Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

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Angel

Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

Post #1

Post by Angel »

Hi. I'm trying to understand what role do the Palestinian Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud play in Judaism.

1. Do Jews in Judaism follow both?

2. Which of the 2 do Jews consider more authoritative or follow more?

3. According to what I've read so far, each Talmud was completed between the 3rd and 5th century A.D., so which body of writings/teachings (other than the OT if any) influenced 1st Century Jewish leaders? I'm just asking because I thought that the Talmuds or at least some of the writings contained in them were already in circulation during 1st century Palestine.

Thanks to anyone who answers!

cnorman18

Re: Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

Post #2

Post by cnorman18 »

Angel wrote:Hi. I'm trying to understand what role do the Palestinian Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud play in Judaism.

1. Do Jews in Judaism follow both?

2. Which of the 2 do Jews consider more authoritative or follow more?

3. According to what I've read so far, each Talmud was completed between the 3rd and 5th century A.D., so which body of writings/teachings (other than the OT if any) influenced 1st Century Jewish leaders? I'm just asking because I thought that the Talmuds or at least some of the writings contained in them were already in circulation during 1st century Palestine.

Thanks to anyone who answers!
The ideas which were later recorded in the two Talmuds (they are very similar, but see below) were indeed in circulation in the first century CE, but the Talmuds did not exist till much later. Those ideas were called (and still are) the "Oral Torah": it was an oral tradition, never written down, that is supposed to have been passed down from the time of Moses. It was forbidden to write it, until such time as there was substantial danger of its being lost entirely; around the end of the 2nd century CE, Yehudah HaNasi {aka Rabbi Judah the Prince), ruled that such a time had come. Persecution of Jews was at an all-time high, many schools of Jewish learning had been destroyed and many teachers of Torah killed; so Yehudah HaNasi caused the Mishnah, the core document of what later became the Talmud, to be written down at last. Commentary upon the Mishnah, called the Gemara, accumulated over the next few centuries; and though the Talmuds were finally declared complete, they never really will be, since commentary and responsa (answer to questions) and the like continued to be written and handed down, and that process continues into the present day. It would take a good-sized library to contain all of Jewish religious and traditional literature.

The Babylonian Talmud -- Talmud Bavli -- is longer, more exhaustive, and more often consulted and quoted; but both are authoritative, if you understand that that doesn't mean "authoritative" in the sense that Christians hold the Bible to be "authoritative." The Talmuds, both of them, are records of discussions and debates among the rabbis and sages of old, and are considered key documents in Jewish tradition and literature, but one doesn't "proof text" from the Talmud to prove one's point. One examines the reasoning behind one position or another, and agrees with it or not. The Talmuds rather often do not come to a definitive ruling, but let two differing or even mutually exclusive rulings stand, since none of the sages felt qualified to speak for God.

Note that the "rulings" in the Talmuds do not refer to theological or doctrinal teachings, though some speculation about those matters may be found there. The Talmud is overwhelmingly concerned with ethics, with what is right and wrong to DO in a dizzying variety of situations.

It's also worth noting that these works are huge, and VERY complex. Talmud Bavli runs to more than fifty large volumes in English, and the cross-references and allusions and commentaries on commentaries and minority opinions there make it truly a work for experts.

There is no single person, book, committee, or ANYTHING that constitutes a central, final authority in the Jewish faith. It's all tradition, and tradition is defined by consensus over centuries, and it changes. Traditions are changing even as we speak; the first woman to have a Bat Mitzvah is still living, and the place of the Holocaust in teaching and tradition and observance is still being determined.

I hope all that helps.

Angel

Re: Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

Post #3

Post by Angel »

cnorman18,

Thanks for answering those questions of mine and with an excellent post!!! That really helped and gives me some routes to expand some of my research - thanks again!

I've been able to find some English translations of the Talmuds by publishers/authors like Jacob Neusner, Soncino, and Artscroll but they're real expensive. So far I've found a free online text of the Babylonian Talmud from Soncino publishers, edited by Rabbi Epstein found here..http://www.halakhah.com/.


On Amazon.com:
Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Cd rom) by Jacob Neusner
http://www.amazon.com/Jerusalem-Talmud- ... pd_sim_b_1

The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (22 volume set with cd-rom)
http://www.amazon.com/Babylonian-Talmud ... pr_vsims_t

The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition [22 Volume Set]
by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
http://www.amazon.com/Talmud-Steinsaltz ... 811&sr=1-4




If anyone knows where I can find a free online text of the Palestinian Talmud, please PM me or post it here. Thanks.

cnorman18

Re: Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

Post #4

Post by cnorman18 »

Angel wrote:cnorman18,

Thanks for answering those questions of mine and with an excellent post!!! That really helped and gives me some routes to expand some of my research - thanks again!

I've been able to find some English translations of the Talmuds by publishers/authors like Jacob Neusner, Soncino, and Artscroll but they're real expensive. So far I've found a free online text of the Babylonian Talmud from Soncino publishers, edited by Rabbi Epstein found here..http://www.halakhah.com/.

On Amazon.com:
Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Cd rom) by Jacob Neusner
http://www.amazon.com/Jerusalem-Talmud- ... pd_sim_b_1

The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (22 volume set with cd-rom)
http://www.amazon.com/Babylonian-Talmud ... pr_vsims_t

The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition [22 Volume Set]
by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
http://www.amazon.com/Talmud-Steinsaltz ... 811&sr=1-4

If anyone knows where I can find a free online text of the Palestinian Talmud, please PM me or post it here. Thanks.
Not sure what your object is, but trust me on this one; you're better off reading a good book ABOUT the Talmud rather than trying to dig into it yourself. The Talmud for Dummies is surprisingly good; also Everyman's Talmud, The Talmud for Today, and books of that nature. I know rabbis, fluent in Hebrew and Aramaic, who tell me that the Talmud is for experts. I thought they WERE experts.

Studying Talmud is the work of a lifetime. I personally know a rabbi here in Dallas, a world-class Torah scholar and authority, and HE would not profess to fully understand the Talmud. To BEGIN direct Talmud study would require a deep (as in a rabbi's) familiarity with Jewish teachings, beliefs, history and tradition, because that knowledge was taken for granted by the sages who wrote it. I'm pretty well-read and knowledgable, and you won't catch me attempting that. Pick up a good book ABOUT Talmud and you'll end up learning a lot more.

Angel

Re: Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

Post #5

Post by Angel »

cnorman18 wrote:
Angel wrote:cnorman18,

Thanks for answering those questions of mine and with an excellent post!!! That really helped and gives me some routes to expand some of my research - thanks again!

I've been able to find some English translations of the Talmuds by publishers/authors like Jacob Neusner, Soncino, and Artscroll but they're real expensive. So far I've found a free online text of the Babylonian Talmud from Soncino publishers, edited by Rabbi Epstein found here..http://www.halakhah.com/.

On Amazon.com:
Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Cd rom) by Jacob Neusner
http://www.amazon.com/Jerusalem-Talmud- ... pd_sim_b_1

The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (22 volume set with cd-rom)
http://www.amazon.com/Babylonian-Talmud ... pr_vsims_t

The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition [22 Volume Set]
by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
http://www.amazon.com/Talmud-Steinsaltz ... 811&sr=1-4

If anyone knows where I can find a free online text of the Palestinian Talmud, please PM me or post it here. Thanks.
Not sure what your object is, but trust me on this one; you're better off reading a good book ABOUT the Talmud rather than trying to dig into it yourself. The Talmud for Dummies is surprisingly good; also Everyman's Talmud, The Talmud for Today, and books of that nature. I know rabbis, fluent in Hebrew and Aramaic, who tell me that the Talmud is for experts. I thought they WERE experts.

Studying Talmud is the work of a lifetime. I personally know a rabbi here in Dallas, a world-class Torah scholar and authority, and HE would not profess to fully understand the Talmud. To BEGIN direct Talmud study would require a deep (as in a rabbi's) familiarity with Jewish teachings, beliefs, history and tradition, because that knowledge was taken for granted by the sages who wrote it. I'm pretty well-read and knowledgable, and you won't catch me attempting that. Pick up a good book ABOUT Talmud and you'll end up learning a lot more.
Well for now I wanted read some of the Talmuds for informational purposes. I thought they might be good for understanding some of what influenced Jewish belief, laws, and customs in the 1st century C.E. but from what you mentioned earlier, I guess that it would be true in a general sense since the Talmuds wasn't put together until at least the 2nd century.

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Re: Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud

Post #6

Post by Jrosemary »

Angel wrote:
cnorman18 wrote:
Angel wrote:cnorman18,

Thanks for answering those questions of mine and with an excellent post!!! That really helped and gives me some routes to expand some of my research - thanks again!

I've been able to find some English translations of the Talmuds by publishers/authors like Jacob Neusner, Soncino, and Artscroll but they're real expensive. So far I've found a free online text of the Babylonian Talmud from Soncino publishers, edited by Rabbi Epstein found here..http://www.halakhah.com/.

On Amazon.com:
Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Cd rom) by Jacob Neusner
http://www.amazon.com/Jerusalem-Talmud- ... pd_sim_b_1

The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (22 volume set with cd-rom)
http://www.amazon.com/Babylonian-Talmud ... pr_vsims_t

The Talmud: The Steinsaltz Edition [22 Volume Set]
by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
http://www.amazon.com/Talmud-Steinsaltz ... 811&sr=1-4

If anyone knows where I can find a free online text of the Palestinian Talmud, please PM me or post it here. Thanks.
Not sure what your object is, but trust me on this one; you're better off reading a good book ABOUT the Talmud rather than trying to dig into it yourself. The Talmud for Dummies is surprisingly good; also Everyman's Talmud, The Talmud for Today, and books of that nature. I know rabbis, fluent in Hebrew and Aramaic, who tell me that the Talmud is for experts. I thought they WERE experts.

Studying Talmud is the work of a lifetime. I personally know a rabbi here in Dallas, a world-class Torah scholar and authority, and HE would not profess to fully understand the Talmud. To BEGIN direct Talmud study would require a deep (as in a rabbi's) familiarity with Jewish teachings, beliefs, history and tradition, because that knowledge was taken for granted by the sages who wrote it. I'm pretty well-read and knowledgable, and you won't catch me attempting that. Pick up a good book ABOUT Talmud and you'll end up learning a lot more.
Well for now I wanted read some of the Talmuds for informational purposes. I thought they might be good for understanding some of what influenced Jewish belief, laws, and customs in the 1st century C.E. but from what you mentioned earlier, I guess that it would be true in a general sense since the Talmuds wasn't put together until at least the 2nd century.
I agree with CNorman--diving into the Talmud on your own is not the way to go! I agree, also, that The Talmud For Dummies can help (my last rabbi recommended it too). You can also check in your local liberal synagogues for an adult-ed 'Introduction to the Talmud' class. Sometimes they offer one, and you don't always need to be a synagogue member to register.

cnorman18

Update on availability of the Talmud

Post #7

Post by cnorman18 »

Update might be in order here, though I still regard unassisted study of the Talmud on one's own as unwise:

The Talmud was previously only available in print editions at a cost in four figures, and those were not easily obtainable. Today, the complete Babylonian Talmud is available from Amazon in a downloadable Kindle edition, for Kindle, iPhone, and various other devices.

It costs less than a dollar and downloads in just a few minutes.

Maimonides would have to sit down with some smelling salts -- and then probably get drunk.

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