Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Talmud

TALMUD signifies—(1) "study of and instruction in anything (whether by any one else or by oneself)": [1] (2) "learning acquired" [2] (3) "style, system": [3] as such it is synonymous with Mishnah in its fifth signification, vol. xvi. p. 503; (4) "theory," in contradistinction to "practice," [4] — synonymous with Midrash in its fourth signification, vol. xvi. p. 285; (5) such interpretation of the Mosaic law as is apparent on the surface thereof and does not necessitate any further disquisition; [5] (6) Boroitho, or the non-canonical Mishnah; [6] (7) Gemara, i.e., the oldest commentary on the canonical Mishnah; [7] (8) the texts of Mishnah and Gemara combined,—the meaning which is the one most commonly attached to the term Talmud. Although the word Talmud is not to be found in the Bible, there can be little doubt that it is a classical Hebrew term, as may be seen by the analogy of Taḥđnūn, "supplication," Tanḥūm, "consolation," &c.

Recensions of the Talmud.—The Talmud exists in two recensions,—the Palestinian, commonly, but by mistake, called Talmud Yerushalmi (see below), and the Babylonian, correctly called Talmud Babli. The Talmud Yerushalmi embodies the discussions on the Mishnah (q.v.) of hundreds of doctors, living in Palestine, chiefly in Galilee, from the end of the 2d till about the middle of the 5th century, whilst the Babylonian Talmud embodies chiefly the discussions on the same Mishnah of hundreds of doctors living in various places in Babylonia, such as Nehardeˤa, [8] Ḳaphri, [9] Maḥuza, [10] Shekhanṣib, [11] but notably at the two great academies of Sura and Pumbaditha, from about 190 to nearly the end of the 6th century. The doctors of both recensions, although they primarily discuss the correctness of the text and meaning of the Mishnah, and what should be the right legal decision according to it, do not confine themselves to this. They introduce, as occasion serves, not merely the whole of the oral tradition handed down to their time, and the necessary references to, and interpretations of, the various laws to be found in the Pentateuch and the other sacred writings, but exhibit also, though only in a fragmentary manner, an almost complete cycle of the profane sciences as current orally and known to them by books composed by Jews and Gentiles. The doctors of both these recensions were and are called Amoraim (ותלמור ) i.e., mere "discussers, speakers," [12] because, unlike the Mishnic doctors, who were and are called Tannaim (ותלמור) "learners, teachers," they abstained from making new laws unless absolutely compelled by circumstances to do so. [13] These Amoraim stand, on the whole, in the same relation to their Mishnic predecessors as counsel giving a legal opinion, or judges deciding legal cases, stand to the legislature which frames the laws. In these points the doctors of both recensions agree. There are, however, also points of considerable difference between the two Talmuds. These are not merely geographical, and so necessarily linguistic, [14] but also material. Whilst the discussions in the Palestinian Talmud are simple, brief, and to the point, those in the Babylonian Talmud are subtle, long-winded, and, although always logical, sometimes even far-fetched. [15] But there is another difference. The Palestinian Talmud, besides containing legal and religious discussions, is a storehouse of history, geography, and archæology, whilst the Babylonian Talmud, taking into consideration that it is treble [16] the size of its fellow Talmud, contains less of these. On the other hand, it bestows more care upon the legal and religious points, and, being the later and the more studied of the two, it is also the more trustworthy.

System of the Talmud.—Most people imagine not only that the Talmuds are a pathless wilderness, without so much as grammatical rules in their respective languages, but that the laws laid down in them rest on mere tradition. In reality their languages have strictly grammatical rules (see below under Aids, &c.), and their laws rest on a strictly logical system. The laws in both Talmuds are discussed and argued on philosophical rules, for which it is claimed that they have existed from time immemorial, and can be traced to the Pentateuch itself. These are — (1) the Seven Rules (ותלמור ס) put forth by Hillel (Tosephto Synhedrin, vii., last §; Siphro, towards the end of the Introduction; Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan, xxxvii.) but a great deal older than his time; (2) the Thirteen Rules (ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ) put forth by R. Yishmaˤel (Introduction to Siphro), which can, however, be traced in nuce to the foregoing "Seven Rules": both these are for the Halakhah; and (3) there are also the Thirty-two Rules (ותלמור תורק בבר לסס) put forth by R. Eliˤezer b. R. Yose Haggalili (vol i. of most editions of the Babylonian Talmud), which are for the Agadah. In addition, most of the points to which these rules apply are secured by early tradition. It is quite true that by idiosyncrasy digressions are very frequent both in Talmud and Midrash; but in the Halakhah the digression, however long, invariably ends in coming back to the original cause of the logical combination, whilst in the Agadah the digression either comes back to the place from which it started, or else will be found, on examination, to have been introduced for its own sake, and have served its own purpose. As the doctors of Talmud and Midrash are mostly introduced in dialogues, this is the only practical, if somewhat uncommon, method.

Division of the Talmud.—The external division of both Talmuds is identical with the division, subdivision, and sub-subdivision of the Mishnah, although there is not always Gemara in the one when there is Gemara in the other. [17] This, however, need not be further discussed here, as all on this head is minutely specified in Mishnah (q.v.). Concerning the internal division into Halakhah and Agadah, it ought to be said that the former is more largely represented in the Babylonian Talmud, whilst the latter is more largely and more interestingly given in the Palestinian Talmud. Whole collections of Midrashim now in our hands have constituted (if we may judge from the known to the unknown) part of the Palestinian Talmud,[18] and seem to have chiefly belonged to those portions of it which have been gradually lost.

Purpose.—The Talmud, unlike the Mishnah, contains not only individual decisions, but everything that is necessary for arriving at legal and religious decisions of whatever description these may be, whilst, like the Mishnah, it is not itself a handbook of decisions. This is only in accordance with the nature and spirit of an oral law which delegates the decisions to the Talmudico-speculative capacities of the teachers of every age. Even several of the comparatively few instances in which the words . . . ותלמו ("and the decision is according to so and so") occur in the Babylonian Talmud are a later addition. They belong to the Halakhoth Gedoloth, [19] and are consequently, at the earliest, of the 8th century, but are probably of even much later date.

Editors. — The editorship of the Palestinian Talmud is generally, after Maimonides, [20] ascribed to Habbi Yohanan (b. Napha). But this, if literally taken, is a gross mistake, as that teacher (ob. 279) died more than a hundred years before the latest Amora (c. 450) mentioned in that Talmud. A similar error is made with respect to the editor or editors of the Babylonian Talmud, whose names are given as Rab Asshi (see Bab) (ob. 427) and Rabina (ob. 550), and who lived still much earlier than the last teachers mentioned in that Talmud (8th century). But it ought to be remembered that when the ancients speak of editors of books of such a mixed character as the Mishnah, the Zohar, both Talmuds, &c., they mean the person or persons who gave the first impulse to the collection or redaction of such books. In this sense, certainly, Rabbi Yoḥanan was the editor of the Palestinian and Rab Asshi and Rabina were the editors of the Babylonian Talmuds. For, whilst the first of the latter pair went more than once through the discussion of the whole Mishnah by the Amoraim from 190 to his time (c. 427), the latter supplemented the collection down to his own time (550). As regards the Babylonian Talmud, the Amoraim were succeeded by a new order of men called Saboraim (ותלמור לסס), i.e., "opiners," who ventured only occasionally to revise and authenticate the sayings of their predecessors. The last of these Saboraim were Rab ˤIna (or Giza) and Rab Simona (c. 550–590). In any case neither the one Talmud nor the other was written down, slight private notes excepted (ותלמור תורק ), before the close of the 6th century, if then. The apparently insurmountable difficulty of keeping such vast masses of literature in the head is removed when one takes into consideration that both teacher and student had means of help to their memory fully corresponding to the vastness of the literature. In the first place, they had the numbers already occurring in the Mishnah (e.g., five must not separate the heave-offering on account of the benediction to be recited in connexion with the act; Terumoth i, 1), &c. Secondly, they had names. Since to the sayings of the Talmud were generally attached the names of those who uttered them, saying and name became in the memory of the student identical. If somebody who had heard a certain saying from somebody, who in his turn had heard it from somebody else, was mentioned in the Talmud, all other sayings, however unlike these in nature, if they had only the same link of tradition, were recited on the same occasion: e.g., in the Palestinian Talmud, Megillah iv. 1, "says Rabbi Ḥaggai, says Rabbi Shemuel b. Rab Yiṣḥaḳ," &c.; T. B., Berakhoth, leaf 3b, &c., "says Rabbi Zeriḳa, says Rabbi Ammi, says Rabbi Yehoshuaˤ b. Levi," &c. Thirdly, other oral traditions, which went by the order of the Pentateuch, received in the written Pentateuch vast aids to memory. Fourthly, the Mishnah (although itself not written down), by its divisions, subdivisions, and sub-subdivisions, became, in its turn, a mighty aid to memory. Fifthly, as regards the Babylonian Talmud, there are additional means of aiding memory in existence, for every now and then one meets with a Mnemosynon (Siman), which strings together the order of subjects (e.g., T. B., Berakhoth, 32a, last line). Both in MSS. and printed editions these Simanim are given in brackets. Rapoport and his followers would have us believe that these mnemonic phrases are late inventions, but they have as yet failed to make good their assertions. See T. B., Shabbath 104a, and T. B., ˤErubin, 54b, where these Simanim are positively mentioned early in the 4th century; cf. Rashi in loco.

Value.—The value of the Talmuds may be estimated by the fact that they contain the Mishnah in various recensions and a large portion of the contents of Midrashic collections, and in addition comprise a vast amount of Sopheric literature not to be found in the canonical Mishnah and Agadic matter not to he found in the known Midraskim, and have thousands of notices on secular knowledge of all kinds. Here, however, the reader ought to be again reminded that, whilst the Babylonian Talmud, the one of much larger extent, contains a great deal more Judæo-religious matter, the Palestinian Talmud—of much smaller extent—is of much greater value for the historian, the geographer, the numismatist, and other students.

Vicissitudes of the Talmud.—Whilst the Babylonian Talmud commanded the attention of a hostile world, and was proscribed, mutilated, [21] and condemned, and finally delivered over to the flames [22] by popes and kings, the Palestinian Talmud suffered still more from one single enemy — neglect. [23] Thousands of copies of the former recension were destroyed in the course of time, but, this Talmud being studied in all parts of the world, the few copies surviving became the means of an endless supply. Not so as regards the Palestinian Talmud, which found no students, or but few, after the closing (c. 450) of the Jewish academies in Palestine; and we have even to thank the enemies of traditional Judaism, the Ḳaraites, who used it in controversy with their Rabbanite opponents, for the preservation of some copies of it. By degrees the neglect of the book became so great that whole chapters of treatises, whole treatises of orders, and almost two whole orders themselves, disappeared, and are lost to this day. [24]

Aids to the Study of the Talmuds.—(a) Lexicons,—The first rank is occupied by lexicons for both Talmuds and Midrashim, and of these that by R. Nathan b. Yehiel of Rome, compiled in the 11th and 12th centuries, claims the first place. All other lexicons, from Elias Levita, Philip Aquinas, Johannes Buxtorf, &c., down to Levy and Jastrow, are more or less based upon this grand work called ˤArukh. [25] (b) Grammars.—A slight attempt at compiling a grammar, and this only for the Babylonian Talmud, was made by the late learned S. D. Luzzatto. It exists in Italian (Padua, 1865), German by Krüger (Breslau, 1873), English by Goldammer (New York, 1876), and Hebrew by Lerner (St Petersburg, 1880). Of more value, however, is Nöldeke's Mandaitic Grammar, although it stands in connexion with the Babylonian Talmud only in an indirect way. (c) Commentaries.—Commentaries on the greater portion of the Babylonian Talmud are extant, by the famous Rabbenu Ḥananeel of Kairwan, the teacher of Riph (q.v.) by Rashi (q.v.), and by the descendants and disciples of this latter commentator, who composed the Tosaphoth. All these are included in the latest Talmud edition of Vilna. It is asserted by Rabad II. (q.v.) that the whole (B.) Talmud had been commented on in Arabic. As regards the commentaries on the Palestinian Talmud, it ought to be said that the Pene Mosheh, &c., by R. Mosheh Margaliyyoth, and the Ḳorban Ha'edah, &c., by R. David Fränkel (the teacher of Mendelssohn), make more than one commentary on the whole, and they are embodied in the Zhitomir edition (1860–67). (d) Methodology.—Among the many Introductions to the Babylonian Talmud that of R. Shemuel Hannagid must now be considered the first, not only in time but also in value. There was indeed an earlier, and perhaps a still more valuable one in existence (see Saadia), but it is now unfortunately lost. As regards the Palestinian Talmud, the only one in existence is that by the late Z. Frankel (Breslau, 1870, 8vo). The author was a most learned man, but somewhat confused in his diction. (e) Translations.—Renderings of isolated treatises of the Babylonian Talmud exist in Latin, Ugolini, Thesaurus, xix., Zebaḥim and Menaḥoth, and xxv., Synhedrin; [26] in French, e.g., Berakhoth, by Chiarini (Leipsic, 1831, 8vo); and in German, e.g., Berakhoth, by Rabe (Halle, 1777, 4to), regard being had also in both to the same treatise of the Palestinian recension, and again by Pinner (1842); Baba Meṣˤa, by Sammter (1876), both at Berlin and in folio; "Abodah Zarah, by Ewald (Nuremberg, 1866, 8vo); Taˤanith, by Straschun (Halle, 1883); Megillah and Rosh Hasshanah, by Rawicz (Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1884 and 1886). The assertion that the whole of this Talmud has been translated into Spanish has yet to be proved. As regards the Palestinian Talmud, Ugolini's Thesaurus contains the following treatises in Latin:—Pesahim (vol. xvii.); Sheḳalim, Yoma, Sukkah, Rosh Hasshanah, Taˤanith, Megillah, Hagigah, Beṣah, Moˤed Katan (vol. xviii.); Maˤaseroth, Maˤaser Sheni, Hallah, ˤOrlah, Bikkurim (vol. xx.); Synhedrin, Makkoth (vol. xxv.); Kiddushin, Sotah, Kethuboth (vol. xxx.). M. Schwab (of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) has undertaken a French translation of the entire Palestinian Talmud, which is now in progress; from this Berakhoth has been translated into English (London, 1886, 4to).

Editions.—The editions of the Palestinian Talmud, in what was then called its entirety, are only four:—(a) Venice, 1523, without any commentary; (b) Cracow, 1609, with a short commentary, the text apparently from a different MS. from that used for the editio princeps; (c) Krotoschin, 1866, with a short commentary differing from that of Cracow: these three editions are each comprised in one volume; (d) the fourth edition came out at Zhitomir, with commentaries by different men (see Commentaries above). All these editions are in folio. Of the editions of isolated treatises, which are not a few, we will only mention those of Berakhoth (Vienna, 1874) and Peah and Demai (Breslau, 1875, both in 4to), with a new commentary by Z. Frankel. The editions of the Babylonian Talmud are so numerous that they would require several entire sheets for enumeration. There is in existence an approximately good treatise on them (see Variæ Lectiones, vols. i. and viii.). We will only name three of the entire editions:—(1) the editio princeps, Venice, 1520–23, [27]—which, though disfigured by numerous misprints, was not mutilated by the censor; (2) the edition of Basel (1578–81), which omits ˤAbodah Zarah altogether, and has a cheering (?) notice in Latin; [28] (3) the latest edition, now printing at Vilna, with old commentaries hitherto unpublished. Of isolated treatises, which may be counted by more than hundreds, we will only mention one (the Portuguese of at least Berakhoth), the existence of which was asserted in the last century (Paḥad Yiṣḥaḳ, s.v. רק בב) then again called in question in our own times, but positively proved by the present writer from an early work composed at the time when but few editions of the Talmud existed. It Is the Zeraˤ Abraham (Camb. MS. Ti. 6. 50, leaf 59b). Materials for the critical edition of the Babylonian Talmud from an ancient MS. formerly in the monastery of Pfersee, but now in the Royal Library of Munich, and other MSS. and early prints of isolated treatises in various public and private libraries of Europe, Asia, and Africa, have been collected and are being published by Rabbinovicz. Of this important work fifteen volumes, containing the following treatises, have already come out:—the whole Seder Zeraˤim (1867); Beṣah, Ḥagigah, Moˤed Katan (1869); Sukkah, Taˤanith (1870); Rosh Hasshanah, Yoma (1871); ˤErubin (1873); Pesaḥim (1874); Shabbath (1875); Megillah, Sheḳalim (1877); Synhedrin (1878); ˤAbodah Zarah, Makkoth, Shebuˤoth, Horayoth, ˤEduyyoth (1879); Baba Bathra (1881); Baba Kamma (1882); Baba Meṣiˤa (1883); Zebaḥim (1884); Menaḥoth (1886)." [29] All these were printed in 8vo and at Munich, except vol, ix., which came out at Mainz.

Influence of the Talmud.—It must be admitted by every critical student of history that the Talmud has not merely been the means of keeping alive the religious idea among the Jews, but has formed their strongest bond of union. When, after the fall of the city of Jerusalem and its temple, and the expatriation of the Jews from Palestine, a goodly portion of the Mosaic law lost its application, the Talmud became the spirit which put fresh life into the letter which had become to a great extent dead. Moreover, by the Talmud, the interpretation of which was chiefly in the hands of the academies of Sura and Pumbaditha, the Jews of all the world found, if not a new Jerusalem, at least a new Yabneh (Jamnia), i.e., a place where the old learning was not merely continued, but made to shine with a yet greater splendour. This fact will be the more readily acknowledged and appreciated when one casts a glance at the miserable religious condition of the Ḳaraites, the so-called Scriptural Jews.

Transference of Talmudic Learning from the East to the West.—There naturally came a time when Talmudic learning, if it was to maintain its influence upon the Jews, could not be confined to one spot. We have seen under Rashi (q.v.) that the great emperor of the West (Charlemagne) had been the means, towards the close of the 8th century, of bringing learned Talmudists not only to Provence but to the north of France and the south of Germany.[30] But when nearly two hundred years later the academies of Babylonia were threatened with extinction (because of their lacking, from various causes, the means of subsistence), so that they had to send out members of their body to supplicate the support of their richer brethren in other countries, it providentially happened that the four men whom they sent were taken by a Spanish corsair admiral and sold in four different slave-markets. Rabbi Shemaryah was sold at Alexandria, and was redeemed by the Jews, and great was their astonishment when they recognized in him a most able Talmudist. He became the head of the Cairo community, and one of the most successful Jewish Talmud teachers Egypt ever had. Rabbi Ḥusshiel was taken to Kairwan, in Africa. There the Jews redeemed him; and when his great learning was found out he was named the spiritual head of the Jews in that place. From the school which he founded sprang not merely his own son, the famous Rabbenu Ḥananeel, but also the great Rabbenu Hissim, both teachers of Riph (q.v.). Another learned captive, R. Mosheh, was brought to the slave-market of Cordova, the rabbi of which town, a noble and rare example of unselfishness, modesty, and love of truth, placed the ragged stranger who had only been ransomed for charity’s sake a day or so before at the head of the community instead of himself. The name of the fourth is unknown (see Rabad II}., and Yoḥasin, ed. Cracow, leaf 125b). Some assert that he was R. Nathan Habbabli, and that he became the teacher of the Jews in Narbonne, but this is a mere conjecture, the truth of which has yet to be proved (see page 37, footnote7). Be this, however, as it may, four great Talmudists, who had come direct from the Babylonian academies, became the means of bringing Babylonico-Talmudic learning to places the Jews of which had been dependent on the religious and literary crumbs that fell from the richly-laden tables of Sura and Pumbaditha. Some years afterwards the former academy was closed, and a short time afterwards the same fate befell that of Pumbaditha, the sunset of which, if not the noonlight, in the persons of Rab Sherira Gaon and his son Rab Haï Gaon was even more glorious than that of the sister academy, the last "gaon" of which was Rab Shemuel b. Hophni, father-in-law of Rabbenu Haï. Meanwhile, however, Talmudic learning had not merely become naturalized, but eventually indigenous in various parts of Africa, and part of Europe (Spain, Italy, Provence, the south of Germany, and the north of France). Rabbenu Gershom b. Yehudah of Metz and his disciple Rabbenu Yiṣḥaḳ of Troyes, Rabbenu Yaˤaḳob b. Yaḳar of Worms, Rabbenu Eliˤezer Haggadol and his disciple and successor Rabbenu Yiṣḥaḳ Segan Leviyyah, Rabbenu Yiṣḥaḳ b. Yehudah of Mainz, Rabbenu Elyaḳim of Spires, Rabbenu Nathan b. Yeḥiel of Rome, and last but not least Rashi himself, and his sons-in-law and other disciples, represented Talmudic learning in such perfection as had not been found before as regards the Babylonian Talmud, even in the land of its birth and growth. It was the disciples’ disciples of these men who studied and taught in various towns of England within a hundred years (1150) after the Conquest. When, towards the end of the 13th century and the commencement of the 14th, the Jews were driven out of England (1290) and France (1306), and flocked chiefly to Italy, Greece, Germany, and Poland, the last-named country appropriated the lion’s share of Talmudic learning, so that till within our own century the rabbis of the chief communities in Hungary, Moravia, Bohemia, and other Austrian states, and in Germany, Holland, England, &c., had to be fetched from Poland. Talmudic learning, since Mendelssohn and his school arose, threatened to die out not merely among the Jews in Germany, but also among those of the other countries where the Jews spoke the German tongue in some form or other. Within the last twenty-five years, however, fresh impulse has been given to these studies, not merely among Jews but also among Christians.


  1. Compare Mishnah, Peah, i, 1 ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ("and the studying of the Law balances them all"); Aboth, iv. 13, ותלמור תורק בבר לסס (" be circumspect as regards instruction").
  2. See Perek Rabbi Meir, 6, ותלמור תורק בבר לסס (" whose heart is not arrogant on account of his learning"); cf, T. B., Pesaḥim, leaf 49a; ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ("his learning becomes forgotten by him").
  3. See T. B., Synhedrin, leaf 24a, ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ("the mode of study prevalent in Babylonia"); comp. T. B., Pesaḥim, 34b, ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ותלמור תורק בבר לסס ("foolish Babylonians, who, because ye dwell in a land of darkness, say sayings that are obscure"), and T. B., Baha Mesˤa, leaf 85a; Rabbi Zera fasted a hundred fasts on going up to Palestine, so that he might forget the style of Babylonico-Talmudic study (ותלמור תורק בבר לסס or ותלמור תורק בבר לסס), that it should not trouble him any further. Rashi takes the quotation from Baba meṣiˤ'a to signify the concrete Babylonian Talmud, which, however, is impossible.
  4. See T. B., Ḳiddushin, leaf 40b: "Is theory (ותלמור) greater or practice (ותלמור ) greater? . . . They all answered, Theory is greater because it leads to practice." Talmud, as will have been seen, is here given as synonymous with Limmud.
  5. See T. B., Baba Ḳamma, leaf 104b, ותלמור בבר לסס (" I say this is a plain [Mosaic] teaching ").
  6. See T. B., Baba Bathra, leaf 130b, catchword ותלמור תורק ב and Variæ Lectiones in loco.
  7. See T. B., Baba Meṣˤa, leaf 33b and compare Rashi in loco.
  8. The rector of this academy was Shemuel, court physician of Shapur I., and astronomer. Whilst his friend and fellow-pupil Rab (q.v.; they both attended the lectures of the principal editor of the Mishnah) excelled in the other parts of the Jewish law, Shemuel was pre-eminent in the civil law. On account of this he is repeatedly called in the Talmud both "Shapur" (like his master) and "Aryokh" (lion, king, teacher). To him is due the legal principle that " the law of the civil government is the law,"i.e.", that except in religious matters the Jew must submit to the laws of his country (T. B., Baha Bathra, 54b). Shemuel and Rab (like Rabbi Yoḥanan and Resh Laḳish, Abayye and Raba, and others), though intimate friends, nevertheless differ on nearly all imaginable points, so that when the Talmud wishes to give firmness to a certain decision or opinion, it uses the phrase: "Rab and Shemuel, &c., both agree."
  9. The rector of this school was Rab Ḥisda, the father-in-law of Raba (q.v.).
  10. The rector of this school was Raba (q.v.).
  11. The rector of this school was Rab Maḥman b. Yisḥak (T. B., Gittin, 31b, Rashi, catchword ותל), husband of the learned and accomplished Yaltha, the daughter of the resh galutha (T. B., Ḥullin,leaf 109b), &c.
  12. Amora may also mean an interpreter. The great teachers of the first five centuries had generally a man (or several men) at their side, who to the learning requisite to translate the master’s teaching given in Hebrew, and dilate on it in Aramaic, added a Stentor’s voice, and could by fascinating speech command the attention of the audience. The first Babylonian Amora, i.e., explainer of the Mishnah, who had an Amora, i.e., a popular teacher, was Rabbi Shila. The first who is known to have acted as Amora, i.e., popular teacher, to an Amora, i.e., an explainer of the Mishnah, was the famous Rab (q.v.). See T. Y., Berakhoth, iv. 1, 2, &c.; T. B., Berakhoth, leaf 27b; and T. B., Yoma, leaf 20b (against Rapoport,'Erekh Millin, s.v, "Amora").
  13. This certainly was not uufrequently the case, but even then they did so only in the spirit of the Tannaim.
  14. The Palestinian Amoraim, teaching people who understood Greek, had not to explain the Greek terms which frequently occur in the Mishnah and other works kindred to it. The Babylonian Amoraim, however, who in common with their hearers were ignorant of Greek, had a somewhat irregular though certainly effective way (received by them traditionally) of explaining the Greek terms in the Mishnah, &c,, by Aramaic etymology. We will give two instances only of this practice:—(1) ותלמו which is evidently the Greek ὑποθήκη, is explained T. B., Baba Meṣiˤa, leaf 66b ותלמור ת, "thou shalt get no payment except from this,"—evidently = ' ותלמור תורר לסס = "upon this thou shalt stand," i.e., "if I do not pay, this shall serve as my security"; compare Rashi on Baba Ḳamma, 11b, catchword ותלמו)2( ותלמו is evidently the Greek διαθήκη, and is explained as being a compound of ותלמור תורק בבר לסס "this shall stand when I am no more," i.e., "this is my last will and testament." From. T. B., Baba Bathira, leaf 135b (evidently a Babylonian Boroitho), we see that in T. B., Baba Meṣiˤ a, leaf 19a, three words (ותלמור תורק בבר לסס) have fallen out.
  15. Compare p. 35, footnote 3.
  16. Bibliographers generally fall into a mistake in describing the size of the Babylonian as twelve times that of the Palestinian Talmud. They forget that two-thirds of the size of the former is simply owing to the commentaries by which it is invariably accompanied.
  17. The only thing that ought to be mentioned here is, that to the Palestinian Talmud the Sheba' Massekhtoth Ḳetannoth Yerushalmiyyoth (Frankfort, 1851, 8vo) must be added, whilst Gemara Sheḳalim and the Massekhtoth Ḳetannoth, which now form an integral part of the Babylonian Talmud, are (Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan excepted) unjustifiably attached to it.
  18. See Rashi on Gen, xlvii. 2.
  19. E.g., T. B., Berakhoth, leaf 36a. See Rashi and Tosaphoth, catchword ותלמור ; Ibid., 36b, and in other places.
  20. In his Introduction to the commentary on the Mishnah (commonly, but by mistake, called Introduction to the Seder Zerˤaim) and in his Introduction to the Mishneh Torah.
  21. Raymundus Martin (Ramon Martinez), backed up by his teacher Pablo Cristiani (see Ramban), was one of the first five (or rather six) mutilators (called censors) of the Talmud and kindred books. See Touron, Histoire des Hommes Illustres de l'Ordre de Saint Dominique, i. (Paris, 1743, 4to) p. 492; Jour, Philol., xvi. 134.
  22. In the midsummer of 1244 twenty-four waggons full of Talmud copies were burned in France (see Journal of Philology, xvi. 133). A certain Donin (afterwards called Nicolaus), a converted Jew, by his accusations against the Talmud, managed that Rabbi Yeḥiel of Paris had to dispute with him publicly about its contents. The disputation took place in the midsummer of 1240; and R. Yeḥiel came out of it so victoriously that only after four years’ further machinations the Talmud was actually burned. The disputation is printed under the name of Disputatio cum Nicolao A. 1252 (I) habita cum Versione Latina in Wagenseil's Tela Ignea Satanæ (Altdorf, 1681, 4to); a less incorrect Hebrew edition came out in 1873, 8vo, at Thorn. This event of burning the Talmud called forth three elegies—(1) by R. Binyamin b. Abraham De' Mansi, beginning ותלמור תור and the refrain of which was ותלמור תורק בבר לסס (see MS. Add. 374, Camb. Univ. Lib., leaves 307a-308a); (2) by R. Meir of Rothenburg (see Rosh), the beginning of which is ותלמור תורק בבר לסס (in the Ashkenazic ritual for the 9th of Ab); and (3) by R. Abraham b. Yiṣḥaḳ (see Zunz, Zur Gesch. u. Lit., pp. 463–4). This Abraham b. Yiṣḥaḳ is the father of the famous En-bonet Abram Bederesi (not Bedarshi; see Schiller-Szinessy, Catal., i, correction 5), the author of the Beḥinath ˤOlam.
  23. See Schiller-Szinessy in the Academy, 1878, p. 171, and extract from Excursus iii. (to the Catalogue) of the Palestinian Talmud in Occasional Notices, &c., i., Cambridge, 1878, 8vo.
  24. See the before-mentioned Occasional Notices.
  25. Rabbenu Nathan b. Yeḥiel b. Abraham was, on his father's side an ˤAnav (ותלמ)—and not an ˤAkko (ותלמ) as Rapoport, no doubt after Ibn Yaḥya, writes it in Bikkure Haˤittim, x. 7—i.e., of the family ˤAnavim (Dei Mansi, Dei Mansueti, Dei Piatelli, Dei Pietosi, Dei Umani, Dei Umili), and, on his mother's side, of the Tappuḥim, i.e., De Pomis, to which thecelebrated author of the Lexicon Ṣemah David belonged. Rabbenu Nathan's father and grandfather, like Rabbenu Nathan himself and his brother's descendants, were, no doubt, papal court Jews (and not linendrapers, as the latest editor of the ˤArukh, by misreading and misinterpreting the somewhat hard verses of his author, contrives to show). This lucrative position furnished them with ample means not only for their noble charities to congregational institutions (a synagogue, religious bath, &c.), but also with the leisure necessary for the pursuit of Talmudic studies. Rabbenu Nathan was resh kallah (rector of the Jewish university), and unquestionably the greatest Talmudist, even as he was the poorest Hebrew poet, in Italy in the 11th and 12th centuries. As regards his teachers we know four, three of whom he attended, whilst he studied and digested the works of the fourth so well that, though personally unknown to one another, they may be justly called master and disciple. His first teacher was his own father; his second teacher, from whom Rabbenu Nathan no doubt obtained his thorough knowledge of Babylonian habits, was R. Maṣliah of Sicily, who had been a hearer of the greatest "gaon" of Pumbaditha; his third teacher was R. Mosheh b. Ya'aḳob b. Mosheh b. Abbun of Narbonne (or Toulouse; better known under the name of R. Mosheh Haddarshan); and the fourth was Rabbenu Ḥananeel of Kairwan. He owed so much to this teacher that as soon as the ˤAruhk had appeared most people took it for granted that Rabbenu Ḥananeel had lived at Rome, and accordingly called him "a man of Rome—"Ish Romi"; see MS. Brit. Mus. Add. 27,201, leaf 73b, and Tosaphoth, passim. (That Rabbenu Gershom, Rabbenu Mosheh ותלמור and others were his teachers, as Rapoport, loc. cit., asserts, is a fiction.) Rabbenu Nathan, in his ˤArukh, does not merely' explain the foreign (i.e., Aramaic, Persian, Greek, Latin, and Arabic) words occurring in the Targums, Talmuds, and Midrashim, but the subject-matter also, and thereby proves himself a doubly useful guide. In this, although he had been preceded by no less a personage than the Gaon Semah b. Paltoi (fl. 870), who also composed such an ˤArukh, Rabbenu Nathan was virtually the first, as the Gaon's work had been early lost. The assertion that the fourth of the four men captured by the Spanish admiral (see below, p. 39) was R. Nathan Habbabli, that he lived in Narbonne, and that he also composed a similar ˤArukh, rests on a misunderstanding, as the quotation in the Yoḥasin clearly shows. The passages there given under R. Nathan Habbabli are taken vertatim from the ˤArukh of our author (compare the article ותלמור &c.). That Rome has been at times called in Jewish writings "Babel," and that consequently Habbabli may mean "the Roman," is clear from the writings of the New Testament. We will only add here a few words concerning the bibliography of the book. Of the ˤArukh exist so far ten editions, the first of which came out undated, but before or about 1480. The seventh edition was enriched by the physician R. Binyamin Musaphia's Musaph, i.e., Additamenta (Musaphia was a Greek and Latin scholar), and the latest edition by Dr Kohut is now in progress. As regards the MSS. of this remarkable lexicon the best copies are to be found partly in the University Library, Cambridge (Add, 376, which has all the verses of the author and additamenta by R. Shemuel Ibn ותלמור, and Add. 471–72), and partly at the Court Library, Vienna {Cod. cvi. 1 and 2). The latter were carried off by Napoleon I. to Paris in 1809, but in 1815 were returned to Vienna.
  26. Various writers assert that there exist many books containing Latin translations of various treatises of the Babylonian Talmud. Upon examination these books turn out to contain either a translation only of Mishnic treatises with or without excerpta from, and with or without scholia on, Gemara, or disputations which introduce small pieces of Gemara. The utmost they contain is a chapter or two translated from Gemara itself (as, for example, "Edzard, Aboda Sara," &c., Hamburg, 1705–10, 4to, which contains Gemara of the first two Peraḳin).
  27. The paging of this has been followed in all subsequent editions.
  28. Nunc ab omnibus iis quæ contra religionem Christianam faciebant recognitum, et juxta mentem Sacri concilii Tridentini expurgatum et approbatum, ut non modo citra impietatem verum etiam cum fructu a nostris legi possit.
  29. The notes in the first fourteen volumes go under the name of ותלמור תורק, whilst those of the fifteenth volume have the title of ותלמו, in memory of the late Abraham Merzbacher, who not merely proved the Mæcenas of this publication during his lifetime, but left a considerable sum for its continuation and completion.
  30. Italy, notably Sicily, was apparently the country which obtained her teachers direct from Iraḳ.