Note: Blue highlighting has been applied to the words Elizabeth Dilling underlined in her exhibits. The text is unchanged from the original.


Michael L. Rodkinson: The History of the Talmud
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extraordinary mental and dialectical powers, he became R. Jochanan's most distinguished friend and colleague. In the interpretation of the Mishna and in legal questions they differed, however, very often, and their numerous controversies are reported in the Babylonian Talmud as well as in the Palestinian. Also is his Hagadic teachings, Resh Lakish was original and advanced some very rational views.

4. R. Joshua b. Levi (ben Sissi) presided over an academy in Lydda. He is regarded as a great authority in the law, and his decisions prevail even in cases where his celebrated con temporaries, R. Jochanan and Resh Lakish differ from him. Though himself a prolific Hagadist, he disapproved of the vagaries of the Hagada, and objected to their being written down in books. The circumstance that, on a certain occasion, his prayer for rain proved to be efficient, probably gave rise to the mystic legends with which the fancy of later generations tried to illustrate his great piety.

To other celebrities flourishing in this generation belongs R. Simlai of Lydda, who later settled in Nahardea. He was reputed less as teacher of the Halakha than for his ingenious and lucid method of treating the Hagada.


1. Abba Areca (or Aricha) was the real name of the chief Babylonian Amora, who, by way of eminence, is generally called Rab (the Teacher). He was born about 175 and died 247.

As an orphaned youth he went to his uncle, the celebrated R. Chiya in Palestine, to finish his studies in the academy of R. Jehuda Hanasi. The mental abilities which he displayed soon attracted general attention. After the death of R. Jehuda, Abba returned to his native country, and in the year 219 founded the academy in Sura, where 1,200 pupils flocked around him from all parts of Babylonia. His authority was recognized even by the most celebrated teachers in Palestine. Being regarded as one of the semi-Tanaim, he ventured in some instances even to dispute some opinions accepted in the Mishna, a privilege otherwise not accorded to any of the Amoraim. Most of his decisions, especially in ritual questions, obtained legal sanction, but in the civil law his




friend Samuel in Nahardea was his superior. Over one hundred of his numerous disciples, who transmitted his teachings and decisions to later generations, are mentioned in the Talmud by their names.

2. Samuel, or Mar Samuel, was born about 18o in Nahardea, died there 257. His father, Abba bar Abba, and Levi b. Sissi were his first teachers. Like Rab he went to Palestine and became a disciple of Rabbi Jehuda Hanasi, from whom, however, he could not obtain the ordination. After his return to Nahardea, he succeeded R. Shela in the dignity of president of the academy (Resh-Sidra) in that city. Besides the law, he cultivated the sciences of medicine and astronomy. As Amora he developed especially the rabbinical jurisprudence, in which he was regarded as the greatest authority.* Among other important principles established by him is that of "Ding d'mal-chutha Dina," that is, the civil law of the government is as valid for the Jews as their own law. The most friendly and brotherly relation prevailed between Samuel and Rab, although they often differed in questions of the law. After Rab's death (247), his disciples recognized Samuel as the highest religious authority of Babylonia. He died about ten years later, leaving behind numerous disciples, several of whom became the leading teachers in the following generation.

A distinguished contemporary of Samuel was Mar Uqba, at first head of the court in Kafri, and later Exilarch in Nahardea.


A. Palestinian (279-320).B. Babylonian (257-320).
1. R. Elazar b. Pedath. 1. Rab Huna.
2. R. Ame. 2. Rab Juda bar Jecheskel.
3. R. Assi. 3. Rab Chisda (or Chasda).
4. R. Chiya bar Abba. 4. Rab Shesheth.
5. Simon bar Abba. 5. Rab Nachman b. Jacob.
6. R. Abbuhu.
7. R. Zera (Zeira).

To the second generation of the Palestinian, Strack adds, (8) Jehudah the Second (son of Gamalia III.), (Johanan and

* Mar Samuel made also a compilation of Boraithoth, which is quoted in the Talmud by the phrase "the disciples of Samuel."




Simon b. Lakish Strack refers to the second generation); (9) Hilfa or Ilfa; (10) Alexanderi; (11) Khana; (12) Chia bar Joseph; (13) Jos b. Chaninah; (14) Abba b. Zabdah, and (15) Simlaie.

To the Babylonian Strack adds, (6) Ktinah; (7) Adda b. Ahba; (8) Rabba b. Abuhu, and (9) Mathna.

Remarks and Biographical Sketches.


The patriarchate during this generation was successively in the hands of R, Gamaliel IV, and R. Judah III.

1. R. Elazar ben Pedath, generally called simply R. Elazar, like the Tana R. Elazar (ben Shamua), for whom he must not be mistaken, was a native of Babylonia, and a disciple and later an associate of R. Jochanan, whom he survived. He enjoyed great authority and is very often quoted in the Talmud.

2. and 3. R. Ame and R. Assi were likewise Babylonians, and distinguished disciples of R. Jochanan. After the death of R. Elazar they became the heads of the declining academy in Tiberias. They had the title only of "Judges, or the Aaronites of the Holy Land," and subordinated themselves to the growing authority of the teachers in Babylonia. Rabbi Assi is not to be confounded with his contemporary the Babylonian Amora Rab Assi, who was a colleague of Rab Saphra and a disciple of Rab in Sura.*

4. and 5. R, Chiya bar Abba and Simon bar Abba were probably brothers. They had emigrated from Babylonia and became disciples of R. Jochanan. Both were distinguished teachers, but very poor. In questions of the law they were inclined to rigorous views.

6. R. Abbuhu of Caesarea, disciple of R. Jochanan, friend and colleague of R. Ame and R. Assi, was a man of great wealth and of a liberal education. He had a thorough knowledge of the Greek language, and favored Greek culture. Being held in high esteem by the Roman authorities, he had great political influence. He seems to have had frequent controversies with the teachers of Christianity in Caesarea. Besides being a "

* See Tosephoth Chullin, 19a.




prominent teacher whose legal opinions are quoted in all parts of the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud, he was a very popular lecturer.

7. R. Zeira (or Zera), was a Babylonian and a disciple of Rab Juda bar Jecheskel, but dissatisfied with the hair-splitting method prevailing in the academies of his native country, he emigrated to Palestine where he attended the lectures of R. Elazar b. Pedath in Tiberias, and tried, in vain, to unlearn his former method of study. Having been ordained as Rabbi, he became one of the authorities in Palestine, together with R. Ame, R. Assi and R. Abbuhu.


1. Rab Huna (born 212, died 297) was a disciple of Rab, whom, after Mar Samuel's death, he succeeded as president of the academy in Sura. In this office he was active for forty years. He employed fifteen assistants to repeat and explain his lectures to his 800 disciples. Highly revered for his great learning and his noble character, he enjoyed an undisputed authority to which even the Palestinian teachers R. Ame and R. Assi voluntarily subordinated themselves.

2. Rab _7uda bar Jecheskel, generally called simply R. Juda (or Jehuda), was a disciple of Rab, and also of Samuel. The latter teacher, whose peculiar method he adopted and developed, used to characterize him by the epithet, "the acute." He founded the academy in Pumbaditha, but after R. Huna's death he was chosen as his successor (Resh Methibta), at Sura, where after two years (299), he died at an advanced age.

3. Rab Chisda (or Chasda) belonged to the younger disciples of Rab, after whose death he attended also the lectures of R. Huna. But from the latter teacher he soon separated on account of a misunderstanding between them, and established a school of his own. At the same time, he was one of the judges in Sura. After Rab Juda's death, R. Chisda, though already above eighty years old, became head of the academy in Sura, and remained in this office for about ten years.

4. Rab Shesheth, a disciple of Rab and Samuel, was member of the court in Nahardea. After the destruction of that city he went to Mechuza; later he settled in Silhi, where he founded




an academy. Being blind, he had to rely upon his powerful memory. He was R. Chisda's opponent in the Halakha, and disapproved of the hair-splitting dialectical method which had come in vogue among the followers of Rab Juda in Pumbaditha.

5. Rab Nachman b. Jacob, called simply Rab Nachman, was a prominent disciple of Mar Samuel. By his father-in-law, the exilarch Abba bar Abuha, he was appointed chief justice in Nahardea. After Mar Samuel's death, he succeeded him as rector of the academy in that city. When two years later (259), the city of Nahardea was destroyed, R. Nachman settled in Shechan-Zib. He is regarded as a great authority especially in the rabbinical jurisprudence, in which he established many important principles. Among others, he originated the rabbinical oath, that is, the purging oath imposed in a law suit on claims even in cases of general denial on the part of the defendant.

Of other teachers belonging to this generation, who, though not standing at the head of the leading academies, are often quoted in the Talmud, the following must be noted

(a) Rabba bar bar Chana, who was a Babylonian and son of Abba bar Chana. After having attended the academy of R. Jochanan in Palestine, he returned to his native country, where he frequently reported the opinions of his great teacher. He is also noted for the many allegorical narratives ascribed to him in the Talmud.

(b) Ulla (b. Ishmael) was a Palestinian who frequently travelled to Babylonia, where he finally settled and died. Although without the title of Rabbi or Rab, he was regarded as a distinguished teacher whose opinions and reports are often mentioned.


A. Palestinian (320-359).B. Babylonian (320-375).
1. R. Jeremiah. 1. Rabba bar Huna.
2. R. Jonah. 2. Rabba bar Nachmani.
3. R. Jose. 3. Rab Joseph (bar Chiya).
4. Abaye.5. Rabha.
6. Rab Nachman bar Isaac.
7. Rab Papa.



To the Palestinian, Strack adds, (4) Samuel b. Nachman (in the Babylonian he is mentioned as Nachmani); (5) Itzhak the second (his contemporary in Babylonia is Nachman b. Jacob); (6) Lewi; (7) Abuhu; (8) Ami; (9) Assi; (10) Hyya b. Abba II. (Elazar b. Pedath he quotes in the third generation); (11) Simeon b. Abba; (12) Simur (also Zera is mentioned among the second generation); (13) Samuel b. Itzhak; (14) Hilla or Illeh; (15) Zrika; (16) Hoshia the second; (17) Chananiah (the colleague of the Rabbinat)*; (18) Janai b. Ishmael; (19) Joshua; (20) Ban b. Mamal (in Babylonia named Abba b. Mamal); (21) Jacob b. Ide; (22) Itzhak b. Nachma; (23) Maysha; (24) Bibe; (Haggi and Jeremiah Strack quotes as belonging also to the fourth generation).

To the Babylonian, Strack adds, (8) Chisda; (9) Hamnuna; (10) Shesheth; (11) Nachma b. Jacob; (12) Rabba b. b. Hanna; (13) Ulla b. Ishmael; (14) Rabba b. Nachmene, and (15) Joseph b. Hiah.

Remarks and Biographical Sketches.


The patriarch of this period was Hillel II, who introduced the fixed Jewish calendar.

In consequence of the persecutions and the banishment of several religious teachers under the emperors Constantine and Constantius, the Palestinian academies entirely decayed. The only teachers of any prominence are the following:

1. R. Jeremiah was a Babylonian and disciple of R. Zeira, whom he followed to Palestine. In his younger days, when still in his native country, he indulged in propounding puzzling questions of trifling casuistry, by which he probably intended to ridicule the subtle method prevailing among some of the contemporary teachers, and on this account he was expelled from the academy. In the Holy Land he was more appreciated, and, after the death of R. Abbahu and R. Zeira, was acknowledged as the only authority in that country.

2. R. Jonah was a disciple of R. Ila (Hila) and of R. Jere-

* There are eight Tanaim and twenty-three Amoraim named Chananiah. We do not remember who was called so as Strack did.




miah. His opinions are frequently quoted, especially in the Palestinian Talmud.

3. R. Jose (bar Zabda), colleague of R. Jonah, was one of the last rabbinical authorities in Palestine.

It is probable that the compilation of the Palestinian Talmud was accomplished about that time, though it cannot be stated by whom.


1. Rabba (or Rab Abba) bar Huna was not, as erroneously supposed by some, the son of the exilarch Huna Mari, but of Rab Huna, the disciple and successor of Rab. After the death of R. Chisda (309), he succeeded him in the dignity of president of the academy in Sura. Under his presidency, lasting thirteen years, this academy was eclipsed by that of Pumbaditha, and after his death it remained deserted for about fifty years until Rab Ashe restored it to its former glory.

2. Rabba bar Nachmani, in the Talmud called simply Rabba was born 270 and died 33o. He was a disciple of Rab Huna, Rab Juda and Rab Chisda, and displayed from his youth great dialectical powers on account of which he was characterized as "the uprooter of mountains." Selected as head of the academy of Pumbaditha, he attracted large crowds of hearers by his ingenious method of teaching. In his lectures which commented on all parts of the Mishna, he investigated the reason of the laws and made therefrom logical deductions. Besides, he tried to reconcile seeming differences between the Mishna, the Baraithoth, and the traditional teachings of later authorities. He also liked to propound puzzling problems of the law, in order to test and sharpen the mental powers of his disciples. A charge having been made against him by the Persian government that many of his numerous hearers attended his lectures in order to evade the poll-tax, he fled from Pumbaditha and died in solitude.

3. Rab Joseph (bar Chiya) was a disciple of Rab Juda and Rab Shesheth, and succeeded his friend Rabba in the dignity of president of the academy in Pumbadita, after having once before been elected for this office, which he declined in favor of Rabba. On account of his thorough knowledge of the sources




of the Law, to which he attached more importance than to ingenious deductions, he was called Sinai. Besides being a great authority in the rabbinical law, he devoted himself to the Targum of the Bible, especially of the prophetical books. In his old age he became blind. He died in the year 333, after having presided over the academy of Pumbaditha only for three years.

4. Abaye, surnamed Nachmani (b. 280, d. 338) was a son of Kaylil and a pupil of his uncle Rabba bar Nachmani, and of Rab Joseph. He was highly esteemed not only for his profound knowledge of the law and his mastership in Talmudical dialectics, but also for his integrity and gentleness. After Rab Joseph's death he was selected as head of the academy in Pumbaditha, but under his administration, which lasted about five years, the number of hearers in that academy decreased considerably, as his more talented colleague Raba had founded a new academy in Machuza which attracted greater crowds of pupils. Under these two Amoraim the dialectical method of the Babylonian teachers reached the highest development. Their discussions, which mostly concern some very nice distinctions in the interpretation of the Mishna, in order to reconcile conflicting passages, fill the pages of the Talmud.* In their differences concerning more practical questions, the opinion of Raba generally prevails, so that later authorities pointed out only six cases in which the decision of Abaye was to be adopted against that of his rival.

5. Raba was the son of Joseph b. Chama in Machuza. He was born 299, and died 352. In his youth he attended the lectures of Rab Nachman and of R. Chisda, Later, he and Abaye were fellow-students in the academy of Rabba bar Nachmani. Here he developed his dialectical powers, by which he soon surpassed all his contemporaries. He opened an academy in Machuza which attracted a great number of students. After Abaye's death this academy supplanted that in Pumbaditha and during Raba's lifetime became almost the only seat of learning in Babylonia. His controversies with his contemporaries, especially with his rival colleague, Abaye, are very

* The often very subtle argumentations of these two teachers became so proverbial that the phrase "the critical questions of Abaye and Raba" is used in the Talmud as a signification of acute discussions and minute investigations.




numerous. Wherever an opinion of Abaye is recorded in the Talmud, it is almost always followed by the contrary view and argument of Raba.

6. Rab Nachman b. Isaac was a disciple of Rab Nachman (b. Jacob), and afterward an officer as Resh Calla in the academy of Raba. After the death of the latter he was made president of the academy in Pumbaditha, which now resumed its former rank. In this capacity he remained only four years (352-356) and left no remarkable traces of his activity. Still less significant was the activity of his successor, R. Chama from ' Nahardea, who held the office for twenty-one years (356-377).

7. Rab Papa (bar Chanan), a disciple of Abaye and Raba, founded a new school in Nares, in the vicinity of Sura, over which he presided for nineteen years (354-375). He adopted the dialectical method of his former teachers without possessing their ingenuity and their independence, and consequently did not give satisfaction to those of his hearers who had formerly attended the lectures of Raba. One of his peculiarities was that he frequently refers to popular proverbs people say.*


A. SuraB. Pumbaditha.C. Nahardea.
1. Rab Ashe. 1. Rab Zebid. Amemar.
2. Rab Dime.
3. Rafram.
4. Rab Kahana.
5. Mar Zutra.

To the fourth generation Strack adds, (1) Jeremiah (who though a Babylonian native, emigrated to Palestine, and was counted among the Palestinian); (2) Haggi; (3) Juda the third (Nassi), son of Gamaliel the fourth; (4) Jona; (5) Josa the second (colleague of Jona); (6) Pinchas (who also emigrated from Babylonia); (7) Judan; (8) Chelbo; (9) Hisda; (10) China; (11) Tabby; (12) Juda b. Paso, from Lydda, and

* This Rab Papa must not be mistaken for an elder teacher by the same name, who had ten sons, all well versed in the law, one of whom, Rafram, became head of the academy of Pumbaditha in the following generation. Neither is Rab Papa identical with Rab Papi, a distinguished lawyer who flourished in a former generation.




(13) Jehoshua of Siknin. Concerning the fourth generation of Babylonian, he counts also Abbaye and Rabha, and adds to the list of Mielziner, Rabba b. Mari, Rabbi b. Ulla, and Rabha b. Shilla. Strack does not distinguish between the colleges of Sura, Pumbaditha and Nahardea.

Remarks and Biographical Sketches.

A. Rab Ashe (son of Simai bar Ashe) was, at the age of twenty, made president of the reopened academy of Sura, after the death of Rab Papa, and held this office for fifty-two years. Under his presidency, this academy, which had been deserted since the time of Rabba bar Huna, regained its former glory with which Rab had invested it. Combining the profundity of knowledge which formerly prevailed in this academy with the dialectic methods developed in that of Pumbaditha, he was generally recognized as the ruling authority, so that his contemporaries called him by the distinguishing title of Rabbana (our teacher). Invested with this great authority, Rab Ashe was enabled to assume the task of sifting, arranging and compiling the immense material of traditions, commentaries and discussions on the Mishna, which, during the two preceding centuries, had accumulated in the Babylonian academies. In the compilation and revision of this gigantic work, which is embodied in the Gemara, he was occupied for over half a century, and still he did not complete it entirely, but this was done, after his death, by his disciples and successors.

B. During the long period of Rab Ashe's activity at the academy in Sura, the following teachers presided successively over the academy in Pumbaditha:

1. Rab Zebid (b. Oshaya), who succeeded Rab Chama and held the office for eight years (377-385)

2. Rab Dime (b. Chinena) from Nahardea, presiding only for three years (385-388).

3. Rafram bar Papa the elder, in his youth a disciple of Raba, succeeded R. Dime (388-394).

4. Rab Kahana (b. Tachlifa), likewise a disciple of Raba, was one of the former teachers of R. Ashe. In an already advanced age, he was made president of the academy of Pumbaditha, and died in the year 411. This Rab Cabana must




not be mistaken for two other teachers of the same name, one of whom had been a distinguished disciple of Rab, and the other (Rab Cabana b. Manyome), a disciple of Rab Juda b. Jecheskel.

5. Mar Zutra, who, according to some historians, succeeded Rab Cabana as rector of the school in Pumbaditha (4111-4114), is probably identical with Mar Zutra b. Mare, who shortly afterwards held the high office as Exilarch. In the rectorship of Pumbaditha he was succeeded by Rab Acha bar Raba (4114-4119), and the latter by Rab Gebiha (419-433).

C. Amemar, a friend of Rab Ashe, was a distinguished judge and teacher in Nahardea. When his former teacher Rab Dime became president of the academy in Pumbaditha, he succeeded him in the rectorship of that of Nahardea, from 390 to about 422. With him this once so celebrated seat of learning passed out of existence.


A. SuraB. Pumbaditha.
1. Mar Jemar (Maremar). 1. Rafram II.
2. Rab Ide bar Abin. 2. Rechumai.
3. Mar bar Rab Ashe. 3. Rab Sama b. Rabba.
4. Rab Acha of Difte.

To the fifth generation of Palestinian Strack adds, (1) Abba b. Kohen; (2) Abba Mare; (3) Mattanjah; (4) Mana the second b. Jona; (5) Chananiah the second; (6) Jos b. Bune; (7) Jona of Bozrae; (8) Tanhum, and (9) Chiah b. Adda the second.

To the Babylonian fifth generation he counts, (1) Nachman b. Itzhak; (2) Papa; (3) Huna b. Johusua.

Remarks and Biographical Sketches.

A. 1. Mar Jemar (contracted to Maremar), who enjoyed high esteem with the leading teachers of his time, succeeded his colleague and friend, Rab Ashe, in the presidency of the academy in Sura, but held this office only for about five years, (427-432).

2. Rab Ide (or Ada) bar Abin, became, after Mar Jemar's death, president of the academy at Sura, and held this office




for about twenty years (432-452) He as well as his predecessor continued the compilation of the Talmud which Rab Ashe had commenced.

3. Mar bar Rab Ashe, whose surname was Tabyome, and who, for some unknown reasons, had been passed over in the election of a successor to his father, was finally made president of the academy in Sura, and filled this office for thirteen years, (455-468), In his frequent discussions with contemporary authorities, he exhibits independence of opinion and great faculties of mind.

4. Rab Acha of Difte, a prominent teacher, was on the point of being elected as head of the academy of Sura, but was finally defeated by Mar bar Rab Ashe, who aspired to that office which his father had so gloriously filled for more than half a century.

B. The academy of Pumbaditha, which had lost its earlier influence, had during this generation successively three presidents, of whose activity very little is known, namely:

1. Rafram II., who succeeded Rab Gebibah, from 433 to 443.

2. Rab Rechumai, from 443-456

3. Rab Sama b. Rabba, from 456-471.

Toward the end of this generation, the activity of both academies was almost paralyzed by the terrible persecutions which the Persian King Firuz instituted against the Jews and their religion.


A. SuraB. Pumbaditha.
1. Rabba Thospia (or Tosfaah).Rab Jose.
2. Rabina.

To the sixth generation of Palestinian Strack adds, (1) Samuel b. Jose b. Bune, and to the Babylonian, (1) Ashi; (2) Rabban bar Thachlifa; (3) Mar b. Rabbina; (4) Mar Zutra. Meremar and Tospha he counts to the seventh generation, whilst Mielziner counts them to the sixth.*

* We refrain from giving our own opinion on the differences between the generations of Strack and those of Mielziner; for the reason, we confess, that we do not understand why only those named here should be mentioned among the different generations, whilst each of them has so many contemporaries named by Halpern in his special collection of Tanaim and Amoraim, which takes up a great part in Halakha as well as in Hagada in both Talmuds and Medrashim. I. H. Weiss's method is to give the particulars of those who have much contributed to the development of the oral law; but nevertheless he mentioned many of the great men without particulars. Should we say that Mielziner has adopted his method while Strack did not, it would also not be correct. There are many whom Weiss speaks of lengthily whilst Mielziner does not mention them at all and vice versa. The modern scholars like Bacher, and others, took the trouble to write particulars of each one mentioned by Struck although even they omitted many who are mentioned by Halpern, and therefore we hesitate to give our own opinion on this matter.






The collection of the commentaries and discussions of the Amoraim on the Mishna is termed Gemara. (See our Brief Introd., Vol. I, of our Edition.) Besides being a discursive commentary on the Mishna, the Gemara contains a vast amount of more or less valuable material which does not always have any close connection with the Mishna text, as legal reports, historical and biographical information, religious and ethical maxims and homiletical remarks.

The whole subject-matter embodied in the Gemara is generally classified into Halakha and Hagada.

To Halakha* belongs that which has bearing upon the law; hence all expositions, discussions and reports which have the object of explaining, establishing and determining legal principles and provisions. The principal branches of the Halakha are indicated by the names of the six sections of the Mishna, named in Chap. IV. of this work.

The Hagada comprises everything not having the character of Halakha; hence all historical records, all legends and parables, all doctrinal and ethical teachings and all free and unrestrained interpretations of Scripture.

* Halakha means custom, usage, practice; then, an adopted rule, a traditional law. In a more extended meaning, the term applies to matters bearing upon that law.

Hagada or Haggada means that which is related, a tale, a saying, an individual utterance which claims no binding authority. Regarding this term, see W. Bacher s learned and exhaustive article, "The Origin of the Word Hagada (Agada)," in the Jewish Quarterly Review (London), Vol. IV., pp, 406-429. As to fuller particulars concerning Halakha and Hagada, see Zunis "G. Vortraege," pp. 57-61 and 83 sq.; also Hamburger's "Real Encyclopadie," II., the articles Halacha and Agada, also above, Vol. I., Chap. V.




According to its different contents and character, the Hagada may be divided into:

1. Exegetical Hagada, giving plain or homiletical and allegorical explanations of biblical passages.

2. Dogmatical Hagada, treating of God's attributes and providence, of creation, of revelation, of reward and punishment, of future life, of Messianic time, etc.

3. Ethical Hagada, containing aphorisms, maxims, proverbs, fables, sayings, intended to teach and illustrate certain moral duties.

4. Historical Hagada, reporting traditions and legends concerning the lives of biblical and post-biblical persons or concerning national and general history.

5. Mystical Hagada, referring to Cabala, angelology, demonology, astrology, magical cures, interpretation of dreams, etc.

6. Miscellaneous Hagada, containing anecdotes, observations, practical advice, and occasional references to various branches of ancient knowledge and sciences.

Hagadic passages are often, by the way, interspersed among matters of Halakha, as a kind of diversion and recreation after the mental exertion of a tiresome investigation or a minute discussion on a dry legal subject. Sometimes, however, the Hagada appears in larger groups, outweighing the Halakha matter with which it is loosely connected.

Concerning the Palestinian Talmud, its Halakhas and Hagadas, see Chap. V. of this volume. However, as an appendix we add that which was written by Mielziner about this matter.

There are two compilations of the Gemara, which differ from each other in language as well as in contents; the one made in Palestine is called Jerushalmi, the Jerusalem Gemara or Talmud; the other, originating in Babylonia, is called Babli, the Babylonian Gemara or Talmud.


As no academy existed in Jerusalem after the destruction of the second Temple, the customary appellation Jerusalem Talmud is rather a misnomer. More correct is the appellation the Palestinian Talmud, or the Gemara of the teachers of the West.




Maimonides in the introduction to his Mishna commentary ascribes the authorship of the Palestinian Talmud to the celebrated teacher R. Jochanan, who flourished in the third century. This statement, if literally taken, cannot be correct, since so many of the teachers quoted in that Talmud are known to have flourished more than a hundred years after R. Jochanan. This celebrated Amora may, at the utmost, have given the first impulse to such a collection of commentaries and discussions on the Mishna, which was continued and completed by his successors in the academy of Tiberias. In its present shape the work is supposed to belong to the fourth or fifth century. Some modern scholars assign its final compilation even to a still later period; namely, after the close of the Babylonian Talmud.*

The Palestinian Gemara, as before us, extends only over thirty-nine of the sixty-three Masechtoth contained in the Mishna, namely all Masechtoth of Seder Zeraim, Seder Moed, Nashim and Nezikin, with the exception of Eduyoth and Aboth. But it has none of the Masechtoth belonging to Seder Kodashim, and of those belonging to Seder Throat it treats only of Masecheth Nidda. (See Chap. V., p. 44.)

Some of its Masechtoth are defective; thus the last four Perakim of Sabbath and the last Perek of Maccoth are wanting. Of the ten Perakim, belonging to Masecheth Nidda it has only the first three Perakim and a few lines of the fourth.

There are some indications that elder commentators were acquainted with portions of the Palestinian Gemara which are now missing, and it is very probable that that Gemara originally extended to all or, at least, to most of the Masechtoth of the Mishna. The loss of the missing Masechtoth and portions thereof may be explained partly by the many persecutions which interrupted the activity of the Palestinian academies, partly by the circumstance that the Palestinian Gemara did not command that general attention and veneration which was bestowed on the Babylonian Gemara.

* Critical researches on this subject are found in Geiger's "Jued. Zeitschrift f. Wissenschaft," 1870; Z. Frankel's "Mebo," p. 46 sq., and in Wiesner's "Gibeath Jeruschalaim" (Vienna, 1872).
    I. H. Weiss ("Dor Dor," III., p.114 sq.) regards R. Jose (bar Zabda), who was a colleague of R. Jonah and one of the last authorities in Palestine, as the very compiler of the Pal. Talmud which in the following generation was completed by R. Jose bar Bun (Abun).





The compilation of the Babylonian Talmud is generally ascribed to Rab Ashe, who for more than fifty years (375-427) officiated as head of the academy in Sura. It is stated that it took him about thirty years to collect, sift and arrange the immense material of this gigantic work. During the remaining second half of his activity he revised once more the whole work and made in it many corrections.*

But Rab Ashe did not succeed in finishing the gigantic work. It was continued and completed by his disciples and successors, especially by the last Amoraim, Rabina II, who from 488 to 499 presided over the academy in Sura, and R. Jose, the school-head of Pumbaditha. Some additions were made by the Saboraim, and even by some still later hands.

The Gemara of the Babylonian Talmud covers only thirty-seven Masechtoth (tracts) of the Mishna, namely:

Of Zeraim only one, Berachoth, omitting the remaining ten Masechtoth;

Of Moed eleven, omitting only Shekalim, which in our Talmud editions is replaced by the Palestinian Gemara;

Of Nashim all of the seven Masechtoth belonging to that division;

Of Nezikim eight, omitting Eduyoth and Aboth;‡

* See ibid., Vol. I., p. 21.
    Those scholars who maintain that the Mishna was not written down by R. Jehuda Hanasi, but that he merely arranged it orally (see Chap. IV., p. 17), maintain the same in regard to Rab Ashe's compilation of the Gemara, without being able to state when and by whom it was actually committed to writing. Against this opinion it has been properly argued that it must be regarded as absolutely impossible for a work so voluminous, so variegated in contents and so full of minute and intricate discussions, as the Talmud, to have been orally arranged and fixed, and accurately transmitted from generation to generation. On the strength of this argument and of some indications found in the Talmud, Z. Frankel (in his "Mebo," P.47) even regards it as very probable that Rab Ashe in compiling the Gemara made use of some minor compilations which existed before him, and of some written records and memoranda containing short abstracts of the academical discussions in the preceding generations. Collecting and arranging these records, he partly enlarged them by fuller explanations, partly left them just as he found them. Some traces of such memoranda, made probably by R. Ashe's predecessors, are still found in numerous passages of the Talmud.

† In our new edition in Vol. VIII., we supplied a new brief commentary by Rodkinson.

‡ We have placed Aboth de Rabbi Nathan under the Mishna instead of the missing Gemara Jurisprudence, Vol. I. (IX.).




Of Kodashim nine, omitting Middoth and Kinnim. In Thamid only chapters I, II. and IV. are provided with Gemara, but not chapters III,, V., VI. and VII.

Of Teharoth only Nidda, omitting eleven Masechtoth.

There being no traces of the Gemara missing to twenty-six Masechtoth, it is very probable that this part of the Gemara has never been compiled, though those Masechtoth have undoubtedly also been discussed by the Babylonian Amoraim, as is evident from frequent references to them in the Gemara on the other Masechtoth. The neglect of compiling these discussions may be explained by the circumstance that those Masechtoth mostly treat of laws which had no practical application outside of Palestine. This is especially the case with the Masechtoth of -Zeraim, except Berachoth, and those of Teharoth, except Nidda. It was different with the Masechtoth belonging to Kodashim which, though treating of the sacrificial laws, are fully discussed in the Babylonian Talmud, as it was a prevailing opinion of the Rabbis that the merit of being engaged with the study of those laws was tantamount to the actual performance of the sacrificial rites. (See Talm. Menachoth, 110a.)*

The absence of Gemara on the Masechtoth Eduyoth and Aboth is easily accounted for by the very nature of their contents, which admitted of no discussions.


The Palestinian and the Babylonian Gemaras differ from each other in language and style as well as in material, and in the method of treating the same, also in arrangement.

* This reason appears doubtful to us as, according to the sages, the study of the Torah, no matter of which of its branches, is esteemed higher than sacrifices and they also were not very much in favor of sacrifices at large, just as little as the old prophets. Apart from this we find there lengthy discussions about things which have never and could never have existed. We therefore think that the Gemara was composed of all the Mishnayoths, and those which are missing were simply lost in the course of time. Secondly, discussions to subjects of every Mishna are scattered in the Talmud, but were not collected, and, indeed, a Rabbi of Ishbitza in Poland, Gershon Henich Lener, took the trouble to gather the Gemara belonging to the section Purification and publish them in a very voluminous book, in 1836, with the approbation of most of the Russian and Polish rabbis. (See particulars of this in our Phylacterian Retus, p. 122.)

† About this subject we have spoken in the first volume of this work. However, we will not omit what was said by Mielziner concerning this matter, as it is very reasonable.




As regards the language, the Palestinian Gemara is composed in the West Aramaic dialect which prevailed in Palestine at the time of the Amoraim.

The language of the Babylonian Gemara is a peculiar idiom, being a mixture of Hebrew and East Aramaic, with an occasional sprinkling of Persian words. Quotations from Mishna and Boraitha, and sayings of the elder Amoraim are given in the original, that is, the New Hebrew (Mishnic) language, while forms of judicial and notary documents and popular legends of later origin are often given in the Aramaic idiom.

Although the Palestinian Gemara extends to two more Masechtoth than the Babylonian, its total material amounts only to about one third of the latter. Its discussions are generally very brief and condensed, and do not exhibit that dialectic acumen for which the Babylonian Gemara is noted. The Hagada in the Palestinian Gemara includes more reliable and valuable historical records and references, and is, on the whole, more rational and sober, though less attractive than the Babylonian Hagada, which generally appeals more to the heart and imagination. But the latter, on many occasions, indulges too much in gross exaggerations, and its popular sayings, especially those evidently interpolated by later hands, have often an admixture of superstitious views borrowed from the Persian surroundings.

The arrangement of the material in the two Talmuds differs in this, that in the Babylonian, the Gemara is attached to the single paragraphs of the Mishna, while in the Palestinian all paragraphs (the retermed Halakhoth), belonging to one Perek of the Mishna, are generally placed together at the head of each chapter. The comments and discussions of the Gemara referring to the successive paragraphs are then marked by the headings, Halakha 1, Halakha 2, and so on.

The two Gemara collections make no direct mention of each other as literary works. But the names and opinions of the Palestinian authorities are very often quoted in the Babylonian Gemara; and in a similar way, though not to the same extent, the Palestinian Gemara mentions the views of the Babylonian authorities. This exchange of opinions was effected by the numerous teachers who are known to have emigrated or frequently travelled from the one country to the other.




The study of the Babylonian Talmud, having been transplanted from its native soil to North Africa, and the European countries (especially Spain, France, Germany and Poland), was there most sedulously and religiously cultivated in the Jewish communities, and gave rise to an immense Rabbinical literature. The Palestinian Talmud never enjoyed such general veneration and attention. Eminent Rabbis alone were thoroughly conversant with its contents, and referred to it in their writings. It is only in modern times that Jewish scholars have come to devote more attention to this Talmud, for the purpose of historical and literary investigations.



Besides the Masechtoth contained in the Mishna and the two Gemaras, there are several Masechtoth composed in the form of the Mishna and Tosephta, that treat of ethical, ritual, and liturgical precepts. They stand in the same relation to the Talmud as the Apocrypha to the canonical books of the Bible. When and by whom they were composed cannot be ascertained. Of these apocryphal treatises, the following are appended to our editions of the Talmud:

1. Aboth d' Rabbi Nathan,* divided into forty-one chapters and a kind of Tosephta to the Mishnic treatise "Pirke Aboth," the ethical sentences of which are here considerably enlarged and illustrated by numerous narratives. In its present shape, it belongs to the post-Talmudic period, though some elements of a Boraitha of R. Nathan (who was a Tana belonging to the fourth generation) may have been embodied therein.

2. Sopherim (the Scribes), containing, in twenty-one chapters, rules for the writing of the scrolls of the Pentateuch, and

* In our new edition it is translated in Vol. I. (IX.) and divided into paragraphs to each Mishna of Aboth.

† Compare Zunz, "Gottesd. Vortraege," p. 108, sq. — Solomon Taussig published in his "Neve Sholom" (Munich, 1872), from a manuscript of the Library in Munich, a recension of the Aboth d'Rabbi Nathan which differs considerably from that printed in our Talmud editions. The latest edition of Aboth d. R. N. in two recensions from MSS. with critical annotations was published by S. Schechter (Vienna, 1887).




of the book of Esther; also Masoretic rules, and liturgical rules for the service on Sabbath, Feast and Fast days. R. Asher already expressed (in his Hilchoth Sepher Thora) the opinion that this Masecheth Sopherim belongs to the period of the Gaonim.*

3. Ebel Rabbathi (the large treatise on Mourning), euphemistically called Semachoth (Joys), is divided into fourteen chapters, and treats, as indicated by the title, of rules and customs concerning burial and mourning. It is not identical with a treatise under the same title, quoted already in the Talmud (Moed Katon, 24a, 26a; Kethuboth, 28a), but seems to be rather a reproduction of the same with later additions.

4. Callah (the bride, the woman recently married). This minor Masechta, being likewise a reproduction of a Masechta by that name, mentioned already in the Talmud (Sabbath, 114a; Taanith, 10b; Kiddushin, 49b; Jer. Berachoth, II, 5), treats in one chapter of the duties of chastity in marriage, and in general.

5. Derech Eretz§ (the conduct of life), divided into eleven chapters, the first of which treats of prohibited marriages, and the remaining chapters, of ethical, social and religious teachings. References to a treatise by that name are made already in the Talmud (B. Berachoth, 22a, and Jer. Sabbath, VI.,.2). 6. Derech Eretz Zuta (the conduct of life, minor treatise), containing ten chapters, replete with rules and maxims of wisdom.¥

7. Perek Ha-shalom (chapter on Peace) consists, as already indicated by the title, only of one chapter, treating of the importance of peacefulness.

Remark: Besides these apocryphal treatises appended to

* See Zunz, GD, V., p. 95, sq. The latest separate edition of Masecheth Sopherim from a MS. and with a German commentary was published by Joel Mueller (Leipsic, 1878).

† Translated by us in Vol. VIII. with a brief commentary by Rodkinson.

‡ See Zunz, G. V., p. 9o, and N. Brull "Die Talm. Tractate uber Trauer um Verstorbene" (Jahrbucher fur Jud. Geschichte and Literatur, I., Frankfurt a. M.), ' p. 1-57. M. Klotz published "Der Talm. Tractat Ebel Rabbathi nach Hand-schriften bearbeitet, uberzetzt and mit Anmerkungen versehen," Frankf. on the Main, 1892.

§ Also these three are translated in Vol. I. (IX.) of our new edition.

¥ On both of these Masechtoth Derech Eretz, see Zunz, GD. V., pp. 110-112. See also Abr. Tawrogi, "Der Talm. Tractat Derech Erez Sutta Kritisch bearbeitet, ubersetzt and erlautert" (Berlin, 1885).




our editions of the Talmud under the general title of "Minor Treatises," there are seven lesser Masechtoth which were published by Raphael Kirchheim from an ancient manuscript. (Frankfort on the Main, 1851).


The Necessity for such Commentaries.

The Talmud offers to its students great difficulties, partly on account of the peculiar idiom in which it is written, and which is intermixed with so numerous, often very mutilated, foreign words; partly on account of the extreme brevity and succinctness of its style, the frequent use of technical terms and phrases, and mere allusions to matters discussed elsewhere; partly also on account of the circumstance that, in consequence of elliptical expressions, and in the absence of all punctuation marks, question and answer, in the most intricate discussions, are sometimes so closely interwoven that it is not easy to discern at once where the one ends and the other begins. To meet all these difficulties, which are often very perplexing, numerous commentaries have been written by distinguished Rabbis. Some of the commentaries extend to the whole Talmud, or a great portion thereof; others exclusively to the Mishna, or some of its sections.

Up to date new commentaries upon commentaries appear, so that in the last edition printed in Vilna, more than a hundred additional commentaries are given (an illustration of which we give at the end of this chapter). We therefore do not care to point them out. Moreover they all are commentaries to the text which do not belong to our new edition. However, the commentaries exclusively on the Mishna we deem to be interesting for some readers and therefore do not omit them.

Commentaries Exclusively on the Mishna.

1. The first to write a commentary on the whole Mishna was Moses Maimonides (XII. century). He commenced it in the twenty-third year of his age, in Spain, and finished it in his thirtieth year, in Egypt. This commentary was written in Arabic, manuscripts of which are to be found in the Bodleian Library




at Oxford, and in some other libraries. From the Arabic it was translated into Hebrew by several scholars, flourishing in the XIII. century; namely, Seder Zeraim, by Jehuda Charizi; Seder Moed, by Joseph Ibn Alfual; Seder Nashim, by Jacob Achsai (or Abbasi*); Seder Nezikin, by Solomon b. Joseph, with the exception of Perek Chelek in Sanhedrin and Masecheth Aboth, including the ethical treatise Sh'mone Perakim, introducing the latter, which were translated by Samuel Ibn Tibbon; Seder Kodashim, by Nathanel Ibn Almuli; the translator of Seder Teharoth is not known. These translations are appended to all Talmud editions, after each Masechta, under the heading of Commentary of Maimonides.

The characteristic feature of this commentary of Maimonides consists in this, that it follows the analytical method, laying down at the beginning of each section the principles and general views of the subject, and thereby throwing light upon the particulars to be explained, while Rashi in his Talmud commentary adopted the synthetical method, commencing with the explanation of the particulars, and thereby leading to a clear understanding of the whole of the subject-matter.

2. Several distinguished Rabbis wrote commentaries on single sections of the Mishna, especially on those Masechtoth to which no Babylonian Gemara (and hence no Rashi) exists. Of these commentaries the following are found in our Talmud editions:

(a) Rashi's Commentary on all Masechtoth of Seder Zeraim, except Berachoth, and all Masechtoth of Seder Teharoth, except Nidda, by R. Simson of Sens (XII. century), the celebrated Tosaphist.

(b) Asheri's Commentary on the same Masechtoth, by R. Asher b. Yechiel (XIII. century), the author of the epitome of the Talmud which is appended to all Masechtoth,

(c) Rashi's Commentary on Masecheth Middoth, by R. Shemaya, who is supposed to have been a disciple of Rashi.

(d) Rabad's Commentary on Masecheth Eduyoth, by R. Abraham b. David (XII. century), the celebrated author of critical annotations on Maimonides' Talmudical code.

(e) Commentary on the Masechtoth Kinnim and Tamid by an anonymous author.

* See Graetz, "Geschichte d. Juden,", V01. VII. p. 302.




3. R. Obadya of Bertinoro in Italy, and Rabbi in Jerusalem (d. in the year 1510), wrote a very lucid commentary on the whole Mishna, which accompanies the text in most of our separate Mishna editions. He follows the analytic method of Rashi, and adds to each paragraph of the Mishna the result of the discussion of the Gemara.

4. Additions of Yom Tob. Additional comments by Yom Tob Lipman Heller, Rabbi of Prague and Cracow (XVII. century). These comments, likewise extending to all parts of the Mishna, and accompanying its text on the opposite side of Bartinoro's commentary in most of our Mishna editions, . contain very valuable explanations and critical remarks.

5. Of shorter commentaries to be found only in some special editions of the Mishna text the following may be mentioned: (a) Tree o f Life, by Jacob Chagiz, Rabbi in Jerusalem (XVII. century), the author of a Talmudical terminology, Techilath Chochma.

6. Full Spoon of Delight, by Senior Phoebus (XVIII. century). This commentary is an abstract of Bertinoro's and Yom Tob Lipman Heller's commentaries.

(b) Spoon of Delight, by Isaac Ibn Gabbai in Leghorn (XVII. century), is generally based on the commentaries of Rashi and Maimonides.*

"Tefereth Israel" to all Mishnayoth, by Israel Liphschitz, a very reasonable commentary.




Since the Babylonian Talmud was considered by most of the Jewish communities in all countries as the source of the rabbinical law by which to regulate the religious life, it is but natural that already at a comparatively early period attempts were made to furnish abstracts of the same for practical pur-

* The commentaries of the Palestinian Talmud we omit, but not the Epitomes; etc., which seem to us of interest for the reader.




poses. This was done partly by epitomes or compendiums which, retaining the general arrangement and divisions of the Talmud, bring its matter into a narrower compass by omitting its Hagadic and unnecessary passages, and abridging the legal discussions; and partly by codes in which the results of the discussed legal matter is presented in a more systematic order. The first attempts in this direction were made by R. Jehudai Gaon of Sura (VIII. century), in his book Halachoth Ketuoth (Abridged Halakhoth), and by R. Simon of Kahira (-IX. century) in his Halachoth Gedoloth. Both of these two works, which afterwards coalesced into one work, still extant under the latter title, were, however, eclipsed by later master works of other celebrated Rabbinical authorities.


The principal epitomes or compendiums of the Talmud are by the following authors:

1. R. Isaac Alfas (after the initials, called "Riff," born in 1013 near the city of Fez in Africa, died in 1103 as Rabbi at Lucena in Spain) wrote an excellent compendium, which he called "Halakhoth," but which is usually called by the name of its author, Alpassy. In this compendium he retains the general arrangement, the language and style of the Talmud, but omits, besides the Hagada, all parts and passages which concern laws that had become obsolete since the destruction of the Temple. Besides, he condensed the lengthy discussions, and added his own decision in cases not clearly decided in the Talmud.

REMARK. — Alfasi's compendium comprises in print three large folio volumes in which the text is accompanied by Rashi's Talmud commentary, and besides by numerous commentaries, annotations and glosses, especially those by R. Nissim b. Reuben [H]; by R. Zerachia Halevi (Moor); by R. Mordecai b. Hillel; by R. Joseph Chabiba (Nimuke Joseph), and by some other distinguished Rabbis.

2. R. Ashes b. Jechiel, a German Rabbi, later in Toledo, Spain, where he died in 1327, wrote a compendium after the pattern of that of Alfasi and embodied in the same also the opinions of later authorities. This compendium is appended in our Talmud editions to each Masechta, under the title of the author, Rabbennu Asher.




R. Jacob, the celebrated son of this author, added to that compendium an abstract of the decisions contained in the same, The Extract of Asher's Decisions.


1. Mishne Torah, "Repetition of the Law," by R. Moses Maimonides, flourishing in the XII. century. This is the most comprehensive and systematically arranged Code of all the Laws scattered through the two Talmuds, or resulting from the discussions in the same. Occasionally also the opinions of the post-Talmudic authorities, the Gaonim, are added.

This gigantic work, written throughout in Mishnic Hebrew in a very lucid and attractive style, is divided into fourteen books; hence its additional name, Sepher Hayad (having the numerical value of 14), and by way of distinction, it was later called "Yad Hachazaka," The Strong Hand. Every book is, according to the various subjects treated therein, divided into Halakhoth, the special names of which are given at the head of each of those fourteen books, The Halakhoth are again subdivided into chapters (Perakim), and these into paragraphs.

2. Sephar Mitzvath Godol (abbreviated S. M. G.), the great Law book, by the Tosaphist R. Moses of Coucy, in France (XIII. century). This work arranges the Talmudical law according to the 613 precepts which the Rabbis found to be contained in the Pentateuch, and is divided into 248 positive and 365 negative commandments.

REMARK. — A similar work, but on a smaller scale, is "Sephar Mitzvath Gaton," also called "Amude Golah," by R. Isaac b. Joseph, of Corbeil (d. 1280).

3. Turim (the Rows of Laws), by R. Jacob, son of that celebrated R. Asher b. Jechiel who was mentioned above. The work is divided into four parts, called: Tur Orach Chayim, treating of Liturgical Laws; Tur Yore Dea, treating of the Ritual Laws; Tur Eben Ha-ezer, on the Marriage Laws, and Tur Choshen Mishpat, on the Civil Laws. Each of these four books is subdivided according to subjects under appropriate headings, and into chapters, called Simanim. This code differs from that of Maimonides in so far as it is restricted to such laws only which were still in use outside of Palestine, and as it embodies also rules and customs which were established after the




close of the Talmud. Besides, it is not written in that uniform and pure language, and in that lucid style, by which the work of Maimonides is characterized.

4. Shulchan Aruch (The Prepared Table), by R. Joseph Karo (XVI. century), the same author who wrote the commentaries on the codes of Maimonides and of R. Jacob b. Asher. Taking the last-mentioned code (Turim) and his own commentary on the same as basis, and retaining its division into four parts as well as that into subjects and chapters, he subdivided each chapter (Siman), into paragraphs, and so remodelled its contents as to give it the proper shape and style of a law book. This Shulchan Aruch, together with the numerous annotations added to it by the contemporary R. Moses Isserles, was up to our time regarded by all rabbinical Jews as the authoritative code by which all questions of the religious life were decided.

Constant reference to the four Codes mentioned above are made in the marginal glosses which are found on every page of the Talmud, under the heading of "En Mishpat, Ner Mitzvah." It is the object of these glosses to show, at every instance when a law is quoted or discussed in the Talmud, where the final decision of that law is to be found in the various codes. The authorship of these marginal glosses is ascribed to R. Joshua Boas Baruch (XVI. century). The same scholar wrote also the glosses headed Torah Or which are found in the space between the Talmud text and Rashi's commentary, and which indicate the books and chapters of the biblical passages quoted in the Talmud, besides the very important glosses in the margins of the pages, headed Massoreth Hashas, which give references to parallel passages in the Talmud. The last mentioned glosses were later increased with critical notes by Isaiah Berlin (Pik), Rabbi in Breslau (d. 1799).


While the above-mentioned Compendiums and Codes are restricted to abstracting only the legal matter (Halakha) of the Talmud, R. Jacob ibn Chabib, flourishing at the beginning of the sixteenth century, collected all the Hagadic passages, especially of the Babylonian Talmud. This very popular collection, which is usually printed with various commentaries,




has the title of En Jacob; in some editions it is also called En Israel.

R. Samuel Jafe, flourishing in the latter part of that century, made a similar collection of the Hagadic passages of the Palestinian Talmud, with an extensive commentary under the title of Y'phe Mareh (Vienna, 1590, and Berlin, 1725-26). An abridged edition with a short commentary was published under the title of Benyan Jerusalem (Lemberg, 1860).


In consequence of the terrible persecutions of the Jews during the middle ages, and the destruction of their libraries, so often connected therewith, and especially in consequence of the vandalism repeatedly perpetrated by the Church against the Talmud,* only a very limited number of manuscripts of the same have come down to our time. Codices of single Sedarim (sections) and Masechtoth (tracts or treatises) are to be found in various libraries of Europe, especially in the Vatican Library of Rome, and in the libraries of Parma, Leyden, Paris, Oxford, Cambridge, Munich, Berlin and Hamburg. The only known complete manuscript of the Babylonian Talmud, written in the year 1369, is in possession of the Royal Library of Munich. A fragment of Talmud Pesachim, of the ninth or tenth century, is preserved in the University Library of Cambridge, and was edited with an autotype facsimile, by W. H, Lowe, Cambridge, 1879.

The Columbia College in the city of New York lately acquired a collection of manuscripts containing the treatises Pesachim, Moed Katon, Megilla and Zebaehim of the Babylonian Talmud. These manuscripts came from Southern Arabia, and date from the year 1548.

* It is stated that at the notorious auto-da-fe of the Talmud, held in the year 1249, at Paris, twenty-four cart-loads of Talmud tomes were consigned to the flames. Similar destructions of the Talmud were executed by the order of Pope Julius III., in the year 1553, first at Rome, then at Bologna and Venice, and in the following year in Ancona and other cities. Among the 12,000 tomes of the Talmud that were burned at Cremona, in the year 1559 (see Graetz's "Geschichte d. Juden," X., p. 382), were undoubtedly also numerous manuscripts, though most of them may have been printed copies.

† See Max L. Margolis's "The Columbia College MS. of Meghilla Examined," New York, 1892.




Manuscripts of the Mishna or of single Sedarim thereof, some of which dating from the thirteenth century are preserved in the libraries of Parma, of Berlin, of Hamburg, of Oxford, and of Cambridge. That of the last-mentioned library was edited by W '. H. Lowe: "The Mishna on which the Palestinian Talmud Rests," etc., Cambridge, 1883.

Of the Palestinian Talmud the only manuscript, of considerable extent, is preserved in the Library of Leyden. See S. M. Schiller-Szinessy, "Description of the Leyden MS. of the Palestinian Talmud," Cambridge, 1878. Fragments of the Palestinian Talmud are also to be found in some other libraries, especially in those of Oxford and Parma.

Fuller information concerning MSS. of the Talmud is given in F. Lebrecht's "Handschriften and erste Ausgaben des Babyl. Talmud," Berlin, 1862. See also M. Steinschneider's "Hebraische Bibliographie," Berlin, 1862 and 1863.


a. The Mishna Editions.

Already as early as the year 1492, the first edition of the Mishna, together with the commentary of Maimonides, appeared in Naples. It was followed by several editions of Venice (1546-50, and 1606), of Riva di Trento (1559), and of Mantua (1559-63). In the last-mentioned editions the commentary of Obadia di Bertinoro is added. The editions which have since appeared are very numerous. Those which appeared since the seventeenth century are generally accompanied, besides Bertinoro's commentary, by Lipman Heller's or some other shorter commentaries.

b. The Babylonian Talmud.

The first complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud was published by Daniel Bomberg in twelve folio volumes, Venice, 1520-23. Besides the text, it contains the commentary of Rashi, the Tosephoth, the Piske-Tosephoth, the compendium of Asheri, and the Mishna commentary of Maimonides. This original edition served as model for all editions which subse-




quently appeared at Venice, Basel, Cracow, Lublin, Amsterdam, Frankfort-on-the-Oder, Berlin, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Sulzbach, Dyhernfurt, Prague, Warsaw, Lemberg, and recently at Vienna and Wilna. The later editions were greatly improved by the addition of valuable literary and critical marginal notes and appendices by learned rabbis. But the Basel and most of the subsequent editions, down almost to the present time, have been much mutilated by the official censors of the press, who expunged from the Talmud all those passages which, in their opinion, seemed to reflect upon Christianity, and, besides, changed expressions, especially names of nations and of sects, which they suspected as having reference to Christians.

The Amsterdam editions, especially the first (1644-48), escaped those mutilations at the hand of the censors, and are on this account considered very valuable. Most of the passages which have elsewhere been eliminated or altered by the censors have been extracted from the Amsterdam edition, and published in separate small books. Of these the following two may be mentioned: "Collected Omissions" and "The Omissions," Koenigsberg, 1860.*

A critical review of the complete editions bf the Babylonian Talmud and of the very numerous editions of single Masechtoth since the year 1484, was published by Raphael Rabbinovicz, in his Hebrew pamphlet, Munich, 1877.

The same author also collected and published very rich and important material for a critical edition of the Babylonian Talmud from the, above-mentioned manuscript in the Royal Library of Munich and other manuscripts, as well as from early prints of single Masechtoth in various libraries. The title of this very extensive work, written in Hebrew, is Dikduke Sopherim, with the Latin title: Variae lectiones in Mishnam et in Talmud Babylonicum, etc., Munich 1868-86. The fifteen Volumes in octavo which have appeared of this valuable work comprise only three and a half Sedarim of the six Sedarim of

* In our "Schulchan Aruch and Seine Beziehungen, etc.," mentioned in our appendix about the Munster process, we give a clear explanation about all the corrections by the censor which does not fully agree with this remark. Concerning these omissions, see our "Concluding Words" to Vols. XVII. and XVIII.

† This instructive pamphlet is also reprinted as an appendix to Vol. VIII. of Dikduke Sopherim.




the Talmud. It is to be regretted that in consequence of the death of the learned author the completion of this important work has been suspended.

c. The Palestinian Talmud.

Of the Palestinian Talmud (Jerushalmi) only four complete editions appeared:

1. The first edition, published by Daniel Bomberg, Venice, 1523-24, in one folio volume, without any commentary.

2. The Cracow edition, 1609, with a short commentary on the margin.

3. The Krotoshin edition, 1866, with a commentary like that in the Cracow edition, but added to it are marginal notes, containing references to parallel passages in the Babylonian Talmud, and corrections of text readings.

4. The Shitomir edition, 1860-67, in several folio volumes, with various commentaries.

Besides these four complete editions, several parts have been published with commentaries.




English Translations.

W. Walton. Translation of the treatises Sabbath and Erubin, London, 1718.

D. A. de Sola and M. I. Raphall. Eighteen treatises from the Mishna translated. London, 1843.

Joseph Barclay published under the title "The Talmud" a translation of eighteen treatises of the Mishna with annotations. London, 1878.

C. Taylor. Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (the treatise Aboth). Cambridge, 1877.

REMARK. — The treatise "Aboth" has been translated into almost all of the European languages.





To translate the Mishna is a comparatively easy task. Its generally plain and uniform language and style of expression, and its compendious character could easily enough be rendered into another language, especially when accompanied by some explanatory notes. But it is quite different with the Gemara, especially the Babylonian. There are, of course, also passages in the Gemara which offer no great difficulties to a translator who is sufficiently familiar with the idiom in which the original is composed. We refer to the historical, legendary and homiletical portions (Hagadas) which the compilers have interspersed in every treatise. The main part of the Gemara, however, which is essentially of an argumentative character, giving minute reports of discussions and debates on the law, this part, so rich in dialectical subtleties, and so full of technicalities and elliptical expressions, offers to the translator almost insurmountable difficulties.

English Translations.

A. W. Streane. Translation of the treatise Chagiga. Cambridge, 1891.

Michael L. Rodkinson : Babylonian Talmud — Section Moed (Festivals). Complete, consisting of the following volumes: Vol. I.,* Tract Sabbath (first ten chapters); Vol. II., Tract Sabbath (continued), fourteen chapters; Vol. III., Tract Erubin (Mingling; Vol. IV., Tracts Skekalim (Duties), and Rosh Hashana (Hebrew Calendar); Vol. V., Tract Pesachim (Pass-over); Vol. VI., Tracts Yomah (Day of Atonement), and Hagiga (Holocaust); Vol. VIL, Tracts Betzah (Feast), Succah (Tabernacles), and Moed Katan (Minor Festivals); Vol. VIII., Tracts Taanith (Fasts), Megilla (Book of Esther), and Ebel Rabbathi (Great Mourning)..

Section jurisprudence: Vol. I., Ethics of Judaism, (Tracts Aboth, Abotb of R. Nathan, Derech Eretz, Rabba and Zutta; Vol. II., Bab Kama (First Gate, eight chapters); Vol. III., Baba Metziah (Middle Gate), five chapters, and the last two of

* Of Vol. 1. and IV. a second revised and enlarged edition was published.




Baba Kama; Vol. IV., the last five chapters of Baba Metziah; Vol. V.-VI., Baba Bathra (Last Gate, five chapters in each); Vol. VII.-VIII., Sanhedrin; Vol. IX., Maccath, Shebuoth, and Eduyoth; Vol. X., Abuda Zara and Horioth, New York, 1896-1903.*


a. Latin Translation.

Blasius Ugolinus, published in volumes XVII.-XXX. of his Thesaurus antiquitatum sacrarum (Venice, 1755-65), the following treatises in Latin: Pesachim (vol. XVII.); Skekalim, Yoma, Succah, Rosh Hashanah, Taanith, Megilla, Chagiga, Betza, Moed Katan (vol. XVIII.); Maaseroth, Maaser Sheni, Challah, Orlah, Biccurim (Vol. XX.); Sanhedrin, Maccoth (Vol. XXV.); Kiddushin, Sota, Kethuboth (Vol. XXX.).

b. German Translations.

Joh. Jacob Rabe, besides translating Berachoth in connection with that treatise in the Babylonian Gemara, as mentioned above, published : Der Talmudische Tractat Peah, ubersetzt and erlautert. Anspach, 1781.

August Wunsche. Der Jerusalemische Talmud in seinen haggadischen Bestandtheilen zum ersten Male in's Deutsche ubertragen. Zurich, 188o.

c. French Translation.

Moise Schwab. Le Talmud de Jerusalem traduit pour la premiere fois. X. volumes. Paris, 1871-90. D. GEMARA,

M. Schwab, the author of the French translation published in English: The Talmud of Jerusalem. Vol. I. Berachoth. London, 1886.

* See "Kritische Geschichte der Talmud Ubersetzung" by Bischof, p. 62. In this book all the translations from both Talmuds in all languages and all tracts or parts of them, with criticisms, are mentioned. The English translations are given here for the English reader.

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