The Talmud (Hebrew: תלמוד) (also "Gemara" גמרא) is one of the central documents in Judaism. It is a series of rabbinical discussions based on the Mishna, and, in Judaism, is considered part of the Oral law that was given to Moses along with the written Torah.
It is important for Christians to recognize that the Talmud is overly legalistic and the Oral Law is obsolete as a result of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to the New Testament, any man who attempts to earn salvation through the Law is committing a sin due to not placing trust in God alone. However, at the same time, Christians have a Biblical duty to rebuke the lies spread by false antisemitic teachers about the Talmud. This is especially important given that dozens of moral teachings from Jesus Christ are of Rabbinic Jewish origin and thus have parallels in the Talmud. That said, however, there were comments by rabbis and passages in the talmud, and more specifically the Babylonian version, that indicate that it was antithetical to the Bible under even the Old Testament, and have even come close to being blasphemous against Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and even against God the Father himself. The passages against Mary and Jesus in particular were also cited as the reason for the wholesale destruction of talmuds under Pope Innocent IV, with such evidence being brought forth by Nicholas Donin. It is also to be noted that Jesus himself implied that the Talmud was a violation of God's law when he said that no one can be loyal to both the Oral Torah of man and the Scriptural Torah of God.
Modern editions of the Talmud (most of which printed from plates of a Medieval Italian edition) consist of the Mishna, the Gemara, and the commentaries of various scholars. The Mishna was recorded in Hebrew by a Rabbi named Yehudah HaNasi ("Judah the Prince") around A.D. 200. He realized that the oral traditions were in danger of being lost after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The longer part of the Talmud, the Gemara, records ongoing discussions and debates among Rabbis over the three centuries following the creation of the Mishna. It is written in Aramaic.
For a thousand years, the Talmud was preserved in hand-scribed editions. A printed edition was made not long after the invention of movable type. The standard Vilna edition of the Talmud encompasses 2711 large two-sided pages, or folios. The text of the Mishna is interspersed with the Gemara that comments on it. Both texts are surrounded on the printed page with later commentaries.
There are two versions of the Talmud, Babylon (Bavli) and Jerusalem (Yerushalmi). Both are accepted but the Babylonian Talmud is more extensive and more widely studied. Both are available in translation to English, Modern Hebrew, and many other languages.
Notes and references
- Romans 3:28, Bible, ESV version
- Galatians 2:21, Bible, ESV version
- Romans 11:17-20, Bible, ESV version
- BT Erubin 21b (Soncino edition): "My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah (Old Testament)."
- "Jews don't read the Bible literally. We read it through the lens of generations of interpretations and acknowledge the evolution of human understanding of God. The Talmudic image of God is vastly different from the image of God presented in the Bible.”
-- Rabbi Laura Geller, Senior Rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, California Huffington Post | April 2, 2011
- "Kabbalah is the soul of the Torah. The Bible and the Talmud are the laws and the history. Kabbalah is the soul that vivifies history and gives life meaning." --Rabbi Aaron Raskin, Congregation B'nai Avraham, Brooklyn Heights, N.Y Ventura County Star | May 9, 2011
- “...Jesus shares his place in the Netherworld (hell) with Titus and Balaam, the notorious arch enemies of the Jewish people. Whereas Titus is punished for the destruction of the Temple by being burned to ashes, reassembled, and burned over and over again, and whereas Balaam is castigated by sitting in hot semen, Jesus’ fate consists of sitting forever in boiling excrement.” —Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton University Press), p. 13. BT Gittin 57a.
- Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was a prostitute. —BT Sanhedrin 106b. BT Sanhedrin 67a. Shabbath 104b.
- "Since God already gave the Torah to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai we no longer pay attention to heavenly voices. God must submit to the decisions of a majority vote of the rabbis." —Babylonic Talmud Bava Metzia 59b
- Mark 7:9