TALMUD, the great Rabbinical thesaurus which grew up during the first four or six centuries of the Christian Era, and, with the Old Testament, became the “Bible” of the Jews, and the chief subject of their subsequent literary activity.
1. Contents. — The Talmūd (Hebrew “teaching, learning”) consists of the Mishnāh (Heb. “[oral] repetition, teaching”), a systematic collection of religious-legal decisions developing the laws of the Old Testament, and the Gēmārā (Aramaic “completion, decision,” or perhaps also “teaching”), supplementary material, legal and otherwise. The whole was in two great recensions, Palestinian and Babylonian. Other material related to the Mishnah is preserved in the Tōsephtā (Aram. “addition”) and the Midrāshīm, and since all these, together with the Targūmim, represent the orthodox Rabbinical literature connecting the Old Testament with medieval and modern Judaism, the reader should also consult the articles Jews (parts ii. and iii.), Midrash, Targum, and for more detailed and critical treatment the references given to the Jewish Encyclopedia.
The Mishnah is a more or less careful arrangement of the extant Oral Law (see § 2). It forms the foundation of the Gemara, and is divided into six Sĕdārīm or Orders, each containing a number of Massektōth (“weavings,” cf. the etymology of “text”) or Tractates. These are subdivided into Pĕrāqīm (“sections”) or chapters, and these again into paragraphs or sentences.
I. Zĕra‘īm (“seeds”), the first Order, on agriculture, is introduced by (1) Bĕrākōth (“blessings”), on daily and other prayers and blessings. (2) Pē’āh (“corner”), deals with Lev. xix. 9 seq., xxiii. 22; Deut. xxiv. 19-22, and the rights of the poor. (3) Dĕmai, or rather Dammai (“doubtful”), on doubtful cases relating to the tithing of fruit offerings. (4) Kil’ayim (“of two sorts”), on forbidden mixtures (Lev. xix. 19; Deut. xxii. 9-1 ). (5) Shĕbī‘īth (“seventh”), on the sabbatical year (Ex. xxiii. 11 ; Lev. xxv. 1-8; Deut. xv. 1 sqq.). (6) Tĕrūmōth (“heave offerings”), on the laws in Num. xviii. 8 sqq., 25 seq.; Deut. xviii. 4. (7) Ma‘asrōth (“tithes”) or Ma‘asēr Rī’shōn (“first tithe”), with reference to the Levites, Num. xviii. 21-24. (8) Ma‘asēr Shēnī (“second tithe”), with reference to the tithe eaten at Jerusalem, Deut. xiv. 22-26. (9) Ḥallāh (“cake”), on Num. xv. 18-21. (10) ‘Orlāh (“foreskin” [of trees]), on Lev. xix. 23-25. (11) Bikkūrīm (“first-fruits”), on Ex. xxiii. 19; Deut. xxvi. 1 sqq. The fourth chapter of this treatise, printed in most editions, is properly a Baraitha.
II. Mōēd (“festival”). (1) Shabbāth, on the Sabbath as a day of rest, Ex. xx. 10, xxiii. 12; Deut. v. 14, &c. (useful edition by Strack, 1890). (2) ‘Ērūbīn (“mixtures” or amalgamations), on legitimate methods of avoiding inconvenient restrictions on the Sabbath. (3) Pĕsāḥīm (“passovers”—sacrifices and meals), on Ex. xii., xiii. 6-8, xxiii. 15; Lev. xxiii. 5 sqq.; Num. xxviii. 16 sqq.; Deut. xvi. 1 sqq., &c. (4) Shĕqālīm (“shekels”), on the poll tax (Ex. xxx. 12 sqq.; Neh. x. 33). (5) Yōmā (Aram. “the day”), or Kippūrīm (“atonement”), or Y. ha-k. (“the day of atonement”), on Lev. xvi., xxiii. 26-32 (useful edition by H..L. Strack, Leipzig, 1904). (6) Sukkāh or Sukkōth (“booth[s]”), on Lev. xxiii. 34 sqq.; Num. xxix. 12 sqq.; Deut. xvi. 13-16. (7) Bēṣāh (“egg,” the opening word) or Yōm tōb (“good [i.e. feast] day”), general rules for feast-days. (8) Rōsh ha-Shānāh (“New Year festival”), on the services, the calendar, and more particularly on the first of the Seventh Month (cf. Num. x. 10, xxviii. 11 sqq., &c.). (9) Ta‘anīth or Ta‘aniyyōth, i.e. “fast[s],” special observances relating thereunto; in particular to public fasts appointed in time of drought. (10) Mĕgillāh, “roll” (of Esther), the reading of it at Purim, &c. (11) Mō‘ēd qāṭōn (“the small M,” to distinguish it from the name of this order), or Mashkīn (the first word), regulations for the intermediate festivals at Passover and Tabernacles. (12) Ḥăgīgāh (“festival”), on the three principal festivals, Deut. xvi. 16, the duty of pilgrims and the defilements to be avoided (transl. from Bab. Talm. by A. W. Streane, Camb., 1891).
III. Nāshīm (“women”). (1) Yĕbāmōth (“sisters-in-law”), on the levirate, &c. (2) Kĕthūbōth (“marriage contracts”), rights and duties of husband and wife. (3) Nĕdārīm (“vows”), on Num. xxx. (4) Nāzīr (“Nazirite”), on Num. vi. (5) Giṭṭīn (“documents”), on divorce and separation. (6) Sōṭāh (“the faithless woman”), on Num. v. 11-31. (7) Qiddūshīn (“sanctifications” of marriage), on the contraction of legal marriage.
IV. Nĕzīqīn (“damages”), also known as Yĕshū‘ōth (“deeds of help”). (1) Bābā qammā (Aram. “the first gate”), on injuries and compensation; civil law. (2) B. Mĕṣī ā (Aram. “the middle gate”), on sales, leases, lost property. (3) B. Bathrā (Aram. “the last gate”), on real estate, succession, &c. (4) Sanhedrīn (συνέδριον), on procedure and criminal law. (5) Makkōth, “blows,” on the number to be inflicted (Deut. xxv. 1-3) and for what offence, &c. (6) Shĕbū‘ōth (“oaths”), on Lev. v. 4 sqq. (7) ‘Ēduyyōth, “testimonies,” viz. of later teachers regarding their predecessors, on the schools of Hillel and Shammai, ‘Aqiba, &c, important for the problem of the literary growth of the Mishnah. (8) ‘Ăbōdāh Zārāh (“idolatrous worship”), regulations in reference to heathen idolatry (useful edition with Germ. transl. by Strack, 1909; and including that of the Gemara by F. C. Ewald, Nuremberg, 1856). (9) ’Abōth or Pirqē A. (“sayings of the fathers”), a famous collection of maxims; the sixth chapter on “the possession of the law” does not properly belong to the Mishnah (ed. with transl. by C. Taylor, Camb. 1897, and in German by H. L. Strack, 1901). (10) Hōrāyōth (“decisions”), on judicial and other errors (Lev. iv. 1 sqq.).
V. Qŏdāshīm (“holy things”). (1) Zēbāḥīm (“sacrifices”), or shĕḥīṭath qŏdāshīm (“the slaughter of holy things”), on the sacrificial laws, &c. (2) Mĕnāḥōth (“meat-offerings”), on Lev. ii. 5, 11-13, vi. 7-16, xiv. 10-20, &c. (3) Ḥullīn or Shĕḥīṭath H. (“[the slaughter of] common things”), on non-sacrificial meat. (4) Bĕkōrōth (“first-born”), on firstlings (Ex. xiii. 12 seq.; Lev. xxvii. 26 seq.; Num. viii. 16-18, xviii. 15-17; Deut. xv. 19 sqq.). (5) ‘Arākīn (“valuations” for ransom, &c.), on Lev. xxv. 15-28, 29 sqq., xxvii. 2 sqq., 28 seq. (6) Tĕmūrāh (“exchange” of dedicated animals), cf. Lev. xxvii. 10, 33. (7) Kĕrīthōth (“cutting off”), on excommunication, &c. (8) Mĕ‘īlāh (“trespass”), on Lev. v. 15 sqq.; Num. v. 6-8. (9) Tāmīd, on the “continual or perpetual (daily burnt offering),” Ex. xxix. 38-42; Num. xxviii. 2-8. (10) Middōth (“measures”), an important tractate on the temple (measurements, gates, halls, &c.). (11) Qinnīm (“nests”), on sacrifices of doves by the poor (cf. Lev. i. 14-17, v. 1 sqq., xii. 8).
VI. Ṭohōrōth or Ṭĕh., “purifications,” a euphemism for things which are ritually or ceremonially “unclean.” (1) Kēlīm (“vessels”), their uncleanness (cf. Lev. xi. 32 sqq.; Num. xix. 14 sqq., xxxi. 20 sqq.). (2) Ohālōth (“tents”), on defilement through a corpse (Num. xix. 14-20), &c. (3) Nĕgā‘īm (“plagues,” i.e. leprosy), on Lev. xiii. seq. (4) Pārāh (the [red] “heifer”), on Num. xix. (5) Ṭĕghārōth (euphemism for impurities), on minor defilements. (6) Miqwā’ōth (ritual baths), bathing for the defiled (cf. Lev. xiv. 8, xv. 5 sqq.; Num. xxxi. 23; also Mark vii. 4). (7) Niddāh (female “impurity”), on Lev. xv. 19-33. (8) Makshīrīn (“predisposing”), or Mashqīn (“liquids”), on defilement caused by wet unclean things (cf. Lev. xi. 34,37 seq.). (9) Zābīm (“those with a discharge”), on Lev. xv. (10) Tĕbūl Yōm (“immersed for [or on] the day”), on those who have taken a ritual bath and must wait until sunset before becoming ritually pure (see Lev. xv. 5, xxii. 6 seq.; Num. xix. 19). (11) Yādāyīm, “hands,” their purification (cf. Matt. xv. 2, 20; Mark vii. 2-4, &c). (12) Ūqṣīn (“stems”), on the relation between fruit and the stems and stalks as regards defilement, &c.
To Order IV. the Babylonian recension of the Talmud adds seven treatises, which are of later origin and are regarded as more or less extra-canonical. (1) Ābōth dĕ Rabbi Nathan, an expansion of IV. 9, attributed to a second-century Rabbi, but post-Talmudic (ed. S. Schechter, 1887). (2) Sōphérīm (“scribes”), on the writing of the scrolls of the Pentateuch, grammatical (Massoretic) rules, and (a later addition) on the liturgy (ed. J. Müller, Leipzig, 1878). (3) Ēbel Rabbāthi (“great weeping”), or, euphemistically, Sĕmāḥōth (“joys”), on mourning customs and rules. (4) Kallāh (“betrothed, bride”), on chastity in marriage, &c. Dérek Ēreṣ (5) Rabbah, and (6) Zūṭā, a “large” and a “small” treatise on various rules of “conduct” and social life. (7) Péreq ha-Shālōm, a “chapter on peace” (peacefulness). In addition to these seven, other small Talmudic treatises are also reckoned (edited by R. Kirchheim, Frankfort-on-Main, 1850). These deal with (1) the writing of the rolls of the Law; (2) Mĕzūzāh (Deut. vi. 9, xi. 20); (3) Tĕphillīn (prayers, phylacteries); (4) the fringes (Num. xv. 38); (5) slaves; (6) the Samaritans (see J. A. Montgomery, The Samaritans, pp. 196 sqq.); and (7) proselytes.
The Mishnah itself contains 63 tractates, or, since IV. 1-3 originally formed one (called Nĕzīqīn) and IV. 4, 5 were united, 60. The number is also given as 70 (cf. 2 Esd. xiv. 44-46), perhaps by including the seven smaller treatises appended to IV. There are 523 chapters (or 525, see I. 11, IV. 9).
2. The Origin of the Mishnah.—A careful distinction was drawn between the Written Law, the Mosaic Torah, and the rest of the Scriptures (תורה שבכתב), and the Oral Law, or Torah by Mouth (תורה שבעל פה). The origin of the latter, which has become codified in the Mishnah, has often been discussed. It was supposed that it had been handed down by Ezra; that it was indebted to Joshua, David or Solomon; that it was as old as Moses, to whom it had been communicated orally or in writing, complete or in its essence. The traditional view is well illustrated in the words ascribed to R. Simeon Lakish, 3rd century A.D.: “What is that which is written, ‘I will give thee the tables of stone, and the Law and the Commandment, which I have written, that thou mayest teach them (Ex. xxiv. 12)’? ‘Tables,’ these are the Ten Words (the Decalogue); the ‘Law’ is the Scripture; ‘and the commandment,’ that is the Mishnah: ‘which I have written,’ these are the Prophets and Writings (i.e. The Hagiographa), ‘to teach them,’ that is the Gemara—thus instructing us that all these were given to Moses from Sinai.” Literary and historical criticism places the discussion on another basis when it treats the Mosaic Torah in its present form as a post-exilic compilation (about 5th century B.C.) from sources differing in date, origin and history. There is no a priori reason why other legal enactments should not have been current when the compilation was first made; the Pentateuchal legislation is incomplete, and covers only a small part of the affairs of life in which legal decisions might be needed. There must have been a large body of usage to which Jewish society subscribed; customary usage is one of the most binding of laws even among modern Oriental communities where laws in writing are unknown, and one of the most interesting features is the persistence in the East of closely-related forms and principles of custom from the oldest times to the present day. Laws must be adjusted from time to time to meet changing needs, and new necessities naturally arose in the Greek and Roman period for which the older codes and usages made no provision. Much in the same way as Roman law was derived from the Twelve Tables, the Jewish written laws were used as the authority for subsequent modifications, and the continuity of the religious-legal system was secured by a skilful treatment of old precedents. In the article Midrash it will be seen that new teaching could justify itself by a reinterpretation of the old writings, and that the traditions of former authoritative figures could become the framework of a teaching considerably later than their age. It is probable that this process was largely an unconscious one; and even if conscious, the analogy of the conventional “legal fiction” and the usual anxiety to avoid the appearance of novelty is enough to show that it is not to be condemned. By the help of a tradition—a “haggadic” or “halakic” Midrash (q.v. § 1)—contemporary custom or ideals could appear to have ancient precedents, or by means of an exegetical process they could be directly connected with old models. In the Old Testament many laws in the Mosaic legislation are certainly post-Mosaic and the value of not a few narratives lies, not in their historical or biographical information, but in their treatment of law, ritual, custom, belief, &c. Later developments are exemplified in the pseudepigraphical literature, notably in the Book of Jubilees, and when we reach the Mishnah and Talmud, we have only the first of a new series of stages which, it may be said, culminate in the 16th-century Shulḥan ‘Ārūk, the great compendium of the then existing written and oral law. Thus, the problem of the origin or antiquity of the unwritten Oral Law, a living and fluid thing, lies outside the scope of criticism; of greater utility is the study of the particular forms the laws have taken in the written sources which from time to time embody the ever-changing legacy of the past.
The course of development between the recognition of the supremacy of the Pentateuch and the actual writing down of the Mishnah and Gemara can be traced only in broad lines. It is known that a great mass of oral tradition was current, and there are a number of early references to written collections, especially of haggadah. On the other hand, certain references indicate that there was a strong opposition to writing down the Oral Law. It is possible, therefore, that written works were in circulation among the learned, and that these contained varying interpretations which were likely to injure efforts to maintain a uniform Judaism. Philo speaks of μυρία ἄγραφα ἔθη καὶ νόμιμα (ed. Mangey, ii. 629), and the oral esoteric traditions of the Pharisees are attested by Josephus (xiii. 10, 6, cf. 16, 2); cf. in the New Testament, Matt. xv. 1-9, Mark vii. 8, &c.; and the δευτερώσεις “repetitions” (cf. the term Mishnah) of the Christian Fathers. For the written collections, see Strack, op. cit., pp. 10 sqq.; J. Theodor, Jew. Ency., viii. 552; J. Z. Lauterbach, ib., p. 614; W. Bachcr, ib., xii. 19; S. Schechter, Hastings’ Dict. Bible, v. 62 ; and art. Midrash, § 5, in this work. The theory of an esoteric tradition is distinctly represented in 2 Esdras xiv., where Moses receives words which were not to be published, and Ezra re-writes seventy books which were to be delivered to the wise men of his people. Also the Book of Jubilees knows of secret written traditions containing regulations regarding sacrifices, &c., and Jacob hands over “all his books and the books of his fathers to Levi his son that he might preserve them and renew them for his children (i.e. the priestly caste) unto this day” (xiv. 16).
3. Growth of the Mishnah and Gemara.—According to the traditional view the canon of the Old Testament closed with the work of Ezra. He was followed by the Sōphĕrīm, “scribes” (or the Men of the great Synagogue), to the Maccabaean age, and these again by the “Pairs” (zūgōth, Gr. ζυγόν), the reputed heads of the Sanhedrin, down to the Herodian age (150-30 B.C.). The last culminate in Hillel (q.v.) and Shammai, the founders of two great rival schools, and to this famous pair the work of collecting hălākōth (“legal decisions”) has been ascribed. The ensuing period of the Tannā’īm, “teachers” (about A.D. 10-220), is that of the growth of the Mishnah. Among the best known representatives of the schools are Rabban (a title given to Hillel's descendants) Gamaliel, the Phil-Hellene and teacher of the apostle Paul (Acts xxii. 3) and his son Simeon (Josephus, Life, § 38 seq., Wars, iv. 3, 9), and Rabban Joḥanan b. Zakkai, founder of the seat of learning at Jamnia (Jabneh). A little later (about 90-130 A.D.) are the famous Gamaliel II., Eliezer b. Hyrqanos (at Lydda), and Ishmael b. Elisha, the last of whom founded the school at Usha and is renowned for his development of the rules of exegesis framed by Hillel. With Rabbi Aqība (q.v.) and the synods of Jamnia (about 90 and 118 A.D.) a definite epoch in Judaism begins. At Jamnia, under the presidency of Gamaliel II. and Eleazar b. Azariah, a collection of traditional halakoth was formed in the tractate ‘Eduyyōth (larger than and not to be identified with IV., 7 above). Here, too, was discussed the canonicity of the Song of Songs and of Ecclesiastes, and it is probable that here Aqība and his colleagues fixed the official text of the canonical books. Aqība had an important share in the early development of the Mishnah (Strack, pp. 19, 89); and, in the collecting of material, he was followed notably by the school of Ishmael (about 130-160 A.D.), which has left its mark upon the early halakic Midrashim (see Midrash, § 5, 1-3). The more interesting names include R. Meir, a well-known haggadist, R. Simeon b. Yoḥai, R. Jose b. Ḥalaphta and R. Jehudah b. ‘El‘ai. But, as collections of decisions were made by prominent teachers from time to time, confusion was caused by their differences as regards both contents and teaching (Sotah, 22a; Shabb. 138b). Consequently, towards the close of the second century a thoroughly comprehensive effort was made to reduce the halakoth to order. Judah, grandson of Gamaliel II., known as the Prince or Patriarch (nāsī’), as Rabbenu (“our teacher”), or simply as “Rabbi” par excellence, was the editor. He gathered together the material, using Meir's collection as a basis, and although he did not write the Mishnah as it now is, he brought it into essentially its present shape. His methods were not free from arbitrariness; he would attribute to “the wise” the opinion of a single authority which he regarded as correct; he would ignore conflicting opinions or those of scholars which they themselves had afterwards retracted, and he did not scruple to cite his own decisions.
The period of the ’Ămōrā’īm, “speakers, interpreters,” (about 220-500 A.D.), witnessed the growth of the Gemara, when the now “canonical” Mishnah formed the basis for further amplification and for the collecting of old and new material which bore upon it. In Palestine learning flourished at Caesarea, Sepphoris, Tiberias and Usha; Babylonia had famous schools at Nehardea (from the 2nd century A.D.), Sura, Pumbeditha and elsewhere. Of their teachers (who were called Rabbi and Rab respectively) several hundreds are known. R. Ḥiyya was redactor of the Siphrā on Leviticus (Midrash, § 5, 2 ); to him and to R. Hoshaiah the compilation of the Tōsephtā is also ascribed. Abbā Arīka or Rab, the nephew of the first mentioned, founded the school of Sura (219 A.D.). Rab and Shemuel (Samuel) “the astronomer” (died 254 A.D.) were pupils of “Rabbi” (i.e. Judah, above), and were famed for their knowledge of law; so numerous were their points of difference that the Talmud will emphasize certain decisions by the statement that the two were agreed. The Gemara is much indebted to this pair and to Joḥanan b. Nappāḥā (190-279). The latter, founder of the great school of Tiberias, has indeed been venerated, on the authority of Maimonides, as the editor of the Palestinian Talmud; but the presence of later material and of later names, e.g. Manī b. Jona and Jose b. Abin (Abun), refute this view. The Babylonian Rabbah b. Naḥmani (d. c. 330) had a dialectical ability which won him the title “uprooter of mountains.” His controversies with R. Joseph b. Ḥiyya (known for his learning as “Sinai”), and those between their disciples Abayi and Rābā are responsible for many of the minute discussions in the Babylonian Gemara. Meanwhile the persecutions of Constantine and Constantius brought about the decay of the Palestinian schools, and, probably in the 5th century, their recension of the Talmud was essentially complete. In Babylonia, however, learning still flourished, and with Rab Ashi (352-427) the arranging of the present framework of the Gemara may have been taken in hand. Under Rabba Tosěpha’a (died 470) and Rabina, i.e. Rab Abina (died 499), heads of the academy of Sura, the Babylonian recension became practically complete.
Finally, the Sabōrā’ē, “explainers, opiners” (about 500-540), made some additions of their own in the way of explanations and new decisions. They may be looked upon as the last editors of the now unwieldy thesaurus; less probable is the view, often maintained since Rashi (11th century), that it was first written down in their age.
4. The Two Talmuds.—The Palestinian recension of the Mishnah and Gemara is called “the Talmud of the Land of Israel,” or “T. of the West”; a popular but misleading name is “the Jerusalem Talmud.” It is an extremely uneven compilation. “What was reduced to writing does not give us a work carried out after a preconcerted plan, but rather represents a series of jottings answering to the needs of the various individual writers, and largely intended to strengthen the memory” (Schechter). Political troubles and the unhappy condition of the Jews probably furnish the explanation; hence also the abundance of Palestinian haggadic literature in the Midrashim, whose “words of blessing and consolation” appealed more to their feelings than did the legal writings. The Pal. Talmud did not attain the eminence of the sister recension, and survives in a very incomplete form, although it was perhaps once fuller. It now extends only to Orders I.-IV., with the omission of IV. 7 and 9, and with the addition of part of VI. 7. The Babylonian Talmud (or Tal. Babli) contains the Gemara to 36½ tractates, but the material is relatively very full, and it is about three times as large as the Pal., although the Gemara there extends to 39 tractates. In the latter the Gemara follows each paragraph of the Mishnah; in the former, references are usually made to the leaves (the two pages of which are called a and b), the enumeration of the editio princeps being retained in subsequent editions. The Mishnah is written in a late literary form of Hebrew; but the Gemara is in Aramaic (except the Baraithas), that of the Bab. T. being an Eastern Aram, dialect (akin to Mandaitic), that of the Pal. T. being Western Aram, (akin to Biblical Aram, and the Targums). Greek was well understood in cultured Palestine; hence the latter recension uses many Greek terms which it does not explain; whereas in the Bab. T. they are much less common, and are sometimes punningly interpreted. The Pal. Tal. is the more concise, but it is remarkable for the numerous repetitions of the same passages; these are useful for the criticism of the text, and for the light they throw upon the incompleteness of the work of compilation. The Bab. Tal., on the other hand, is diffuse and freer in its composition, and it is characterized by the exuberance of Halakah, which is usually rather subtle and far-fetched. Both Talmuds offer a good field for research (see below). Especially interesting are the Baraithas which are preserved in the Gemara in Hebrew; they are “external” decisions not included in the more authoritative Mishnah, but they differ from and are sometimes older than the Mishnic material, with which they sometimes conflict (so in particular as regards the rejected decisions of the school of Shammai). They usually begin: “our Masters taught,” “it is taught,” or “he taught,” the verb tĕnā (cf. Tannā’īm, “teachers”) being employed (see further Jew. Ency., ii. 513 seq.). Parallel to the Mishnah is the Tōsephtā, an independent compilation associated with R. Nehemiah (a contemporary of Meir and Simeon b. Yoḥai), Ḥiyya b. Abba and others; it is arranged according to the Mishnic orders and tractates, but lacks IV. 9 and V. 9–11. The halakoth are fuller and sometimes older than the corresponding decisions in the Mishnah, and the treatment is generally more haggadic. The method of making the discussions part of an interpretation of the Old Testament (halakic Midrash), as exemplified in the Tōsephtā, is apparently older than the abstract and independent decisions of the Mishnah—which presuppose an acquaintance with the Pentateuchal basis—and, like the employment of narrative or historical Midrash (e.g. in the Pentateuch, Chronicles and Jubilees), was more suitable for popular exposition than for the academies. For other halakic literature which goes back to the period of the Tannā’īm, see the Mekiltā, Siphrā and Siphrē, art. Midrash, § 5, 1–3.
The Palestinian Talmud, although used by the Qaraites in their controversies, fell into neglect, and the Babylonian recension became, what it has since been, the authoritative guide. With the Gĕōnīm, the heads of Sura and Pumbeditha (about 589–1038), we enter upon another stage. The “canonical” Mishnah and Gemara were now the objects of study, and the scattered Jews appealed to the central bodies of Judaism in Babylonia for information and guidance. The Geonim in their “Responses” or “Questions and Answers” supplied authoritative interpretations of the Old Testament or of the Talmud, and regulated the application of the teaching of the past to the changed conditions under which their brethren now lived. The legal, religious and other decisions formulated in the pontifical communications of one generation usually became the venerated teaching of the next, and a new class of literature thus sprang into existence. (See Gaon.) Meanwhile, as the Babylonian schools decayed, Talmudic learning was assiduously pursued outside its oriental home, and some Babylonian Talmudists apparently reached the West. However, the fortunes of the Talmud in a hostile world now become part of the history of the Jews, and the many interesting vicissitudes cannot be recapitulated here. (See Jews, §§ 44 sqq.) To the use of the Pal. Talmud by the Qaraites in their controversies with the Rabbis we owe the preservation of this recension, incomplete though it is. To the intolerance of Christians are no doubt due the rarity of old MSS., and the impure state of the text of both Talmuds. At the same time, the polemics had useful results since the literary controversy in the 16th century (when Johann Reuchlin took the part of the Jews) led to the editio princeps of the Babylonian Talmud (Vienna, 1520–23). A change shows itself in the second edition (Basel, 1578–81), when the ‘Abōdāh Zārāh (above, § 1. IV. 8) was omitted, and passages which offended the Christians were cancelled or modified.
Owing to the nature of its contents the Talmud stood sorely in need of aids and guides, and a vast amount of labour (of varying value) has been devoted to it by Jewish scholars. Of the many commentaries the first place must be given to that of R. Solomon Izhaki of Troyes (see Rashi); his knowledge of contemporary tradition and his valuable notes make it a new starting point in the interpretation of the Talmud. To Rashi's disciples are due the Tōsāphōth “additions,” which, with the commentary of “the Commentator,” as he was styled, are often reproduced in printed editions of the Talmud. This school (France and Germany, 12th to 13th century) developed a casuistical and over-ingenious interpretation—in contrast to the Spanish Talmudists who aimed at simplification and codification—and it drew upon it the saying of Naḥmanides (13th cent.): “They try to force an elephant through the eye of a needle.” Important also are the introduction to and commentary upon the Mishnah by Maimonides (q.v.), and the commentary of Rabbenu Obadiah di Bertinoro (died 1510). Both have often been printed; they were translated by Surenhusius (Amsterdam, 1698–1703). See Jew. Ency., xii. 27–30.
Systematic abstracts of the legal parts of the Talmud were made by Isaac Alfazi (or “Riph,” 1013–1103), and by Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, otherwise called Sepher ha-Yād or Yād ha-Ḥăzākāh). The latter prepared a great summary of all Jewish religious and civil law, the standard work upon which Christian theologians from the 16th century onwards based their studies—and also their criticisms—of early Rabbinism. Jacob b. Asher b. Yeḥiel in his Ṭūrīm (“rows”) presented a well-arranged collection of those laws which had not become obsolete together with the addition of new ones. Most important of all, however, is Joseph Caro's Shulḥān ‘Ārūk (“prepared table”), which came in the age of printing (1565), leapt into popularity, and has been, in its turn, the subject of many commentaries and hand-books. This great work systematized Talmudic law in all its developments, ancient and modern, written and oral (I. Abrahams, Jew. Lit., London, 1906, p. 147 seq.; see also Jew. Ency., iii., 584 sqq.). The lengthy history of the written and oral law thus reached its last stage in a work which grew out of the Talmud but had its roots in a more distant past. It was at the dawn of a period when the ancient codes which had been continuously reinterpreted or readjusted were to be re-examined under the influence of newer ideas and methods of study.
The haggadic portions of the Talmud were collected: (a) from the Bab. recension, in the Haggadoth ha-Talmud (Constantinople, 1511) and in Jacob ibn Ḥabib's ‘En (eye, well of) Jacob (Salonika, 1516); and (b) from the Pal., by Samuel Yapheh (Venice, 1589), and in the Yalkūt Shimeoni (see Midrash, § 5, 9). These are superseded by the recent translations made by A. Wünsche (Jer. T., Zürich, 1880; Bab. T., Leipzig, 1886–9).
The standard lexicon was the ‘Ārūk(h) of Nathan b. Yeḥiel of Rome (c. 1100) which underlies all subsequent works, notably the great Aruch Completum of A. Kohut (Vienna, 1878–1892; supplement, New York, 1892); see further Jew. Ency., iv. 580 seq. Modern dictionaries of the older Rabbinical writings have been made by J. Levy (Leipzig, 1876), M. Jastrow (London and New York, 1886), G. Dalman (Frankfort-on-Main, 1901). More technical is W. Bacher's Exeget. Terminologie d. jüd. Traditions-lit. (Leipzig, 1905).
The grammatical aids are modern. For Mishnic Hebrew, see A. Geiger (Breslau, 1845), Strack and Siegfried (Leipzig, 1884), and M. H. Segal's essay on the relation between Mishnic and Biblical Hebrew (Jew. Quart. Rev., xx. 647–737); for Western Aramaic, especially G. Dalman, Jüd. Pal. Aram. (Leipzig, 1905); for Eastern Aram., S. D. Luzzatto (Eng. trans, by Goldammer, 1877), C. Levias (Cincinnati, 1900), M. L. Margolis (Munich, 1910), and also T. Nöldeke's Mandäische Gramm. (Halle, 1875).
The text of the Talmud has been badly preserved; much useful critical work has been done by R. Rabbinovicz, Variae Lectiones (Munich, 1876–86) for the Bab. T., and by B. Ratner, Ahavath Zion (in Heb., Wilna, 1901–2) for the Jer. T. As regards translations (a subject critically handled by E. Bischoff, Frankfort-on-Main, 1899) and texts, few are satisfactory; some have already been mentioned in § 1 ; for a full list see Strack's Einleitung, pp. 144–155. One may, however, mention the translations in English by D. A. de Sola and M. J. Raphall (18 Mishnic tractates; London 1843); J. Barclay (also a selection of 18; London, 1878), and the (abbreviated) edition of the Bab. Talm. with text and translation by M. L. Rodkinson (New York, 1869 sqq.). The Bab. text with a German translation has been edited by L. Goldschmidt (Berlin, 1897 sqq.). The Palest. Talm. has been translated into French by M. Schwab (Paris, 1871 sqq.).
5. Features of Interest and Value.—Although the Midrashim do not hold the authoritative position which the Talmud enjoys, the two groups cannot be kept apart in any consideration of the interesting or valuable features of the old Rabbinical writings. Viewed as a whole they have the characteristics of other Palestinian literature, the merits and defects of other oriental works. As regards the Talmud, neither the Mishnah nor the subsequent Gemara aimed at presenting a digested corpus of law. It is really a large collection of opinions and views, a remarkably heterogeneous mixture of contents, for which the history of its growth is no doubt largely responsible. It appals the reader with its irregularity of treatment, its variations of style, and its abrupt transitions from the spiritual to the crude and trivial, and from superstition to the purest insight. Like the Koran it is often concise to obscurity and cannot be translated literally; it presupposes a knowledge which made commentaries a necessity even, as we have seen, to the Jews themselves. The opening of Order II. 6, for example, would be unintelligible without a knowledge of the law in Levit. xxiii. 42: “A booth (the interior of which is) about 20 cubits high is disallowed. R. Judah allows it. One which is not ten hands high, one which has not three walls, or which has more sun than shade is disallowed. ‘An old booth?’ (marks of quotation and interrogation must be supplied). The school of Shammai disallows it; but the school of Hillel allows it,” &c. In the Gemara, the decisions of the Mishnah are not only discussed, explained or developed, but all kinds of additional matter are suggested by them. Thus, in the Bab. Gem. to III. 5, the reference in the Mishnah to the Zealots (Σικάριοι) is the occasion for a long romantic account of the wars preceding the destruction of the Second Temple. In IV. 3 the incidental prohibition of the cutting up of a roll of Scripture leads to a most valuable discussion of the arrangement of the Canon of the Old Testament, and other details including some account of the character and date of Job. There are numerous haggadic interpolations, some of considerable interest. Prose mingles with poetry, wit with wisdom, the good with the bad, and as one thing goes on to suggest another, it makes the Talmud a somewhat rambling compilation. It is scarcely a law-book or a work of divinity; it is almost an encyclopaedia in its scope, a store-house reproducing the knowledge and the thought, both unconscious and speculative, of the first few centuries of the Christian era.
A good idea of its heterogeneity is afforded by the English translations of Talmudic and other commentaries by P. I. Hershon (London, 1880-5). For miscellaneous collections of excerpts, see H. Polano (in the Chandos Classics); Chenery, Legends from the Midrash; I. Myers, Gems from the Talmud; S. Rapoport, Tales and Maxims from the Midrash; E. R. Montague, Tales from the Talmud. A valuable general introduction to the Rabbinical literature (with numerous excerpts) is given by J. Winter and A. Wünsche, Gesch. d. Jüd.-Hellen. u. Talm. Litteratur (Trier, 1894). The literature has not been fully explored for its contribution to the various branches of antiquarian research. On the animal fables, most of them found also in Indian and in classical collections, see J. Jacobs, Fables of Aesop (London, 1889); for myth, superstition and folk-lore, see D. Joel, Aberglaube (Breslau, 1881), and M. Grünbaum, Semit. Sagenkunde (Leiden, 1893), Ges. Aufsätze (Berlin, 1901); for mathematics, see B. Zuckermann (Breslau, 1878); for medicine, J. Bergel (Leipzig, 1885), &c. For these subjects, and for law, zoology, geography, &c. &c, see the full and classified bibliographies in M. L. Rodkinson, Hist. of Talmud (New York, 1903), vol. ii. ch. viii., and Strack's Einleitung, pp. 164-175.
Ordinary estimates of the Talmud are often influenced by the attitude of Christianity to Judaism and Jewish legalism, and by the preponderating interest which has been taken in the religious-legal side of the Rabbinical writings. The canonization of oral tradition in the Mishnah brought the advantages and the disadvantages of a legal religion, and controversialists have usually seen only one side. The excessive legalism which pervades the Talmud was the scholarship of the age, and the Talmud suffers to a certain extent because accepted opinions and isolated views are commingled. To those who have no patience with the minutiae of legislation, the prolix discussions are as irksome as the arguments appear arbitrary. But the Talmudical discussions were often merely specialist and technical—they were academical and ecclesiastical debates which did not always touch every-day life; sometimes they were for the purpose of reconciling earlier conflicting views, or they even seem to be mere exhibitions of dialectic skill (cf., perhaps, Mk. xii. 18-23). It may be supposed that this predilection for casuistry stimulated that spirit which impelled Jewish scholars of the middle ages to study or translate the learning of the Greeks. Once again it was—from a modern point of view—old-fashioned scholarship; yet one may now recognize that in the development of European science and philosophy it played a necessary part, and one can now realize that again the benefit was for common humanity rather than for the Jews alone. It may strike one as characteristically Jewish that extravagant and truly oriental encomiums were passed upon such legalists and Talmudists as Isaac Alfazi, Rashi or Maimonides; none the less the medieval Jews were able to produce and appreciate excellent literature of the most varied description. In any case, the Talmud must be judged, like other authoritative religious literature, by its place in history and by its survival. From age to age groups of laws were codified and expanded—the Priestly law of the Old Testament, the Mishnah, the complete Talmud, the subsequent codifications of Alfazi, Maimonides, and finally Joseph Caro. Thus, the Talmud occupies an intermediate place between the older sources and its later developments. At each step disintegration was arrested, but not Jewish genius; and the domination of the Law in Judaism did not as a matter of fact have the petrifying results which might have been anticipated. The explanation may be found partly in the intense feeling of solidarity uniting the Deity with his worshippers and his worshippers among themselves. No distinction was drawn between secular and religious duties, between ceremonial, ethical or spiritual requirements. Modern distinctions of moral and ceremonial being unknown, ancient systems must be judged in the light of those modes of thought which could not view religion apart from life. The Talmud discusses and formulates rules upon points which other religions leave to the individual; it inculcates both ceremonial and spiritual ideas, and often sets up most lofty ethical standards. The bonds, rigorous and strange as they often appear to others, were a sacrament enshrined in the imagination of the lowliest follower of the Talmud. Some of the keenest legalists (e.g. the Babylonian Rab) are famous for their ethical teaching, and for their share in popular exposition; one of the best ethical systems of medieval Judaism (by Baḥya ibn Pekuda) is founded upon the Talmud; the last exponent of Rabbinical legalism, Joseph Caro, was at the same time a mystic and a pietist; and the combination of the poetical with the legal temperament is frequent. The Talmud outlived the reactionary tendencies of the Qaraites (q.v.) and of the Kabbalah (q.v.), and fortunately, since these movements, important though they undoubtedly were for the evolution of thought, had not within them the power to be of lasting benefit to the rank and file of the community. Finally, no religion has been without exhibitions of fanaticism and excess on the part of its followers, and if the Old Testament itself was the authority for witch-burning among Christians, it is no longer profitable to ask whether the Talmud was responsible for offences committed by or alleged against those whose lives were regulated by it. On the other hand, Judaism has never been without its heroes, martyrs or saints, and the fact that it still lives is sufficient to prove that the mechanical legalism of the Talmud has not hindered the growth of Jewish religion.
Apart from the general interest of the literature for history and of its contents for various departments of research, the exegetical methods of the Talmud are especially instructive. There were rules of interpretation, and they give expression to one dominant idea: there is an infinite potentiality in the words of the Old Testament, none is fortuitous or meaningless or capable of only a single interpretation, they were said for all time, “for our sake also” and “for our learning” (cf. Paul, in Romans iv. 24, xv. 4). This was not conducive to critical inquiry; questions of the historical background of the biblical passage or of the trustworthiness of the text scarcely found a place. The interpretation itself is markedly subjective; by the side of much that is legitimate exegesis, there is much that appears arbitrary in the extreme. The endeavour was made to interpret, not necessarily according to the letter, but according to individual conceptions of the spirit and underlying motive. Thus, the same evidence could give rise to widely differing conflicting interpretations, which may not be directly deducible from or justified by the Scripture. Hence the value of the teaching, whether halakic or haggadic, rests upon its intrinsic worth, and not upon the exegetical principles which were the tools common to the age. Moreover, it was also considered necessary that teaching should be authenticated, as it were, by its association with older authority whose standing guaranteed its genuineness. For this reason anonymous writings were attributed to famous names, and traditions were judged (as in Islam), not so much upon their merits, as by the chain of authorities which traced them back to their sources.
To supplement what has already been pointed out in the article Midrash, it may be noticed that the familiar penalty of the “forty stripes save one” (2 Cor. xi. 24; Josephus, Ant., iv. 8, 23) is discussed in the Mishnah (Makkoth, iv. 5), and is subsequently explained by an extremely artificial interpretation of Deut. xxv. 2-3 (as though “to the number 40”). But the penalty is obviously older than, and entirely independent of, the arbitrary explanation by which it is supported. Again, the rending of clothes on the occasion of a charge of blasphemy (Matt. xxvi. 65) is actually connected with Joseph b. Qorha of the 2nd century A.D. (Sanhed., vii. 5), although elsewhere this halakah is anonymous. Here the effort was made to substantiate a practice, but the tradition was not unanimous; and it often happens that the Talmud preserves different traditions regarding the same teaching, different versions of it, or it is ascribed to different authorities (see Jew. Ency., xii. p. 15, col. 2). The fact that certain teaching is associated with a name may have no real significance for its antiquity, even as a law ascribed to the age of Moses—the recognized law-giver—may prove to be of much earlier or of much later inception. This feature naturally complicates all questions affecting origin and originality, and cannot be ignored in any study of the Talmud in its bearing upon the New Testament. Similar or related forms of interpretation and teaching are found in the Talmud, in Hellenistic Judaism, in the New Testament, in early Church Fathers and in Syriac writers. As regards the New Testament itself, the points of similarity are many and often important. It has been asserted that “the writings of recent Jewish critics have tended on the whole to confirm the Gospel picture of external Jewish life, and where there is discrepancy these critics tend to prove that the blame lies not with the New Testament originals, but with their interpreters.” The Talmud also makes “credible details which many Christian expositors have been rather inclined to dispute. Most remarkable of all has been the cumulative strength of the arguments adduced by Jewish writers favourable to the authenticity of the discourses in the Fourth Gospel . . .” The points of contact between the phraseology in the Gospel of John and the early Midrashim are especially interesting. The popularity of the parable as a form of didactic teaching finds many examples in the Rabbinical writings, and some have noteworthy parallels in the New testament. It is known that there were theological controversies between Jews and Christians, and in the Midrash Bereshith Rabbah (Midrash, § 5, 5) is a passage (translated in Jew. Ency., viii. 558) directed against the Christian view which found support for the doctrine of the Trinity in Gen. i. 26. But it is uncertain how far the doctrines of Judaism were influenced by Christianity, and it is even disputed whether the Talmud and Midrashim may be used to estimate Jewish thought of the 1st or 2nd century A.D. Much valuable work has been done by modern Jewish scholars on the “higher criticism” of these writings, which, it must be remembered, range over several centuries, but it still remains difficult to date their contents. Moreover, in endeavouring to sketch the theology of early Judaism it has been easy to find in the heterogeneous and conflicting ideas a system which agreed with preconceived views, and to reject as late or exceptional whatever told against them. In considering the evidence it is a delicate task to avoid confusing its meaning for its age with that which has appeared the only natural or appropriate one to subsequent interpreters (whether Jewish or Christian) who have been necessarily influenced by their environment and by contemporary thought. At all events, if these writings have many old elements and may be used to illustrate the background of the New Testament, they illustrate not only the excessive legalism and ritualism against which early Christianity contended, but also the more spiritual and ethical side of Judaism. Upon this latter phase the pseudepigraphical and apocalyptical writings have shed much unexpected light in linking the Old Testament with both Christian and Rabbinical theology. The various problems which arise are still under discussion, and are of great importance for the study of Palestinian thought at the age of the parting of the ways. They touch, on the one hand, the absolute originality of Christianity and its attitude to Jewish legalism, and, on the other, the true place of the pseudepigrapha in Jewish thought and the antiquity of the Judaism which dominates the Talmud. They do not, however, exclude the possibility that by the side of the scholasticism of the early Jewish academical circles was the more popular thought which, forming a link between Jews and Christians, ultimately fell into neglect as Judaism and Christianity formulated their theologies.
On the close relation between the thought of the age, see B. Ritter, Philo u. d. Halacha (Leipzig, 1879); M. Grünwald in Königsberger's Monatsblätter (Berlin, 1890); N. I. Weinstein, Zur Genesis d. Agada (Frankfort-on-Main, 1901); W. Bousset, Relig. d. Judentums, pp. 50 sqq.; R. Graffin's ed. of Aphraates (q.v.) (Paris, 1894), p. xlix. seq.; S. Funk on the haggadic elements in Aphraates (Vienna, 1891); and art. Midrash, § 4. In this respect the pseudepigraphic lit. is frequently of the greatest interest; thus Mark. iv. 24 finds a close parallel in “the Testament of Zebulun,” viii. 3 (R. H. Charles, Test. of xii. Patriarchs, p. 117), and does not differ essentially from the saying ascribed to Gamaliel II. (Shabb. 51b) and others. A close parallel to Matt. vii. 3 is ascribed to R. Tarpon, latter half of 1st century A.D. (Arak. 16b: “If one says, take the mote from thy eye, he answers, take the beam from thy eye”); it seems to have been a popular saying (see Baba Bathra, 15b). See further, for the Talmud and Midrashim in relation to the New Testament generally, the literature in Strack, pp. 165 sqq.; also A. Wünsche, Neue Beiträge z. Erläut. d. Evangelien (Göttingen, 1878); C. H. Toy, Judaism and Christianity (London, 1890; with Schechter's essay in his Studies , pp. 283-305); H. Laible, Jesus Christus im Talmud (Berlin, 1891); R. T. Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash (London, 1903; with W. Bacher's review in Jew. Quart. Rev., xvii. 171—183); Bousset, op. cit.; Oesterley and Box, op. cit. (with C. G. Montefiore's review in Jew. Quart. Rev., 1908, pp. 347-357); I. Abrahams in Swete's Camb. Bibl. Essays (1909), pp. 163-192; C. G. Montefiore, Synoptic Gospels (1909); H. L. Strack, Jesus, die Häretiker u. die Christen (1910).
The Talmud itself is still the authoritative and practical guide of the great mass of the Jews, and is too closely connected Results of criticism. with contemporary and earlier Palestinian history to be neglected by Christians. With the progress of modern research the value of this and of the other old Rabbinical writings is being re-estimated, and criticism has forced a modification of many old views. Thus, an early reference to the title of a work does not prove that it is that which is now current; this applies, for example, to the tractate Ēduyyōth (see Jew. Ency., viii. 611), and to the Midrash Siphrē, which frequently differs from that as known to the Talmud (ib., xi. 331). It has been found that a tradition, however tenacious or circumstantial, is not necessarily genuine, and that too in spite of the chain of authorities by which its antiquity or genuineness appeared to be confirmed. Implicit reliance can no longer be necessarily placed upon the reputed authorship or editorship of a work; yet, although many of the views of medieval Jews in this respect prove to be erroneous (e.g. on the authorship of the Zōhar; see Kabbalah), they may sometimes preserve the recollection of a fact which only needs restatement (e.g. R. Joḥanan as the editor of the Pal. Talmud).
Finally, the Talmud comes at the end of a very lengthy development of Palestinian thought (see Palestine: History). Reformed Judaism. It is in the direct line of descent from the Old Testament—intervening literature having been lost—the essence of which it makes its own. Forced by the events of history, this legacy of the past was subjected to successive processes and adapted to the needs of successive generations and of widely different historical and social conditions. Legal compendiums and systems of philosophy served their age and gave place to later developments; and the elasticity of interpretation which characterizes it enabled it to outlive Karaites and Kabbalists. It also escaped the classicism of the Renaissance with its insistence upon the test—either fact or fiction. As an oriental work among an oriental people the moral and spiritual influence of the Talmud has rested upon its connexion with a history which appealed to the imagination and the feelings, upon its heterogeneity of contents suitable for all moods and minds, and upon the unifying and regulative effects of its legalism. The relationship of Talmudism to the Old Testament has been likened to that of Christian theology to the Gospels; the comparison, whether fitting or not, may at least enable one to understand the varying attitudes of Jewish thinkers to their ancient sources. With closer contact to the un-oriental West and with the inevitable tendencies of modern western scholarship the Talmud has entered upon a new period, one which, though it may be said to date from the time of Moses Mendelssohn (see Jews, § 48), has reached a more distinctive stage at the present day. In the weakening of that authority which had been ascribed almost unanimously to the Talmud, and invariably to the Old Testament, a new and greater strain has been laid upon Judaism to reinterpret its spirit once more to answer the diverse wants of its adherents. This is part of that larger and pressing psychological problem of adjusting the “authority” ascribed to past writings to that of the collective human experience; it does not confront Judaism alone, and it must suffice to refer to the writings of “Reformed Judaism”; see, e.g. C. G. Montefiore, Liberal Judaism (London, 1903); Truth in Religion (1906); I. Abrahams, Judaism (1907), and the essays of S. Schechter.
Bibliography.—E. Deutsch's article on the Talmud in the Quarterly Review, Oct. 1867 (reprinted in his Literary Remains), is noteworthy for the great interest it aroused. For ether introductions, see S. Schiller-Szinessy, articles “Midrash,” “Mishnah,” and “Talmud,” in Ency. Brit., 9th ed.; J. Z. Lauterbach, “Mishnah,” and W. Bacher, “Talmud” in the Jew. Ency.; S. Schechter, “Talmud,” in Hastings' Dict. Bib., vol. v.; and also S. Funk, Entstehung des Talmuds (Leipzig, 1910). More comprehensive are the handbooks of M. Mieiziner, Introd. to the Talmud (Cincinnati, 1894), M. L. Rodkinson, History of the Talmud (New York, 1903), and especially H. L. Strack, Einleitung in den Talmud (Leipzig, 1908, very concise, but replete with bibliographical and other information). The works already cited in this article or in the art. Midrash, cover the most important departments of the Rabbinical literature, and may be supplemented from the critical Jewish journals, e.g. the Jewish Quarterly Review, Revue des Études Juives (Paris), and especially the Monatsschrift f. Gesch. Wissenschaft des Judentums (Breslau).
The writer desires to express his indebtedness to Mr Israel Abrahams for bibliographical and other suggestions.
- (S. A. C.)
- Mishnah stands in contrast to Miqrā (“reading, scripture”); its Aram, equivalent is Mathnīthā, from tĕnā, “to repeat,” whence the appellation Tannā, “teacher” (§ 3 below). These and the terms Gemara, Talmud, &c, are more fully explained in H. L. Strack's invaluable Einleitung in den Talmud (Leipzig, 1908), pp. 2 sqq.
- For the sake of convenience Ben (“son”) and Rabbi are, as usual, abbreviated to b. and R. For the quotation which follows, see Oesterley and Box, The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue (London, 1907) p. 51; and, on the subject, S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism (London, 1896), ch. vii.—“the history of Jewish tradition”; E. Weber, Jüdische Theologie (Leipzig, 1897), pp. 91 seq. and 130 sqq.; Strack, op. cit., p. 8 seq.; W. Bousset, Relig. d. Judentums (Berlin, 1906), pp. 176 sqq., and Jew. Ency., iv. 423 sqq.; see also G. B. Gray's art. “Law Literature” in the Ency. Bib.
- See W. R. Smith, Old Test. in the Jewish Church, p. 51 seq., 160.
- On the various teachers, especially the Haggadists, see W. Bacher, Agada der Babylon. Amoräer (Strassburg, 1879), A. d. Tannaiten (1884, new edition begun in 1903), A. d. Pal. Amoräer (1892).
- See the criticisms in Jew. Ency., viii. 612, and J. Bassfreund, Monatsschrift f. d. Gesch. u. Wissens. d. Judentums, 1907, pp. 427 sqq. On the earlier stages, see Jew. Ency., viii. 610, and Hastings' Dict. Bible, v. 61, col. 2, with the references.
- On these schools, see art. Jews, § 42 seq.; and Jew. Ency., i. 145-148.
- See Strack, p. 16 seq. The view has little in its favour, although memory played a more important part then than now. For early mnemonic aids to the Mishnah, see Strack, p. 68, Jew. Ency., xii. 19.
- The Mishnah was first critically edited by W. H. Lowe (Cambridge, 1883).
- The Greek words are treated by S. Krauss and I. Löw, Griech. u. Lat. Lehnwörter (Berlin, 1898-9). For the Persian elements in the Bab. T., see Jew. Ency., vii. 313.
- Lat. transl. of Orders I.— III., V., by Ugolinus, Thes., xvii.-xx., recent ed. by M. S. Zuckermandel (Pasewalk, 1880); see Jew. Ency., xii. 207 sqq.
- On the censorship and burning of the Talmud, see Jew. Ency., iii. 642 sqq., xii. 22; Strack, 71 seq., 78 sqq.
- It is interesting to compare the development of Jewish law with that of the Mahommedan, Roman and English systems, the points of resemblance and difference being extremely suggestive for other studies. On the Jewish codifiers generally, see S. Daiches in L. Simon's Aspects of Heb. Genius (London, 1910), pp. 87 sqq.
- The whole subject of Jewish legalism should be compared with Islam, where again law and religion are one; as regards the legal aspect, see the extremely suggestive and instructive study, “The Relations of Law and Religion, the Mosque el-Azhar,” by J. Bryce, Studies in History and Jurisprudence (1901), ii. No. xiii.
- Some of the most influential of the Greek works in the middle ages had passed through Syriac, Arabic and Hebrew translations before they appeared in their more familiar Latin dress!
- There are many details in the Talmud which cannot be dated; if some are obviously contemporary, others find parallels in Ancient Babylonia, for example in the code of Hammurabi. See L. N. Dembitz, Jew. Quart. Rev., xix. 109-126, and the literature on the code (see Babylonian Law). Numerous miscellaneous examples of the intimate relationship between the Rabbinical and older oriental material will be found in H. Pick, Assyrisches u. Talmudisches (Berlin, 1903) ; A. Jeremias, Bab. im N. Test. (Leipzig, 1905), Alte Test. im Lichte d. Alten Orients (ib., 1906); E. Bischoff, Bab. astrales im Weltbilde d. Thalmud u. Midrasch (ib., 1907).
- I. Abrahams, on “Rabbinic Aids to Exegesis,” in Swete's Camb. Bibl. Essays (1909), p. 181.
- See the essay of Schlatter, Sprache u. Heimat d. vierten Evangalisten (1902).
- See P. Fiebig, Alt-jüd. Gleichnisse u. d. Gleichnisse Jesu (Leipzig, 1904); Lauterbach, Jew. Ency., ix. 512 sqq.; Oesterley and Box, p. 96 seq.
- The “higher criticism” of these writings affords many useful hints and suggestions for that of other composite works, e.g. the Old Testament. It may be noticed also that the references to the Old Testament sometimes represent a slightly divergent text; see V. A. Aptowitzer, Schriftwort in d. Rabb. Lit. (1906); I. Abrahams, Camb. Bibl. Essays, pp. 172 sqq.