Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

The Tractates of the Mishnah


What are the Tractates of the Mishnah?

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Division and Contents of the Mishna (and the Talmud)

The Mishna (as also the Talmud) is divided into six "orders" (cedharim) or chief parts, which indicate their chief contents:

Zeraim (Agriculture) laws pertaining to agriculture.

Moedh (Feasts or Seasons) laws concerning the Sabbath and festivals.

Nashim (Women) laws regarding vows, marriage, and divorce.

Neziqin (Civil and Criminal Law) laws concerning civil and criminal matters.

Qodhashim (Sacrifices and Holy Things) laws regulating ritual slaughter, sacrifice, and holy objects.

Teharoth (Unclean Things and Their Purification). laws regarding ceremonial purity

Tractates of the Mishnah

The "orders" are divided into tractates (maccekheth, plural maccikhtoth), now 63, and these again into chapters (pereq, plural peraqim), and these again into paragraphs (mishnayoth).

It is Customary to cite the Mishna according to tract chapter and paragraph:

Example: Sanh. (Sanhedhrin) x.1.

The Babylonian Talmud is cited according to tract and page

Example: (Babylonian Talmud) Shabbath 30 b

In citing the Palestinian Talmud the number of the chapter is also usually given:

Example: (Palestinian Talmud) Shabbath vi.8 d (in most of the editions of the Palestinian Talmud each page has two columns, the sheet accordingly has four).


Jewish Literature

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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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