Jewish Literature in New Testament Times
What is the Talmud in Judaism?
Talmud contains sixty-three sections or tractates, each of which deals with some
aspect of the law. Two Talmuds, representing the Palestinian and Babylonian
schools of the Amoraim, or doctors, are in existence. The Palestinian Talmud,
the shorter of the two, written in Western Aramaic, dates from the close of the
fourth century. The Babylonian Talmud was written about the end of the fifth
century in Eastern Aramaic dialect. Both are incomplete, lacking whole sections
or parts of sections. In the thirteenth century the Talmud came under the ban of
the church, and so many copies were destroyed or damaged that its survival was
threatened. The miracle is that it exists at all. To this day the Talmud is the
standard of orthodox Judaism, regulative of faith and of ritual practice. It
sets the interpretation of the law and is often more directly influential on
beliefs and on life than is the Old Testament itself.
The Talmud is the final form of the oral law, now written, including legal
discussions, verse by verse analysis and exegesis, proverbs, prayers, fables,
and Jewish folklore. Between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. the Mishnah, along
with all its exegetical and homiletical additions, was gradually compiled into
what is known as the Talmud. Two separate versions of the Talmud were produced
by Jewish rabbinic schools: the Babylonian Talmud compiled by Jews in Babylonia
who had not returned to Jerusalem with the other exiles; and the Palestinian
Talmud edited by Jews who had returned to Palestine after the exile. The Talmud
is a massive collection of Jewish law with corresponding commentary. The
Babylonian Talmud came to be recognized as the authoritative source for the
regulation of Jewish religious and community life.
The Tractates of the Mishnah
John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."
Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism
Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D.
the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began
his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the
word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D.
were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around
200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were
known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men
were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their
commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew
means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by
Brief Historical Background
The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud
The Purpose and Heart of the Law
- A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart
The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
The Greek Period 331-167 B.C.
The Period of Independence 167-63 B.C.
The Roman Period 63 B.C. to the time of Christ
The Old Testament Canon
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Great Synagogue
Preparation for Christ