in general. An abridgment of it was made by Maimonides in the 12th century, in which he rejected some of its greatest absurdities. The Gemara is stuffed with dreams and chimeras, with many ignorant and impertinent questions, and the style very coarse. The Mishna is written in a style comparatively pure, and may be very useful in explaining passages of the New Testament, where the phraseology is similar. This is, indeed, the only use to which Christians can apply it: but this renders it valuable.

Lightfoot has judiciously availed himself of such information as he could derive from it. Some of the popes, with a barbarous zeal, and a timidity of spirit, for the success of the Christian religion, which the belief of its divinity can never excuse, ordered great numbers of the Talmud to be burned. Gregory IX. burned about twenty cart-loads; and Paul IV. ordered 12, 000 copies of the Talmud to be destroyed.

See Mischna the last edition of the Talmud of Babylon, printed at Amsterdam, in 12 vols. folio: the Talmud of Jerusalem is in one large volume folio.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

Although we do not meet with this word in the Bible, yet as the Jews are very tenacious of what they called their Talmud, I thought it might not be amiss just to notice it in a short way. The word Talmud or Thalmud, means to teach. And the Talmud contains the substance of the Jews' doctrine and traditions in religion and morality. They have the Talmud of Jerusalem, and the Talmud of Babylon, according to the different periods in which they were compiled. As may be supposed, it consists in a multitude of unfounded histories: in many it is to be feared act unlike the Apocrypha. Since the invention of printing, there have been copies of them from the press.

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(n.) The body of the Jewish civil and canonical law not comprised in the Pentateuch.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [6]

See Jews .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

( תִּלְמוּד , Talmud, Doctrine; from לָמִד , "to teach"). :The Talmud-, "that wonderful monument of human industry, human wisdom,. and human folly" (Milman), is the work- which embodies the canonical and civil laws of the Jews. It consists of a Mishna (q.v.). as text, and a voluminous collection of commentaries and illustrations, called in the more modern Hebrew Horaa, and in Aramaic Gemara, "the complement" or "completion," from גְּמִר , "to make perfect." Thence the men who delivered these decisive commentaries are called Gemarists, sometimes Horaim, but more commonly Amoraim.

1. History And Composition. The Jews divided their law into the written and unwritten. The former contained the Pentateuch, Πεντάτευχος , חמישה , חומשי , תורה , or the תורה שבכתב , Verbum Dei Scriptum, Ἔγγραφος  ; the latter was handed down orally, the תורה שבעל פה , Παράδοσις , Verbum Dei Non Scriptum, Ἄγραφος . Some Jews have assigned the same antiquity to both, alleging that Moses received them on Mount Sinai, and that Joshua received the oral law from Moses, who transmitted it to the seventy elders; and these again transmitted it to the men of the Great Synagogue, the last of whom was Simon the Just (q.v.). From the men of the Great Synagogue it came into the possession of the rabbins till Judah the Holy (q. v), who embodied in the celebrated code, of traditional Jaw, or Mishna, all the authorized interpretations of the Mosaic law, the traditions and decisions of the learned, and the precedents of the courts or schools; or, as Moses Maimonides (q.v.) states, in his preface to the Mishna (Seder. Zeraim), "From Moses our teacher to our holy rabbi no one has united in a single body of doctrine what was publicly taught as the oral law; but an every generation the chief of the tribunal, or the prophet of his day, made memoranda of what he had heard from his predecessors and instructors, and communicated it orally to the people. In like manner, each individual committed to writing for his own use, and according to the degree of his ability, the oral laws and the information he had received respecting the interpretation of the Bible, with the various decisions that had been pronounced in every age and sanctified by the authority of the great tribunal. Such was the form of proceeding until our rabbi the holy, who first collected all the traditions, the judgments, the sentences, and the expositions of the law, heard by Moses our master, and taught in each generation." There is, no doubt, some truth in this as to a few elementary principles of Hebrew usage and practice, both civil and religious; but the whole of the unwritten law cannot have this primordial majesty, for, without referring to the trivial and foolish character of many of its appointments, we know that Midrashim, or explanations and amplifications of Biblical topics, were of gradual growth.

Their commencement dates prior to the chronicle writer, because he refers to works of that nature ( 2 Chronicles 13:22;  2 Chronicles 24:27). The system of interpretation which they exemplify and embody existed in the age of the so called Sopherim, or scribes, who took the place of the prophets. The men of the Great Synagogue promoted at. It prevailed from the Asmonsean period till that of Hadrian, i.e. about 300 years. The Midrash was naturally simple at first, but it soon grew more comprehensive and complicated under a variety of influences, of which controversy was not the least powerful. When secret meanings, hidden wisdom, deep knowledge, were sought in the letter of Scripture, the Midrashim shaped themselves accordingly, and a distinction in their contents could be made. Thus they have been divided into the Halakah, הלכה , "the rule," and Hagad '''''Â''''' H הגדה , "what is said." Legal prescriptions formed the Halakah, free interpretations the Hagadah. The one, as a rule of conduct, must be attended to; the other merely passed for something said. The one was permanent and proceeded from authoritative sources, from schools, the teachers of the law, etc.; the other was the product of individual minds, consisting of ideas which had often no other object than of being expressed at the moment. The oldest collection of Halakoth that is, the oldest Mishna-proceeded from the school of Hillel. Rabbi Akiba, who was slain in the Hadrianic war, is said to have composed Mishnic regulations. The school of R. Simon ben-Gamaliel (q.v.), A.D. 166, who was a descendant of Hillel, collected and sifted the existing materials of the oral law. The present Mishna proceeded from the hands of R. Judah the Holy (q.v.), son and successor of R. Simon ben-Gamaliel. The title of Judah's work is simply Mishnah, משנה , Δευτέρωσις (from שנה , "to repeat"), "repetition," like the Arabic Mathani (Koran, 15:87; 39:34), that is, either (considering the divine law as twofold, written and traditional) the second branch of the twofold law, or else the law given in a second form, as an explicative and practical development of it (comp. Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 4:419).

The work itself is composed of the following elements:

1. Pure Mishnah ( משנה ), the elucidation of the fundamental text of the Mosaic laws, and their application to an endless variety of particular cases and circumstances not mentioned in them.

2. Haldk '''''Â''''' H'' ( הלכה ), the usages and customs of Judaism, as sanctioned and confirmed by time and general acquiescence.

3. Dibrey Chakalnim ( דברי חכמים ), law principles of the wise men or sages, i.e. the ancient, and at that time the more recent, teachers, to whose decisions the people's respect for them gave a greater or less weight.

4. Maassiyath ( מעשיות ), practical facts, conclusions arrived at by the course of events.

5. Gezir Ô Th ( גזירות ), extemporaneous decisions demanded by emergencies.

6. Tekan Ô Th ( תקנות ), modifications of usages to meet existing circumstances; and

7. Kelal '''''Î''''' M'' ( כללים ), universal principles, under which a multitude of particular cases may be provided for.

According to Maimonides, there were five classes into which the traditional law is divided, viz.:

1. Pirushm ( פירושים ), "interpretations" given to Moses by God, the authority of'which has never been disputed ( מחלוקת בהם בשום פנים אין ).

2. Halak '''''Â''''' H Le-Mosheh Mis-Sindy ( הלכה למשה מסיני ), "precepts delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai," a distinction which gained the applause of all the classical rabbins, because it belongs to the class of undisputed decisions.

3. Those which have admitted of discussion, and the value and weight of which have been mainly determined by an extensive consent among the authorities.

4. Gezar  Th ( גזרות ), "decisions" which have been made by the wise men regarding some of the written laws, and which decisions are designed to insure more fully the observance of such laws (or to make a fence about the law, כדי לעשות סיג לתורה ).

5. Tekan  Th ( תקנות ), "experimental suggestions," referring to things recommended or enjoined by particular masters, which though they may not possess the stringent force of laws, nevertheless exert a great influence in the formation of social and religious habits and usages.

In constructing his work, Jehudah, or Judah, arranged these manifold materials under six general classes, called Sedarzim ( סדרים ), or orders. The first is called Zeraim ( זרעים ), or "seeds," and treats of agricultural laws; the second, Moed ( מועד ), or "festivals," or "solemnity," treats of the Sabbath and the annual festivals and holydays, the duties of their observance, and the various enactments and prohibitions thereunto pertaining; the third, Nashizm ( נשים ), or "women," treats of the intercourse between the sexes, of husband and wife, the duties of a brother-in-law towards his widowed and childless sister-in-law, the right of untying the shoe ( Deuteronomy 25:5), of dowry and marriage settlements, of espousals, divorces, and of all the laws to these subjects respectively appertaining; the fourth, Nezikin ( נזיקין , or "injuries," treats of the laws of property (movable as well as immovable) and of commerce; the tithe, Kodashim ( קדשים ), or "consecrations," treats of sacrifices and their laws; the sixth, Tahar Ô Th [or rather Tohoroth ( טהרות ), or "purifications," treats of the laws of pureness, legal cleanness, and that both positively and negatively. The initial letters of these titles combined, for the sake of memory, give the technical word Zem '''''À''''' N Nek '''''Ê''''' T'' ( זמן נקט ), "a time accepted." The regulations thus generally classified are further arranged under a multitude of subsidiary topics, each Seder, or order, being divided into a number of tracts or treatises, called Massiktoth ( מסכתות ), and these were again subdivided into Perak '''''Î''''' M'' ( פרקים ), chapters. The latter again are divided or broken up into paragraphs. Altogether there are 63 Massiktoth, with 525 chapters and 4187 paragraphs, in the Mishna. The whole is called Shas ( ש ס ), after the initials of סדרי ששה , i.e. the six orders. Since a general analysis of the contents of the Mishna has already been given under the art. MISHNA (See Mishna) (q.v.), we must refer the reader to it, while a more minute analysis will be given farther on.

R. Judah's Mishna, however, did not contain all Midrashim. Many others existed, which are contained in part in the Siphra on Leviticus, Siphre on Numbers and Deuteronomy, Mechilta on Exodus, (See Midrash), the Mishnas made by individual teachers for the use of their pupils, with the addition to the official Mishna collected by R. Chiya and his contemporaries. All the Halakoth of this sort, which were extra-Mishnaic, were called Boraithas. ( ברייתות ; Heb. חיצונות ) or Tosiphtas ( תוספתות ). As has been stated, R. Judah the Holy collected the great mass of traditions in the work called Mishna; but even this copious work could not satisfy, for the length of time, the zeal of the rabbins for the law, for all casuistry is endless in its details. There were a great multitude of all kinds of possibilities which were treated in the Mishna, and yet, again, each single sentence left open divers possibilities, divers doubts, and considerations not yet finished. Thus it was an inner necessity of the matter that the text of the Mishna should again become the point of learned discussion. Partly by means of logic (that is, Rabbinical), partly with the help of the traditional matter, which had not yet been included in the Mishna, all open questions were now discussed. This task was carried out by the Amoraim, or Gemarical doctors, whose very singular illustrations, opinions, and doctrines were subsequently to form the Gemaras, i.e. the Palestinian and Babylonian: a body of men charged with being the most learned and elaborate triflers that ever brought discredit upon the republic of letters

"For mystic learning, wondrous able In magic, talisman, and cabal Deep-sighted in intelligences Ideas, atoms, influences."

With unexampled assiduity did they seek after or invent obscurities and ambiguities, which continually furnished pretexts for new expositions and illustrations, the art of clouding texts in themselves clear having proved ever less difficult than that of elucidating passages the words or the sense of which might be really involved in obscurity.

"Hence comment after comment, spun as fine As bloated spiders draw the flimsy line!"

The two main schools where this casuistic treatment of the Mishnic text was exercised were that at Tiberias, in Palestine, and that at Sora (q.v.), in Babylonia, whither Abba Areka, called "Rab" (q.v.), a pupil of R. Judah, had brought the Mishna. In these and other schools (as Nahardea, Sipporis, Pumbaditha [q.v.], and Jabne or Jamnia), the thread of casuistry was twisted over and over again, and the matter-of traditions of the law thus took greater and greater dimensions. Abandoning the Scripture' text, to illustrate and to explain which the doctors and wise men of the schools had hitherto labored, successive generations of Genzarici now devoted& their whole attention to the exposition of the text of the Mishna; and the industry and cavillation were such that expositions, illustrations, and commentaries multiplied with amazing rapidity and to so portentous a degree that they eventually swelled into a monstrous chaotic mass, which was dignified by the name of Gemara, גְמָרָא (Supplement or Complement), and this, together with the Mishna, was called "Talmud." Notwithstanding the uncertain paternity of this incongruous body of opinions, there were not wanting those who gave a preference to the Gemara over the Mishna, and even over the "written law." It was said by some that the ‘‘ written law" was like water, the Mishna like wine, and the Gemara like hippocras, or spiced wine. The "words of the scribes," said those supporters of the Gemara, are lovely above the "words of the law," for the words of the law" are weighty and light, but the "words of the scribes" are all weighty.

It was by R. Jochanan, rector of the Academy of Tiberias, that the minor chaos of comments and facetiae began to be collected; and these, being added to the Mishna, were termed the Palestinian Talmud, or Talmud Jeushali, i.e. Jerusalem Talmud. This Talmud, which was completed at Tiberias about A.D. 350, only contains four orders, viz., Zeraim, M Ô ed, Nashuim, and Nezikin, together with the treatise Niddah and some other fragmentary portions. From the schools of Babylonia, also, a similar collection was in after-times made; but, as, upon the desolation of Palestine, the study of the law was chiefly prosecuted in Babylon, the college there were far more numerous, and far more ingenious and prolific were the imaginations of the Babylonian professors. To collect and methodize all the disputations, interpretations, elucidations, commentaries, and conceits of the Babylonian Gemarici was consequently a labor neither of one man nor of a single age. The first attempt was made (A.D. 367) by R. Ashi, elected at the age of fourteen to be rector of the school of Soras (q.v.), a teacher described as eminently pious and learned. R. Ashe labored during sixty years upon the rank, unwieldy work, and, after arranging thirty-five books, died in 427, leaving the completion to his successors. For 100 years longer did rabbi after rabbi, with undiminished zeal, successively continue this un-profitable application, until at length, after the lapse of 123 years (about A.D. 550), rabbi Abina, the sixth in succession to Ashb, gave the finishing stroke to this second Talmud. Denominated, from the name of the province in which it was first compiled, the Babylonian Talmud, this second Talmud is as unmanageable to the student on account of its style and composition as on account of its prodigious bulk. Composed in a dialect neither Chaldaic nor Hebrew, but a barbarous commixture of both of these and of other dialects, jumbled together in defiance of all the rules of composition or of grammar, it affords a second specimen of a Babylonian confusion of languages.

"It was a parti-colored dress

Of patched and piebald languages,

Which made some think, when it did gabble,

They'd heard three laborers of Babel,

Or Cerberus himself pronounce

A leash of languages at once."

Abounding, moreover, in fantastic trifles and Rabbinical reveries, it must appear almost incredible that any sane man could exhibit such acumen and such ardor in the invention of those unintelligible comments, in those nice scrupulosities, and those ludicrous chimeras which, the rabbins have solemnly published to the world, and of which we will speak further on.

II. Form And Style. In general, the Gemara takes the shape of scholastic discussions, more or less prolonged, on the consecutive portions of the Mishna. On a cursory view, it is true, these discussions have the air of a desultory and confused wrangle; but, when studied more carefully, they resolve themselves into a system governed by a methodology of its own. "Non vero sterilis in Mishnicam commentarius Gemara est; quae illius tantuim modo verba explicet. Sed Prolixas in ear Instituit Disputationes, queestiones proponendas et ad eas respondendo dubia movendo, eaque solvendo, excipiendo et replicando" (Wahner, Antiq. Hebr. 1, 339).

The language of the Talmud is partly Hebrew and partly Aramaic. The best Hebrew of the work is in the text of the Mishna, that in the Gemara being largely debased with exotic words of various tongues, such as Latin, Greek, Arabic, Coptic, and Persian (comp. A. Brull, Fremdsprachliche Redensarten in den Talmuden und Midrashim [Leips. 1869]), barbarous spelling, and uncouth grammatical, or rather ungrammatical, forms. The same remark will apply to the Aramaic portions, which, in general, are those containing popular narrative, or legendary illustration, while the law principles and the discussions relating to them are embodied in Hebrew. Many forms of the Talmudic dialect are so peculiar as to tender a grammar adapted to the work itself greatly to be desired. Ordinary Hebrew grammar will not take a man through a page of it. (See Rabbinical Dialect).

In style the Mishna is remarkable for its extreme conciseness, and the Gemara is written upon the same model, though not so frequently obscure. The prevailing principle of the composition seems to have been the employment of the fewest words, thus rendering the work a constant brachylogy. A phrase becomes a focus of many thoughts, a solitary word an anagram, a cipher for a whole subject of reflection. To employ an appropriate expression of Delitzsch," What Jean Paul says of the style of Haman applies exactly to that of the Talmud: "It is a firmament of telescopic stars, containing many a cluster of light which no unaided eye has ever resolved" (Zur Geschichte der j Ü dischen Poesie [Leips. 1836], p. 31). But without regard to grammatical and linguistic difficulties and numberless abbreviations which crowd the pages of the Talmud, there are a number of so-called termini technici, which were current only in the Rabbinical schools, but have been incorporated in the Gemara, like joints and ligaments in its organization, so as to make the knowledge of them indispensable to the student. Such termini were

1. The Explication, or פירוש , which is introduced by the formulae מאי כ , ִ "What is this?" מאי קאמר , "What does he say?" במאי איקמינן , "How is this to bte understood?" במאי עסקינן , "What is the matter here?" מאן דכר שמה , "Who could think of such a thing?" היכי דמי , "How have we to interpret this?"

2. The Question, Or שאלה . If a question is offered by one school to another, it is introduced by the formula איבעיא להו , "They propose to them;" if from several persons to one, the formula is בעו מיניה , "They ask of him;" or if the demand is made of one person to another, it is בעא מיניה , "I ask of him."

3. The Response, or תשובה , which may Consist either in strong reasons ( פשטא or תירווֹ ) or in strong objections ( פירכא or קושיא ), is introduced by the formula מנא לן , "Whence have you this?" or מאי הוי עלה , "You wish to know the decision in this case."

4. Tosiphta, or תוספתא , an appendix to the Mishna. We have seen that R. Chiya, or, as some have it, R. Nehemya under his direction, composed a work of this descripttt6n in Palestine, the substance of which is diffused in citations throughout the Talmud. They are indicated by the sign-word Tana, תאנא , "He teaches," or Vetanialey, ותני עלי , "It is taught.hereupon," prefixed to the sentence.

5. Boraztha, or ברייתא , another kind of supplement to the Mishna. Such are the books Siphra, Siphre, and Mechiltha, mentioned above. When a citation is adduced from a Boraitha in the Talmud, it is introduced by one of these forms: Tanu Rabbandn, תנו רבנן , "Our rabbins have taught;" Tani Chada, תני חדא , "A certain (rabbi) has taught," etc.

6. The Suspense, or תיקו , is used when a case cannot be decided either Pro or Con, and thus this formula is used, which according to some contains the initials of יתרוֹ קושיות ואיבעיות תשבי , i.e. "the Tishbite (viz., Elijah, at his coming) will explain all objections and inquiries." Others, however, pretend that it is an abbreviation of תיקנם , "It remains In State Quo."

7. The Objection, or קושיא , a question not of a fixed Halakah, which is irrefragable, but of some position of the Amoraim or perhaps Tanaim, which is lawfully debatable, and is introduced by the formulae תא שמע , "Come and hear;" שמע מינה , "Hear of this;" אי הכי , "If so;" אלמא , "Therefore;" מחלוקת בזה , "There is a controversy in this case;" במאי קא מיפלגי , "What is the ground of the controversy?" סלקא דעת , ִ "Thon couldst suppose."

8. The Refutation, or תיובתא , is used in order to uphold the authority of the Bible ( מן הפסוק ) against a Tanaite, and to oppose the authority of a Tanaite against that of one of the Amolraim, and is introduced by the formula תיובתא , תיובתא , "This objection is truly of great weight."

9. The Contradiction, or רמיה , an objection thrown against a sentiment or opinion by the allegation of a contrary authority, and is introduced by the formula ורמינהי , "But I oppose this."

10. The Argumentation, or התקפתא , "an assailing or seizing upon," is a kind of objection in use only among the later Amoraim, and is introduced by ר פלוני מתקי לה , "Rabbi N. objects to this." If this objection is not refuted, it takes the value of Halakah.

11. The Solution, or פירוק , is the explanatory answer to the objection (see supra 7).

12. The Infirmation, or שנוי , "disowning or shifting off," when a sage, sorely pressed in debate, shifts off his thesis upon another, introducing this by the formula מני הא , "But whose is this sentence."

13. The Appui, or סיוע , "support," is a corroborative evidence for a doctrine or principle, introduced by the formula לימא מסייע ליה , "It can be said," "There is support for it."

14. The Necessity, or הצרכה , This term is used in order to justify a sentence or a word, or even a single letter, which seems superfluous in the Bible or in the Mishna, and is introduced by the formula הא זו למה לי , "What is this for?" To which is answered, צריכא , "It is absolutely necessary."

15. The accord, or שוטה , "series," a catena or line of Talmudic teachers, cited against a given proposition.

16. Sugia, סוגיא , means the proper nature of a thing. By this word the Gemara refers to itself with regard to its own properties and characteristics.

17. Hilkatha, הלכתא , is the ultimate conclusion on a matter debated, henceforth constituting a rule of conduct. Much of the Gemara consists of discussions by which they are verified, confirmed, and designated. When the advocates of two opposing theses have brought the debate to an issue, they say, "The Halacta is with such a one" הלכתא כן וכן .

18. Maasah, or מעשה , Factum, the establishment of a Halacta by cases of actual experience or practice.

19. Shematetha, שמעתתא , "to hear," describes a judgment or principle which, being founded on Holy Writ, or being of self-evident authority, must be hearkened to as incontestable.

20. Horaah, הוראה , "demonstration," doctrine, legitimate and authoritative.

21. Hagadah, הגדה , "a saying," incident related, anecdote or legend employed in the way of elucidation. Hagadah is not law, but it serves to illustrate law.

III. Literary And Moral Character Of The Book. Since the Gemara is in general only a more complete development of the Mishna, it also comprises all the primary elements of the Mishna mentioned above, which are, however, intermixed with an endless variety of Hagadoth, i.e. anecdotes and illustrations, historical and legendary, poetical allegories, charming parables, with epithalamiums, etc., and thus making the Talmud contain all and everything, or as Buxtorf (in Praefat. Lex. Chald. et Talmud.) says:

"Sunt enim in Talmud adhuc multa quoque Theologica sana, quamvis plulrimis inutilibus corticibus, ut Majemon, licubi loquitur, involuta. Sunt inu eo) multa fida antiquiatis Judaicee collapsse veluti rudela et-vestigia, ad convincendam posterorum Judseorum perfidiam, ad illustraudam utriusque Testamenti historiam, ad recte explicandos ritsus, leges, consuetudines populi Hebraei prisci, plurimum conducentia. Sunt in eo multa Juridica, Medica, Physica, Ethica, Politica, Astronomica et aliarum scientiarum praeclara documenta, quae istius gentis et temporis historiam mirifice commendantlt. Sullti eoa illustria ex antiquitate proverbia, insignes sententise, acuta apophthegmata, scite prudenterque dicta innumera, quse lectorem vel meliorem, vel sapientiorem, vel doctiorem reddere possutlt, et ceu rutilantes gemmse non minus Hebrseam linguam exornant, quam omn.es Latii et Grseciea flosculi suas linguas condecorant. Sunt in eo multae vocum myriades, quae vel voces in Scripturse Sacrae usu raras illustrant, et native explicant,vel totins linguae Hebraicse et Chaldaese usum insigniter complent et perficiuut, qui alioqui in defectn maximno mutilus et mancls jaceret."

In order to illustrate this, we will give a few specimens of such Hagadoth for the benefit of the reader:

God is represented as praying. R. Jochaana says, in the name of R. Josi, How is it proved that the Holy One, blessed be he, does pray? From  Isaiah 56:7, "I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer." Mark, it is not said, their prayer, but my prayer; therefore it is conclusively proved that he prays. And what does he pray? R. Zutra, the son of Tobia, said, in the name of Rav, the following is the divine prayer: "May it please me that my mercies shall prevail over mine anger, that the bowels of my compassion may be extended, that I may mercifully deal with my children and keep justice in abeyance." In corroboration of this, the following story is given. It is told by R. Ismael, the son of Elisha. Once I went into the Holy of Holies for the purpose of burning incense, and I saw Acathriel Jah, the Lord, sitting upon the high and exalted throne. And he said to me, Ismael, my son, bless me! and I addressed to him the above prayer, and he shook his head (Berakoth, p. 7, Colossians 1).

But if God prays, then he must, also put on phylacteries. Even upon this point the rabbins do not leave us in ignorance. Where is it proved that God puts on phylacteries? In  Isaiah 62:8, where we read, "The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength." By the term right hand is meant the law, as it is written, "From his right hand went a fiery law for them" ( Deuteronomy 33:2); and by the term arm of his strength is meant phylacteries, as it is written, "The Lord will give strength to his people," etc. ( Berakoth, p. 6, Colossians 1). Moreover, God has actually shown his phylacteries to Moses. It is written, "And I will take away mine hands, and thou shalt see my back parts" ( Exodus 33:23). R. Chana, the son of Bisna, says, in the name of R. Shimeon Chasida, "From this passage we learn' that the Holy One, blessed be he, has shown to Moses the tie of the phylacteries, which lies on the back part of his head" ( Berakoth, p. 7, Colossians 1). If God prays, then, in the language of the rabbins, he is conscious of some personal feeling. They are not silent on this point. For example, the school of Ishmael have taught that peace is a very important matter, and that for its sake even God prevaricated. For it is written in Genesis 18 :first that Sarah said, "My Lord is old;" but afterwards it is written she said, "And I am old" (Yebamoth, p. 65, Colossians 2; see as 7 Baba Metsia, p. 87, Colossians 1).

God is represented as needing a sacrifice to atone for himself. R. Shimeon, the son of Pazi, asked, It is written, "And God made two great lights;" and again, the greater light and the lesser light; how does this agree? Ans. The moon said to the Holy One, blessed be he-Lord of the universe, is it possible for two kings to use one crown?

He said to her, Go and make thyself smaller. She said to him again, Lord of the universe, because I spoke to thee reasonably, should I make myself smaller? He said, in order to comfort her, Go and rule day and night. She said to him, What advantage will this be to me? Of what use is a candle in the middle of the day? He replied, Go and let Israel number the days of the year by thee. She said, It is impossible even for the sun that the calendar should be reckoned after him only, for it is written, "Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years?" He said to her, Go, and the righteous will be called by thy name; such as Jacob the little, Samuel the little, David the little, etc. But when God saw that the moon was not quite comforted with these promises, he said, Bring ye a sacrifice to atone for me, because I lessened the size of the moon. And this corresponds with the saying of R. Shimeou, the son of Lakish: Why is the monthly sacrifice distinguished from others, inasmuch as it is written concerning it, "And one kid of the goats for a sin-offering unto the Lord?" ( Numbers 28:15). Because God said, This kid shall be an atonement for that I have lessened the size of the moon (Chulin, p. 60, Colossians 2). Raba barbar Chana, in telling a long story, says, "I heard a Bath-kol crying, Woe to me that I have sworn! And now since I have sworn, who will absolve me from my oath? (Baba Bathra, p. 74, Colossians 1).

Occupation of God. On one occasion Abyathon found Elijah, and asked him. What does the Holy One, blessed be he, do? He answered, He is studying the case of the concubine of Gibea. [We do not give this excerpt in full.] And what is his opinion, about it? He says that Abyathon, my Son, is right; and Jonathan, my son, is also right. Is there, their, a doubt in heaven about it? No, not in-the least, rejoined Elijah; but both opinions are the words of the living God (G Ö tting p. 6, Colossians 2).

Rabba, the son of Shila, met Elijah, and asked him, "What does; the Holy One, blessed be he, do?" Elijah replied, "He recites the lessons he hears from the lips of all the rabbins, with the exception of rabbi Meir. But why does he not want to learn from rabbi Meir?" Elijah answered, "Because rabbi Meir learned from one with the name of Acher." Rabba said, "But rabbi Meir found a pomegranate, and has eaten the inside, but thrown away the husks of it, i.e. he only learned from Acher, but did not practice his deeds." Elijah answered, "Now God says, Meir, my son" (Chagigah, p. 15, Colossians 2).

R. Abhu says, If there had not been a passage of Scripture for it, it would be impossible to make such a statement; but it is written, "In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond. the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard" ( Isaiah 7:20).God appeared to Sennacherib in the form of an old man. Sennacherib said to him, If thou shouldst go to the kings of the east and the west, whose children I have taken away and killed, what wouldst thou say to them? He answered, I would say to them that this man, i.e. Sennacherib, sits also in fear. Sennacherib said, What then shall I do? God said, Go and disguise thyself, that they should not recognize thee. How shall I disguise myself? God said, Go and bring me a razor, and I will shave thee. Sennacherib replied, From where shall I bring thee a razor?' God said, Go to that house, and bring it me. He went there and found one. Then angels came, and appeared to, him in the form of men; and were grinding olive-seeds. He said to them, Give me a razor. They replied, Crush one measure of olive-seeds, and we will give the razor. He did so and they gave it to him. Before he returned to God it became dark. God said to him, Bring a light. And he brought coals of fire to make a light and while he was blowing them, the, flame took hold of his beard; and thus God shaved his head and beard (Sanhedrin, p. 96, Colossians 1).

The schools of Hillel and of Shammai were disputing for three years about a certain point in the law; each side maintained that it was infallibly right. At last a Bath-kol came down from heaven and said, The opinions of both are the words of the living God, but the law is as the school of Hillel (Erubin, p. 13, Colossians 2). R. Joshua, the son of Levi, says, When Moses came down from the presence of God, Satan appeared before him and said, Lord of the universe, where is the law? God replied, I have given it to the earth. He went to the earth and asked, Where is the law? The earth answered, God understandeth the way thereof ( Job 28:23). He went to the sea and asked, Where is the law? The sea, said, It is not in me. He went to the depth, and asked the same question. The depth said, It is not in me; Destruction and death said, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears (ibid.). So he returned to God and said, Lord of the universe, I have searched for it all over the earth, and have not found it. God said to him, Go to the son of Amram. He came to Moses, and said to him, The law which God gave thee, where is it? Moses replied to Satan, Who am I, that God should give me a law! Thereupon of God said to Moses, Art thou a liar? Moses answered, "Lord of the universe, thou hast a precious treasure, which is thy daily delight, and should I claim it for my own advantage? God said to him, Because thou didst think little of thyself, the law shall be called after thy name. As it is written, "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant"( Malachi 4:4). Rabbi Joshua continues to narrate: When Moses went up to heaven, he found God Occupied In Twisting Wreaths for the letters- (of the law). And he called, Moses! is there no peace in thy city? i.e. that thou didst not salute me with a salaam? Moses answered, Is it customary that a servant should salute his master? God said, Thou oughtest to have helped me; i.e. thou shouldst have wished me success in my work. Immediately Moses said to him, "And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord is great, according as thou hast spoken" ( Numbers 14:17) (Sabbath, p. 89, Colossians 1).

These are only a few of the many examples which crowd the pages of the Talmud. That these stories are extravagant, and often, when taken literally, absurd, no one can deny. But they must be merely regarded as to their meaning and intention. Much has been said against the Talmud on account of the preposterous character of some of these legends. But we should give the Hebrew literati the benefit of their own explanations. They tell us that in the Talmud the Hagadah has no absolute authority, nor any value except in the way of elucidation. It often-but not always-enwraps a philosophic meaning under the veil of allegory, mythic folk-lore, ethical story, Oriental romance, parable, and aphorism and fable. They deny that the authors of these fancy pieces intended either to add to the law of God or to detract from it by them, but only to explain and enforce it in terms best suited to the popular capacity. They caution us against receiving these things according to the letter, and admonish us to understand them-according to their spiritual or moral import. "Beware," says Maimonides, "that you take not the words of the wise men literally, for this would be degrading to the sacred doctrine, and sometimes contradict it. Seek rather the hidden sense; and if you cannot find the kernel, let the shell alone, and confess, I cannot understand this.'" But the impartial reader must at once admit that these suggestions are merely the after-thoughts of tender apologists, for some of these stories have no hidden sense at all, but must be taken literally, because meant so, as the following will prove.

In the treatise Gittin, fol. 69, Colossians 1, we read the following prescription: "For the bleeding at the nose, let a man be brought who is a priest, and whose name is Levi, and let him write the word Levi backwards. If this cannot be done, get a layman, and let him write the following words backwards: Ana pipi Shila bar Sumki;' or let him write these words: Taam dli bemi keseph, taam li bemi paggan.' Or let him take a root of grass, and the cord of an old bed, and paper and saffron and the red part of the inside of a palm-tree, and let him burn them together; and let him take some wool and twist two threads, and let him dip them in vinegar, and then roll them in the ashes and put them into his nose. Or let him look out for a small stream of: water that flows from east to west, and let him go and stand with one leg on each side of it, and let him take with his right hand some mud from under his left foot, and with his left hand from under his right foot, and let him twist two threads of wool, and dip them in the mud, and put them into his nostrils. Or let him be placed under a spout, and let water be brought and poured upon him, and let them say, As this water ceases to flow, so let the blood of M., the son of the woman N., also cease." A commentary on this wisdom or folly is superfluous. That this direction to stop a bleeding at the nose is not a rare case in the Talmud, the following mode of treatment for the scratch, or bite of a mad dog will prove. In the treatise Yoma, fol. 83, Colossians 1, we read: "The rabbins have handed down the tradition that there are five things to be observed of a mad dog; his mouth is open, his saliva flows, his ears hang down, his tail is between his legs, and he goes by the sides of the ways. Some say, also, that he barks, but his voice is not heard. What is the cause of his madness? Ray says it proceeds from this, that the witches are making their sport with him. Samuel says it is an evil spirit that rests upon him. What is the difference? The difference is this, that in the latter case he is to be killed by some missile weapon. The tradition agrees with Samuel, for it says in killing him no other mode is to be used but the casting of some missile weapon. If a mad dog scratch any one, he is in danger; but if he bite him he will die. In case of scratch there is danger; what, then, is the remedy? Let the man cast off his clothes and run away. Rab Huna, the son of Rab Joshua, was once scratched in the street by one of them; he immediately cast off his clothes and ran away. He also says, I fulfilled in myself these words: Wisdom -gives life to them that have it' ( Ecclesiastes 6:12). In case of a bite the man will die; what, then, is the remedy? Abai says he must take the skin of a male adder and write upon it these words I, M., the son of the woman N., upon the skin of a male adder, I write against thee, Kanti, Kanti, Klirus.

Some say, Kandi, Kandi, Klurus, Jah, Jah, Lord of hosts, Amen, Amen, Selah.' Let him also cast off his clothes and bury them in the graveyard for twelve months of the year; then let him take them up and burn them in an oven, and let him scatter the ashes at the parting of the roads. But during these twelve months of the year, when he drinks water, let him drink out of nothing but a brass tube, lest he should see the phantom-form of the daemon and be endangered. This was tried by Abba the son of Martha, who is the same as Abba the son of Manjumi. His mother made a golden tube for him."

In the face of such extravagancies, we are not surprised at the following statement made by a modern Jewish writer, H. Hurwitz, in an essay preceding his Hebrew Tales (Lond. 1826), p. 34 sq.

"The Talmud contains many things which every enlightened Jew must sincerely wish had either never appeared there, or should, at least, long ago have been expunged from its pages... Some of these sayings are objectionable per se; others are, indeed, susceptible of explanations, but without them are calculated to produce false and erroneous impressions. Of the former description are all those extravagancies relating to the extent of Paradise, the dimensions of Gehinnom, the size of Leviathan, and the shor habor, the freaks of Ashmbdai, etc., idle tales borrowed most probably from the Parthians and Arabians, to whom the Jews were subject before the promulgation of the Talmud. How these objectionable passages came at all to be inserted, can only be accounted for from the great reverence with which the Israelites of those days used to regard their wise men, and which made them look upon every word and expression that dropped from the mouth of their instructors as so many precious sayings well worthy of being preserved. These they wrote down for their own private information, together with more important matters, and when, in aftertimes, these writings were collected in order to be embodied in one entire work, the collectors, either from want of proper discrimination or from some pious motive, suffered them to remain, and thus they were handed down to posterity. That the wiser portion of the nation never approved of them is well known. Nay, that some of the Talmudists themselves regard them with no favorable eye is plain from the bitter terms in which they spoke against them [for example, Jehoshua ben Levi, who exclaims: "He who writes them down will have no portion in the world to come; he who explains them will be scorched"]... I admit, also, that there are many and various contradictions in the Talmud, and, indeed, it would be a miracle if there were none. For the work contains not the opinions of only a few individuals living in the same society, under precisely similar circumstances, but of hundreds, nay, thousands, of learned men of various talents, living in a long series of ages, in different countries, and under the most diversified conditions... To believe that its multifarious contents are all dictates of unerring wisdom is as extravagant as to suppose that all it contains is founded in error. Like all other productions of unaided humanity, it is not free from mistakes and prejudices, to remind us that the writers were fallible men, and that unqualified admiration must, be reserved for the works of divine inspiration, which we ought to study, the better to adore and obey the all-perfect Author. But while I should be among the first to protest against any confusion of the Talmudic rills with the ever-flowing stream of Holy Writ, I do not hesitate to avow my doubts whether there exists any uninspired work of equal antiquity that contains more interesting, more various and valuable information than that of the still-existing remains of the ancient Hebrew sages."

But while we admire the candor of this Jewish writer, we must confess that not all of his coreligionists act on the same principle, as the sequel will prove. An article in the Quarterly Review for October, 1867, with the heading "What is the Talmud?" has taken the world by surprise. Such a panegyric the Talmud most likely never had. Written so learnedly, and in a style so attractive, about a subject utterly unknown to the world at large, the stir it has created is not to be wondered at, and the more: so because this article contained sentences which could not have emanated from a Jew. But the writer was a Jew, Mr. E. Deutsch (since deceased), and what Isaac said to Jacob, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau," must be applied to the author of "What is the Talmud?" We cannot pass over this article by merely alluding to it; it deserves our full attention, on account of the mischief it has already wrought, and must work, in the minds of those who are not able to correct the erroneous statements contained in it.

The writer accuses (p. 4 of the American reprint, contained in the Literary Remains [N. Y. 1874]) the investigators of the Talmud of mistaking the grimy stone caricatures over our cathedrals for the gleaming statues of the saints within. But, entering into the cathedrals of the Talmud and beholding these saints, we hear, in the treatise Aboda Sara, fol. 17, Colossians 1, of rabbi Elieser, שלא הניח זונה אחת בעולם שלא בא עליה (we dare not translate this sentence into English, but we give it in Latin: "Non erat meretrix in terra quacum non fornicatus esset"). When rabbi Nachman (we read Tr. Yona, fol. 12, Colossians 2) went to Shanuzib, he proclaimed רב כי מקלע לתרשיש מכריז מאן הויא ליומא (this also we dare not translate into English, but we give it in Latin: "Rab quum Tarsum intraret proclamabat quam vellet luxorem in diem"). Of rabbi Abuha we read (Tr. Berakoth, fol. 44, cl. 1) that he was such a strong eater that a fly could not rest upon his forehead; and (Ibid.) of rabbi Ami and rabbi Assi that they ate so much that the hair fell from their heads; and of rabbi Simeon, the son of Lakesh, that he ate so much that he lost his senses. In Tr. Baba Metsia, fol. 84, Colossians 1, we read that rabbi Ismael, the son of rabbi Jose, and rabbi Eleazar, the son of rabbi Simeon, were so corpulent that when they stood face to face a pair of oxen could pass under them without touching them. Of the honesty of rabbi Samuel and rabbi Cahauna we read a nice story in Tr. Baba Kamma, fol. 113, Colossians 2, which we had better pass over, for enough has been said of some of the Talmudical saints.

The writer in the Quarterly is astonished at the fact that the Talmud has so often been burned. But it is an old saying, "Habent sua fata libelli." The followers of the Arabian prophet burned the great library at Alexandria, and they still do the same with every book which they believe is written against their religion. The Jews have burned and excommunicated the books of their own great Maimonides (q.v.), and considered him a heretic. They have burned, and still burn, the Hebrew Old Test. because of the Latin headings and crosses, to say nothing of the New Test. The Roman Catholics burn the Protestant Bible. Why should the Talmud have escaped? Besides, ignorance and fanaticism, in all ages and countries, have burned the books which they supposed were against their system. This was especially the case with the Talmud, A.D. 1240, when a conference was held in Paris between Nicolaus Donin and some Jewish rabbins concerning certain blasphemies contained in the Talmud and written against Jesus and Mary. R. Jechiel, the most prominent of the Jewish rabbins at that conference, would not admit that the Jesus spoken of in the Talmud was Jesus of Nazareth, but another Jesus, a discovery which was copied by later writers. But modern Jews acknowledge the failure of this argument, for, says Dr. Levin, in his prize-essay Die Religions disputation des R. Jechiel von Paris, etc., published in Gratz's Monatsschrift (1869), p. 193, "We must regard the attempt of R. Jechiel to ascertain that there were two by the name of Jesus as unfortunate, original as the idea may be." The result of this conference was that the Talmud in wagon-loads was burned at Paris in 1242. This was the first attack.

When, however, the writer in the Quarterly states that Justinian in A.D. 553 already honored the Talmud by a special interdictory novella (146 Περὶ ῾Εβραίων ), we must regard such a statement as erroneous and superficial, for, as Dr. Gratz, in his Gesch. der Juden, 5, 392, shows, this novella has no reference to the Talmud at all (comp. also vol. 7 [1873],p. 441 sq.). In our days, such accusations against the Talmud as that preferred by Donin were impossible, because all these offensive passages have been removed not so much by the hands of the censor, as by the Jews themselves, as the following document or circular letter, addressed by a council of elders, convened in Poland in the Jewish year 5391 (i.e. A.D. 1631), to their coreligionists, which at the same time contains the clue why in later editions of the Talmud certain passages are wanting, will show. The circular runs thus in the translation of Ch. Leslie (in A Short and Easy Method with the Jews3 p. 2 sq. [Lond. 1812], where the original Hebrew is also found): "Great peace to our beloved brethren of the house of Israel. "Having received information that many Christians have applied themselves with great care to acquire the knowledge of the language in which our books are written, we therefore enjoin you, under the penalty of the great ban (to be inflicted upon such of you as shall transgress this our statute), that you do not, in any new edition either of the Mishna or Gemara, publish anything relative to Jesus of Nazareth; and you take special care not to write anything concerning him, either good or bad, so that neither ourselves nor our religion may be exposed to any injury. For we know what those men of Belial, the Munirim, have done to us, when they became Christians and how their representations against ns have obtained credit. Therefore, let this make you cautious. If you should not pay strict attention to this our letter, but act contrary thereto, and continue to

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

tal´mud ( תּלמוּד , talmūdh ):

I. Preliminary Remarks And Verbal Explanati ONS

II. Importance Of The Talmud

III. The Traditional Law Until The Compositio N Of The Mishna

IV. Division And Contents Of The Mishna (AND The Talmud )

1. Zeraim, "Seeds"

2. Moedh, "Feasts"

3. Nashim, "Women"

4. Neziqin, "Damages"

5. Kodhashim, "Sacred Things"

6. Teharoth, "Clean Things"

V. The Palestinian Talmud

VI. The Babylonian Talmud

VII. The Non-Canonical Little Treatises And T HE Tosephta '

1. Treatises after the 4th Sedher

2. Seven Little Treatises


The present writer is, for brevity's sake, under necessity to refer to his Einleitung in den Talmud , 4th edition, Leipzig, 1908. It is quoted here as Introduction .

There are very few books which are mentioned so often and yet are so little known as the Talmud. It is perhaps true that nobody can now be found, who, as did the Capuchin monk Henricus Seynensis, thinks that "Talmud" is the name of a rabbi. Yet a great deal of ignorance on this subject still prevails in many circles. Many are afraid to inform themselves, as this may be too difficult or too tedious; others (the anti-Semites) do not want correct information to be spread on this subject, because this would interfere seriously with their use of the Talmud as a means for their agitation against the Jews.

I. Preliminary Remarks and Verbal Explanations.

(1) משׁנה , Mishnāh , "the oral doctrine and the study of it" (from shānāh , "to repeat," "to learn," "to teach"), especially ( a ) the whole of the oral law which had come into existence up to the end of the 2nd century AD; ( b ) the whole of the teaching of one of the rabbis living during the first two centuries Ad ( tannā' , plural tannā'ı̄m ); ( 100 ) a single tenet; ( d ) a collection of such tenets; ( e ) above all, the collection made by Rabbi Jehudah (or Judah) ha-Nasi'.

(2) גּמרא , Gemārā' , "the matter that is leaned" (from gemar , "to accomplish," "to learn"), denotes since the 9th century the collection of the discussions of the Amoraim, i.e. of the rabbis teaching from about 200 to 500 AD.

(3) תּלמוּד , Talmūdh , "the studying" or "the teaching," was in older times used for the discussions of the Amoraim; now it means the Mishna with the discussions thereupon.

(4) הלכה , Hălākhāh (from hālakh , "to go"): ( a ) the life as far as it is ruled by the Law; ( b ) a statutory precept.

(5) הגּדה , Haggādhāh (from higgı̄dh , "to tell"), the non-halakhic exegesis.

II. Importance of the Talmud.

Commonly the Talmud is declared to be the Jewish code of Law. But this is not the case, even for the traditional or "orthodox" Jews. Really the Talmud is the source whence the Jewish Law is to be derived. Whosoever wants to show what the Jewish Law says about a certain case (point, question) has to compare at first the Shulḥān ‛ārūkh with its commentary, then the other codices (Maimonides, Alphasi, etc.) and the Responsa , and finally the Talmudic discussions; but he is not allowed to give a decisive sentence on the authority of the Talmud alone (see Intro , 116,117; David Hoffmann, Der Schulchan-Aruch , 2nd edition, Berlin, 1894,38, 39). On the other hand, no decision is valid if it is against the yield of the Talmudic discussion. The liberal (Reformed) Jews say that the Talmud, though it is interesting and, as a Jewish work of antiquity, ever venerable, has in itself no authority for faith and life.

For both Christians and Jews the Talmud is of value for the following reasons: (1) on account of the language, Hebrew being used in many parts of the Talmud (especially in Haggadic pieces), Palestinian Aramaic in the Palestinian Talmud, Eastern Aramaic in the Babylonian Talmud (compare "Literature," (7), below). The Talmud also contains words of Babylonian and Persian origin; (2) for folklore, history, geography, natural and medical science, jurisprudence, archaeology and the understanding of the Old Testament (see "Literature," (6), below, and Introduction , 159-75). For Christians especially the Talmud contains very much which may help the understanding of the New Testament (see "Literature," (12), below).

III. The Traditional Law Until the Composition of the Mishna.

The Law found in the Torah of Moses was the only written law which the Jews possessed after their return from the Babylonian exile. This law was neither complete nor sufficient for all times. On account of the ever-changing conditions of life new ordinances became necessary. Who made these we do not know. An authority to do this must have existed; but the claim made by many that after the days of Ezra there existed a college of 120 men called the "Great Synagogue" cannot be proved. Entirely untenable also is the claim of the traditionally orthodox Jews, that ever since the days of Moses there had been in existence, side by side with the written Law, also an oral Law, with all necessary explanations and supplements to the written Law.

What was added to the Pentateuchal Torah was for a long time handed down orally, as can be plainly seen from Josephus and Philo. The increase of such material made it necessary to arrange it. An arrangement according to subject-matter can be traced back to the 1st century AD; very old, perhaps even older, is also the formal adjustment of this material to the Pentateuchal Law, the form of Exegesis (Midrash). Compare Introduction , 19-21.

A comprehensive collection of traditional laws was made by Rabbi Aḳiba circa 110-35 AD, if not by an earlier scholar. His work formed the basis of that of Rabbi Mē'ı̄r , and this again was the basis of the edition of the Mishna by Rabbi Jehudah ha-Nasi'. In this Mishna, the Mishna par excellence , the anonymous portions generally, although not always, reproduce the views of Rabbi Mē'ı̄r . See Tiberias .

The predecessors Rabbi (as R. Jehudah ha-Nasi', the "prince" or the "saint," is usually called), as far as we know, did not put into written form their collections; indeed it has been denied by many, especially by German and French rabbis of the Middle Ages, that Rabbi put into written form the Mishna which he edited. Probably the fact of the matter is that the traditional Law was not allowed to be used in written form for the purposes of instruction and in decisions on matters of the Law, but that written collections of a private character, collections of notes, to use a modern term, existed already at an early period (see Intro , 10 ff).

IV. Division and Contents of the Mishna (and the Talmud).

The Mishna (as also the Talmud) is divided into six "orders" ( ṣedhārı̄m ) or chief parts, the names of which indicate their chief contents, namely, Zerā‛ı̄m , Agriculture; Mō‛ēdh , Feasts; Nāshı̄m , Women; Nezı̄ḳı̄n , Civil and Criminal Law; Ḳŏdhāshı̄m , Sacrifices; Ṭehārōth , Unclean Things and Their Purification.

The "orders" are divided into tracts ( maṣṣekheth , plural maṣṣikhtōth ), now 63, and these again into chapters ( pereḳ , plural peraḳı̄m ), and these again into paragraphs ( mishnāyōth ). It is Customary to cite the Mishna according to tract chapter and paragraph, e.g. Ṣanh . ( Ṣanhedhrı̄n ) x.1. The Babylonian Talmud is cited according to tract and page, e.g. ( Babylonian Talmud ) Shabbāth 30b; in citing the Palestinian Talmud the number of the chapter is also usually given, e.g. ( Palestinian Talmud ) Shabbāth vi. 8d (in most of the editions of the Palestinian Talmud each page has two columns, the sheet accordingly has four).

1. Zeraim, "Seeds":

(1) Berākhōth , "Benedictions": "Hear, [[O I]] srael" ( Deuteronomy 6:4 , shema' ); the 18 benedictions, grace at meals, and other prayers.

(2) Pē'āh , "Corner" of the field (  Leviticus 19:9 f;   Deuteronomy 24:19 ff).

(3) Demā'ı̄ , "Doubtful" fruits (grain, etc.) of which it is uncertain whether the duty for the priests and, in the fixed years, the 2nd tithe have been paid.

(4) Kil'ayim , "Heterogeneous," two kinds, forbidden mixtures (  Leviticus 19:19;  Deuteronomy 22:9 ff).

(5) Shebhı̄‛ı̄th , "Seventh Year," Sabbatical year (  Exodus 23:11;  Leviticus 25:1 ff); Shemiḳḳāh ( Deuteronomy 15:1 ff).

(6) Ṭerūmōth , "Heave Offerings" for the priests (  Numbers 18:8 ff;   Deuteronomy 18:4 ).

(7) Ma‛ăsērōth or Ma‛ăsēr rı̄'shōn , "First Tithe" (  Numbers 18:21 ff).

(8) Ma‛ăsēr shēnı̄ , "Second Tithe" (  Deuteronomy 14:22 ff).

(9) Ḥallāh , (offering of a part of the) "Dough" (  Numbers 15:18 ff).

(10) ‛Orlāh , "Foreskin" of fruit trees during the first three years (  Leviticus 19:23 ).

(11) Bikkūrı̄m , "First-Fruits" (  Deuteronomy 26:1 ff;   Exodus 23:19 ).

2. Moedh, "Feasts":

(1) Shabbāth (  Exodus 20:10;  Exodus 23:12;  Deuteronomy 5:14 ).

(2) ‛Ērūbhı̄n , "Mixtures," i.e. ideal combination of localities with the purpose of facilitating the observance of the Sabbatical laws.

(3) Pesāḥı̄m , "Passover" (  Exodus 12;  Leviticus 23:5 ff;   Numbers 28:16 ff;   Deuteronomy 16:1 ); Numbers 9, the Second Passover ( Numbers 9:10 ff).

(4) Sheḳālı̄m , "Shekels" for the Temple (compare   Nehemiah 10:33;  Exodus 30:12 ff).

(5) Yōmā' , "The Day" of Atonement (  Leviticus 16 ).

(6) Ṣukkāh , "Booth," Feast of Tabernacles (  Leviticus 23:34 ff;   Numbers 29:12 ff;   Deuteronomy 16:13 ff).

(7) Bēcāh , "Egg" (first word of the treatise) or Yōm ṭōbh , "Feast," on the difference between the Sabbath and festivals (compare   Exodus 12:10 ).

(8) Rō'sh ha - shānāh , "New Year," first day of the month Tishri (  Leviticus 23:24 f;   Numbers 29:1 ff).

(9) Ta‛ănı̄th , "Fasting."

(10) Meghillāh , "The Roll" of Esther, Purim (  Esther 9:28 ).

(11) Mō‛ēdh ḳāṭān , "Minor Feast," or Mashḳin , "They irrigate" (first word of the treatise), the days between the first day and the last day of the feast of Passover, and likewise of Tabernacles.

(12) Ḥăghı̄ghāh , "Feast Offering," statutes relating to the three feasts of pilgrimage (Passover, Weeks, Tabernacles); compare   Deuteronomy 16:16 f.

3. Nashim, "Women":

(1) Yebhāmōth , "Sisters-in-Law" (perhaps better, Yebhāmūth , Levirate marriage;   Deuteronomy 25:5 ff; compare Rth 4:5;   Matthew 22:24 ).

(2) Kethūbhōth , "Marriage Deeds."

(3) Nedhārı̄m , "Vows," and their annulment (  Numbers 30 ).

(4) Nāzı̄r , "Nazirite" (  Numbers 6 ).

(5) Giṭṭı̄n , "Letters of Divorce" (  Deuteronomy 24:1; compare  Matthew 5:31 ).

(6) Ṣōtāh , "The Suspected Woman" (  Numbers 5:11 ff).

(7) Ḳiddūshı̄n , "Betrothals."

4. Nezikin, "Damages":

(1) (2) and (3) Bābhā' ḳammā' , Bābhā' mecı̄‛ā' , Bābhā' bathrā' , "The First Gate," "The Second Gate," "The Last Gate," were in ancient times only one treatise called Nezı̄ḳı̄n  : ( a ) Damages and injuries and the responsibility; ( b ) and ( 100 ) right of possession.

(4) and (5) Ṣanhedhrı̄n , "Court of Justice," and Makkōth "Stripes" (  Deuteronomy 25:1 ff; compare   1 Corinthians 11:24 ). In ancient times only one treatise; criminal law and criminal proceedings.

(6) Shebhū‛ōth , "Oaths" (  Leviticus 5:1 ff).

(7) ‛Ēdhuyōth , "Attestations" of later teachers as to the opinions of former authorities.

(8) ‛Ǎbhōdhāh zārāh , "Idolatry," commerce and intercourse with idolaters.

(9) 'Ābhōth , (sayings of the) "Fathers"; sayings of the Tannā'ı̄m .

(10) Hōrāyōth , (erroneous) "Decisions," and the sin offering to be brought in such a case (  Leviticus 4:13 ff).

5. Kodhashim, "Sacred Things":

(1) Zebhāḥı̄m , "Sacrifices" (  Leviticus 1 ff).

(2) Menāḥōth , "Meal Offerings" (  Leviticus 2:5 ,  Leviticus 2:11 ff;   Leviticus 6:7 ff;   Numbers 5:15 ff, etc.).

(3) Ḥullı̄n , "Common Things," things non-sacred; slaughtering of animals and birds for ordinary use.

(4) Bekhōrōth , "The Firstborn" (  Exodus 13:2 ,  Exodus 13:12 f;   Leviticus 27:26 f, 32;   Numbers 8:6 ff, etc.).

(5) ‛Ǎrākhı̄n , "Estimates," "Valuations" of persons and things dedicated to God (  Leviticus 27:2 ff).

(6) Temūrāh , "Substitution" of a common (non-sacred) thing for a sacred one (compare   Leviticus 27:10 ,  Leviticus 27:33 ).

(7) Kerı̄thōth , "Excisions," the punishment of being cut off from Israel (  Genesis 17:14;  Exodus 12:15 , etc.).

(8) Me‛ı̄lāh , "Unfaithfulness," as to sacred things, embezzlement (  Numbers 5:6 ff;   Leviticus 5:15 f).

(9) Tāmı̄dh , "The Daily Morning and Evening Sacrifice" (  Exodus 29:38 ff; Nu   Exodus 38:3 ff).

(10) Middōth , "Measurements" of the Temple.

(11) Ḳinnı̄m , "Nests," the offering of two turtle-doves or two young pigeons (  Leviticus 1:14 ff;   Leviticus 5:1 ff;   Leviticus 12:8 ).

6. Teharoth, "Clean Things":

This title is used euphemistically for "unclean things":

(1) Kēlı̄m , "Vessels" (  Leviticus 6:20 f;   Leviticus 11:32 ff;   Numbers 19:14 ff;   Numbers 31:20 ff).

(2) 'Ǒholōth , "Tents," the impurity originating with a corpse or a part of it (compare   Numbers 19:14 ).

(3) Neghā‛ı̄m , "Leprosy" (  Leviticus 13;  14 ).

(4) Pārāh , "Red Heifer"; its ashes used for the purpose of purification (  Numbers 19:2 ff). See Heifer , Red .

(5) Ṭehārōth , "Clean Things," euphemistically for defilements.

(6) Mikwā'ōth , "Diving-Baths" (  Leviticus 15:12;  Numbers 31:33;  Leviticus 14:8;  Leviticus 15:5 ff; compare   Mark 7:4 ).

(7) Niddāh , "The Menstruous" (  Leviticus 15:19 ff; 12).

(8) Makhshı̄rı̄n , "Preparers," or Mashḳı̄n , "Fluids" (first word of the treatise). Seven liquids (wine, honey, oil, milk, dew, blood, water) which tend to cause grain, etc., to become defiled (compare   Leviticus 11:34 ,  Leviticus 11:37 f) .

(9) Zābhı̄m , "Persons Having an Issue," flux (  Leviticus 15 ).

(10) Ṭebhūl yōm , "A Person Who Has Taken the Ritual Bath during the Day," and is unclean until sunset (  Leviticus 15:5;  Leviticus 22:6 f).

(11) Yādhayim , "Hands," the ritual impurity of hands and their purification (compare   Matthew 15:2 ,  Matthew 15:20;  Mark 7:22 ff).

(12) ‛Uḳcı̄n , "Stalks," the conveyance of ritual impurity by means of the stalks and hulls of plants.

V. The Palestinian Talmud.

Another name, Talmūdh Yerūshalmı̄ ("Jerusalem Talmud"), is also old, but not accurate. The Palestinian Talmud gives the discussions of the Palestinian Amoraim, teaching from the 3century Ad until the beginning of the 5th, especially in the schools or academies of Tiberias, Caesarea and Sepphoris. The editions and the Leyden manuscript (in the other manuscripts there are but few treatises) contain only the four ṣedhārı̄m i-iv and a part of Niddāh . We do not know whether the other treatises had at any time a Palestinian Gemara. "The Mishna on which the Palestinian Talmud rests" is said to be found in the manuscript Add. 470,1 of the University Library, Cambridge, England (ed W.H. Lowe, 1883). The treatises ‛Ēdhuyōth and 'Ābhōth have no Gemara in the Palestinian Talmud or in the Babylonian.

Some of the most famous Palestinian Amoraim may be mentioned here (compare Introduction , 99 ff): 1st generation: Ḥānı̄nā bar Ḥāmā , Jannai , Jonathan , Osha‛ya , the Haggadist Joshua ben Levi  ; 2nd generation: Joḥannan bar Nappāḥā , Simeon ben Laḳish  ; 3generation: Samuel bar Naḥman , Levi , Eliezer ben Pedāth , Abbahu , Ze‛ira (i); 4th generation: Jeremiah , Aḥā' , Abı̄n (i), Jūdāh , Hūnā  ; 5th generation: Jonah , Phinehas , Berechiah , Jose bar Abin , Mānı̄ (ii), Tanhumā' .

VI. The Babylonian Talmud.

The Babylonian Talmud is later and more voluminous than the Palestinian Talmud, and is a higher authority for the Jews. In the first ṣēdher only Berākhōth has a Gemara; Sheḳālı̄m in the 2nd ṣēdher has in the manuscripts and in the editions the Palestinian Gemara; Middōth and Ḳinnı̄m in the 5th ṣēdher have no Babylonian Gemara. The greatest Jewish academies in Babylonia were in Nehardea, Ṣura , Pumbeditha and Maḥuza .

Among the greatest Babylonian Amoraim are the following (compare Introduction , 99 ff): 1st generation: Abba Arı̄khā or, shortly, Rab in Sura (died 247 AD). Mar Samuel in Nehardea (died 254 AD). 2nd generation: Rab Hūnā , Rab Judah (bar Ezekiel). 3generation: Rab Hiṣda , Rab Shēsheth , Rab Naḥman (bar Jacob), Rabbāh ( רבּה ) bar Ḥana , the story-teller, Rabbāh bar Naḥmānı̄ , Rab Joseph (died 323 AD). 4th generation: Abāye , Rābā ( רבא ) (bar Joseph). 5th generation: Rab Pāpā . 6th generation: Amēmar , Rab Āshı̄ .

VII. The Non-Canonical Little Treatises and the Tosephta.

In the editions of the Babylonian Talmud after the 4th ṣēdher we find some treatises which, as they are not without some interest, we shall not pass over in silence, though they do not belong to the Talmud itself (compare Introduction , 69 ff).

1. Treatises After the 4th Sedher:

(1) 'Ābhōth deRabbı̄ Nāthān , an expansion of the treatise 'Ābhōth , edition. S. Schechter, Vienna, 1887.

(2) Ṣōpherı̄m , edition Joel Muller, Leipzig, 1878.

(3) 'Ēbhel Rabbāthı̄ , "Mourning," or, euphemistically, Semāḥōth , "Joys."

(4) Kallāh , "Bride."

(5) Derekh 'erec , "Way of the World," i.e. Deportment; Rabbā' and Zūṭā' , "Large" and "Small."

2. Seven Little Treatises:

Septem Libri Talmudici parvi Hierolymitani , edition. R. Kirchheim, Frankfurt a. Main, 1851: Ṣēpher Tōrāh , Mezūzāh , Tephillı̄n , Cı̄cı̄th , ‛Ǎbhādhı̄m , Kūthı̄m (Samaritans), Gērı̄m (Proselytes).

The Tōṣephtā' , a work parallel to Rabbi's Mishna, is said to represent the views of R. Nehemiah, disciple of R. Aḳiba , edition. M. S. Zuckermandel, Posewalk, 1880. Zuckermandel tries to show that the Tōṣephtā' contains the remains of the old Palestinian Mishna, and that the work commonly called Mishna is the product of a new revision in Babylonia (compare his Tosephta, Mischna und Boraitha in ihrem Verhaltnis zu einander , 2 volumes, Frankfurt a. Main, 1908,1909).


(1) Introductions:

Hermann L. Strack, Einleitung in d. Talmud , 4th edition, Leipzig, 1908, in which other books on this subject are mentioned, pp. 139-44.

(2) Manuscripts (Introduction, 72-76):

There are manuscripts of the whole Mishna in Parma, in Budapest, and in Cambridge, England (the latter is published by W.H. Lowe, 1883). The only codex of the Palestinian Talmud is in Leyden; Louis Ginsberg, Yerushalmi Fragments from the Genizah , volume I, text with various readings from the editio princeps, New York, 1909 (372 pp., 4to). The only codex of the Babylonian Talmud was published whole in 1912 by the present writer: Talmud Babylonian codicis Hebrew Monacensis 95 phototypice depictum , Leyden (1140 plates, royal folio). On the manuscripts in the Vatican see S. Ochser, Zdmg , 1909,365-93,126, 822 f.

(3) Editions (Introduction, 76-81):

( a ) Mishna, editio princeps , Naples, 1492, folio, with the commentary of Moses Maimonides; Riva 501 Trento , 1559, folio, contains also the commentary of   Obadiah 501 Bertinoro. The new edition printed in Wilna contains a great number of commentaries ( b ) Palestinian Talmud, editio princeps , Venice, 1523 f, folio; Cracow, 1609, folio. Of a new edition begun by Asia Minor Luncz, Jerusalem, 1908 ff, two books, Berākhōth and Pē'āh , are already published. Another new critical edition, with German translation and notes, was begun in 1912 by G. Beer and O. Holtzman ( Die Mischna , Giessen). Compare also B. Ratner, Ahabath Tsijjon Wirushalayim, Varianten und Erganzungen des Jerusalem Talmuds , Wilna, 1901 ff. ( 100 ) Babylonian Talmud, editio princeps , Venice, 1520-23. The edition, Bale, 1578-81, is badly disfigured by the censorship of Marcus Marinus, Amsterdam, 1644-48, Berlin 1862-66. Compare R. Rabbinowicz, Variae Lectiones in Mishna et in Talmud Babylonicum , Munich, 1868-86, Przemysl, 1897 (the ṣedhārı̄m 3,6,5 in part are missing).

(4) Translations:

E. Bischoff, Krit. Geschichte d. Tal-mudubersetzungen , Frankfurt a. Main, 1899. ( a ) Mishna, Latin: Gull. Surenhusius, Amsterdam, 1698-1703 (contains also a translation of Maimonides and   Obadiah 501 Bertinoro); German.: J.J. Rabe, Onolzbach, 1760 ff; A. Saminter, D. Hoffmann and others, Berlin, 1887 ff (not yet complete); English: De Sola and Raphall, 18 Treatises from the Mishna , London, 1843; Josephus Barclay, The Talmud, a Translation of 18 Treatises , London, 1878 (but 7 treatises also in De Sola and Raphall; Fiebig, Ausgewahlte Mischnatractate , Tubingen, 1905 ff (annotated German translation). ( b ) Palestinian Talmud, Latin: 20 treatises in B. Ugolini, Thesaurus antiquitatum sacrarum , volumes Xvii-Xxx , Venice, 1755 ff. French: M. Schwab, Paris, 1878-89 (in 1890 appeared a 2nd edition of volume I). ( 100 ) Babylonian Talmud, German.: L. Goldschmidt, Berlin (Leipzig), 1897 ff; gives also the text of the 1st Venetian edition and some variant readings ( ṣedhārı̄m 1,2, and 4 are complete); A. Wunsche, Der Babylonian Talmud in seinen haggadischen Bestandteilen ubersetzt , Leipzig, 1886-89. English: M.L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud ... Translated into English , New York, 1896 ff (is rather an abridgment (unreliable)).

(5) Commentaries (Introduction, 146-51):

(A) Mishna:

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204),  Obadiah 501 Bertinoro (died 1510), Yōm - Ṭōbh Lipmann Heller (1579-1654), Israel Lipschutz.

(B) Babylonian Talmud:

Rashi or Solomon Yicḥāḳı̄ (died 1105); The Tōsāphōth (see L. Zunz, Zur Geschichte und Literatur , Berlin, 1845,29-60); Menahem ben Solomon or Mē'ı̄rı̄ (1249-1306); Solomon Luria (died 1573), commonly called Maharshal  ; Bezaleel Ashkenāzı̄ (16th century), author of the Shiṭṭāh Meḳubbeceth  ; Samuel Edels (1559-1631) or Maharsha'  ; Meir Lublin (died 1616); Elijah Wilna (died 1797); Aqiba Eger (died 1837).

(6) Single Treatises (Compare Introduction, 151-55):

(A) Mishna:

The present writer is publishing: Ausgewahlte Misnatraktate, nach Handschriften und alten Drucken (Text vokalisiert, Vokabular), ubersetzt und mit Berucksichtigung des Neuen Testaments erlautert , Leipzig (J. C. Hinrichs); Yōmā' , 3edition, 1912, ‛Ǎbhōdhāh Zārāh , 2nd edition, 1909, Pirḳē 'Ābhōth , 4th edition, 1914, Shabbāth , 2nd edition, 1914, Ṣanhedhrı̄n , Makkōth , 1910, Peṣāḥı̄m 1911, Berākhōth , 1914. This series is to be continued (H. Laible, e.g., is writing Nedharim); Ch. Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers , in Hebrew and English, 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1897; W. A. L. Elmslie, The Mishna on Idolatry , with Translation, Cambridge, 1911.

(B) Gemara, Berakhoth, German:

E. M. Pinner, Berlin, 1842, fol; Pē'āh (Palestintan Talmud), German.: J. J. Rabe, Ansbach, 1781; Ṣukkāh , Latin: F. B. Dachs, Utrecht, 1726,4to; Rō'sh ha - shānāh , German: M. Rawicz, Frankfurt a. Main, 1886; Ta‛ănı̄th German.: Straschun Halle, 1883; Ḥăghı̄ghāh , English: A. W. Streane Cambridge, 1891; Kethūbhōth , German: M. Rawicz, 1891; Ṣōtah , Latin: J. Chr. Wagenseil, Altdorf, 1674-78; Bābhā' Mecı̄‛ā' , German: A. Sammter, Berlin, 1876, fol; Ṣanhedhrı̄n , Latin: Ugolini, Thesaurus , volume Xxv , German.: M. Rawicz, 1892; ‛Ǎbhōdhāh Zārāh , German: F. Chr. Ewald, Nurnberg, 1856; Zebhāḥı̄n and Menāḥōth , Latin: Ugolini, Thesaurus , volume Xix; Hullı̄n , German: M. Rawicz, Offenburg, 1908; Tāmı̄dh , Latin: Ugolini, Thesaurus , Vol Xix .

(7) Helps for the Grammatical Understanding (Introduction, 155-58):

(A) Mishna:

M. H. Segal, "Misnaic Hebrew," Jqr , 1908,647-737; K. Albrecht, Grammatik des Neuhebraischen (Sprache der Mishna) , Munich, 1913;

(B) Talmud:

J. Levy, Neuhebr. und chald. Worterbuch , Leipzig, 1876-89; M. Jastrow, Dictionary of the ... Talmud Babylonian and Yerushalmi , New York, 1886-1903; W. Bacher, Die Terminologie der jud. Traditionsliteratur , Leipzig, 1905; G. Dalman, Grammatik des judischpalastin. Aramaisch , 2nd edition, Leipzig, 1905; C. Levias, Grammar of the Aramaic Idiom Contained in the Babylonian Talmud , Cincinnati, 1900; Max L. Margolis, Grammar of the Aramaic Language of the Babylonian Talmud with a Chrestomathy , Munich, 1909.

(8) The Haggadah (Introduction, 159-62):

The Haggadic elements of the Palestinian Talmud are collected by Samuel Jaffe in Yephēh Mar'eh , Constantinople, 1587, etc., those of the Babylonian by Jacob ibn Habib in ‛Ēn Ya‛ăḳōbh , Saloniki, about 1516, etc.; W. Bacher, Die Agada der Tannaiten , 2 volumes, Strassburg, 1884,1890 (1st volume, 2nd edition, 1903); Die A. der babylon. Amoraer , 1878; Die A. der palastinensischen Amoraer , 1892-99,3 volumes; P. T. Hershon, A T almudic Miscellany or 1001 Extracts , London, 1880; Treasures of the Talmud , London, 1882.

(9) Theology (Introduction, 162-65):

F. Weber, Judische Theologie , 2nd edition, Leipzig, 1897; J. Klausner, Die messianischen Vorstellungen des jud. Volkes im Zeitalter der Tannaiten , Berlin, 1904; R.T. Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash , London, 1903; H.L. Strack, Jesus, die Haretiker und die Christen nach den altesten jud. Angaben (texts, translation, commentary), Leipzig, 1910; L. Blau, Das altjudische Zauberwesen , Budapest, 1898; M. Lazarus, Die Ethik des Judentums , 2 volumes, Frankfurt a. Main, 1898,1911.

(10) The Talmud and the Old Testament (Introduction, 167 F):

G. Aicher, Das Altes Testament in der Mischna , Freiburg i. Baden, 1906; V. Aptowitzer, Das Schriftwort in der rabbin. Literatur , 4 parts, Wien, 1906-11 (to be continued; various readings in the quotations); P.T. Hershon, Genesis, with a Talmudical Commentary , London, 1883.

(11) The Talmud and the New Testament (Introduction, 165-67):

Joh. Lightfoot, Horae hebraicae et talmudicae, edition Leusden , 2 volumes, fol T, Franeker, 1699; Chr. Schottgen, Horae hebraicae et talmudicae in universum Novum Test ., 2 volumes, 4to, Dresden, 1733; Franz Delitzsch, "Horae hebraicae et talmudicae," in Zeitschrift fur die gesammte luther. Theologie u. Kirche , 1876-78; Aug. Wunsche, Neue Beitrage zur Erlauterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midrash , Goettingen, 1878; Th. Robinson, The Evangelists and the Mishna , London, 1859; W.H. Bennett, The Mishna as Illustrating the Gospels , Cambridge, 1884; Erich Bischoff, Jesus und die Rabbinen, Jesu Bergpredigt und "Himmelreich" in ihrer Unabhangigkeit vom Rabbinismus , Leipzig, 1905.

(12) Jurisprudence (Introduction, 169-71):

J. L. Saalschtitz, Das Mosaische Recht , 2nd edition, Berlin, 1853; Josephus Kohler, "Darstellung des talludischen Rechts," in Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft , 1908,161-264; Z. Frankel, Der gerichtliche Beweis nach mosaisch-talmud. Rechte , Berlin, 1846; P.B. Benny, The Criminal Code of the Jews , London, 1880; S. Mendelsohn, The Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews , Baltimore, 1891; H.B. Fassel, Das mosaisch-rabbinische Civilrecht, Gross-Kanischa , 2 volumes, 1852-54; Das mos.-rabb. Gerichtsverfahren in civilrechtl. Sachen , 1859; M. Mielziner, The Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce , Cincinnati, 1884; D.W. Amram, The Jewish Law of Divorce , Philadelphia, 1896; M. Rapaport, Der Talmud und sein Recht , Berlin, 1912.

(13) History (Introduction, 171 F):

J. Derenbourg, Histoire de la Palestine depuis Cyrus jusqu'a Adrien , Paris, 1867; L. Herzfeld, Handelsgeschichte der Juden des Altertums , 2nd edition, Braunschweig, 1894; A. Buchler, The Political and the Social Leaders of the Jewish Community of Sepphoris , London, 1909; S. Funk, Die Juden in Babylonien 200-500 , 2 volumes, Berlin, 1902,1908.

(14) Medical Science (Intro, 173):

Jul. Preuss, Biblisch-talmudische Medizin , Berlin, 1911 (735 pp.); L. Kotelmann, Die Ophthalmologie bei den alten Hebraern , Hamburg, 1910 (436 pp.).

(15) Archaeology:

Sam. Krauss, Talmudische Archaologic , 3 volumes, Leipzig, 1910-1912.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [9]

A huge limbo, in chaotic arrangement, consisting of the Mishna, or text, and Gemara, or commentary, of Rabbinical speculations, subtleties, fancies, and traditions connected with the Hebrew Bible, and claiming to possess co-ordinate rank with it as expository of its meaning and application, the whole collection dating from a period subsequent to the Captivity and the close of the canon of Scripture. There are two Talmuds, one named the Talmud of Jerusalem, and the other the Talmud of Babylon, the former, the earlier of the two, belonging in its present form to the close of the 4th century, and the latter to at least a century later. See Haggadah and Halacha .