Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

The Talmud


What is the Talmud in Judaism?

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe 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.

Also see The Tractates of the Mishnah


Jewish Literature

Esther Scroll

John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."

Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe 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 "expositors".

Brief Historical Background

The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocrypha
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Mishnah
The Gemara
The Halakah
The Haggadah
The Midrash
The Zugoth
The Tannaim
The Amoraim
The Tosefta
The Baraitha
The Talmud
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud

The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart

Historical Timeline

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 Apocrypha
Other Writings
The Septuagint
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Targums
The Talmud
The Great Synagogue
The Sanhedrin
The Dispersion
Preparation for Christ




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