Christian Cyclopedia

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(Heb. “teaching”). Name of 2 compilations (Babylonian and Palestinian) comprising Mishna(h) and Gemara.

Jewish law rests on the Pentateuch.* But changing conditions, esp. after the exile (see Babylonian Captivity, 1) required new decisions and laws long transmitted orally as a rabbinical supplement to the Pentateuch. This material, called Mishna (from Heb. for “repeat”), complete ca. 200 AD, was reduced to writing 200–500, with some material added later.

The Mishna became the text of a still more extended commentary called Gemara (Aramaic “completion”), which is, in effect, an encyclopedia of the knowledge of its times.

The Talmud is a legal source book in the sense that it contains matter connected with Jewish law; that which deals exclusively with the Law is called halakah (halacha[h]; Heb. “way”), the rest (illustrative, ethical, hist., biographical, legendary) is called Haggada(h) (from Heb. for “to tell”).

See also Akiba ben Joseph; Judaism, 2; Midrash; Tradition.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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