Five books, “dictated to Moses by God”.
At that time it was forbidden to write and publish the oral law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse.
However, after exile, dispersion and persecution, this tradition was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved. After many years of effort by a great number of tannaim, the oral tradition was written down around 200 CE by Rabbi Judah haNasi, who took up the compilation of a nominally written version of the Oral Law, the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה). Other oral traditions from the same time period not entered into the Mishnah were recorded as “Baraitot” (external teaching), and the Tosefta. Other traditions were written down as Midrashim.
After continued persecution more of the oral law was committed to writing.
A self-image as a persecuted group is a defining characteristic, the core belief of judaism.
One kabbalistic interpretation is that the Torah constitutes one long name of God, and that it was broken up into words so that human minds can understand it.
The Torah is what all types of jews, and the Abrahamic religions, have in common.
Christians call it the Pentateuch, the first portion of the Old Testament. Muslims call it Tawrat, viewing jews and Christians as “people of the book”, and Moses as a prophet.
three traditional subdivisions: The Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”)
According to the Talmud, much of the contents of the Tanakh were compiled by the “Men of the Great Assembly” by 450 BC, and have since remained unchanged. Modern scholars believe that the process of canonization of the Tanakh became finalized between 200 BC and 200 AD.
The adoption of the Christian chapter divisions by Jews began in the late Middle Ages in Spain, partially in the context of forced clerical debates which took place against a background of harsh persecution and of the Spanish Inquisition (the debates required a common system for citing biblical texts). From the standpoint of the Jewish textual tradition, the chapter divisions are not only a foreign feature with no basis in the mesorah, but are also open to severe criticism of three kinds
The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה, c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism’s Oral Law, and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), an elucidation of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Hebrew Bible.
Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements
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Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the “Talmud” as a text.
The process of “Gemara” proceeded in what were then the two major centers of Jewish scholarship, the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Talmud Yerushalmi. It was compiled in the 4th century in Israel. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500 CE, although it continued to be edited later. The word “Talmud”, when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud.
The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Yerushalmi.
The Talmud is often cryptic and difficult to understand.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, a new intensive form of Talmud study arose. Complicated logical arguments were used to explain minor points of contradiction within the Talmud. The term pilpul was applied to this type of study.
Hairsplitting, a “talmudic” tendency toward tedious arguments, is another key jewish characteristic. In the context of judaism the need arises out of contradictions created by jewish dishonesty about who they are and what they believe. The most important argument for jews revolves around the question: “What is good for the jews?”. Much confusion is created by their own attempts to disguise, deny, or otherwise explain this away.
The history of the Talmud reflects in part the history of Judaism persisting in a world of hostility and persecution.
Full scale attacks on the Talmud took place in the 13th century in France, where Talmudic study was then flourishing. The charge against the Talmud brought by the Christian convert Nicholas Donin led to the first public disputation between Jews and Christians and to the first burning of copies of the Talmud in Paris in 1242.
The Talmud was likewise the subject of the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263 between Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) and Christian convert, Pablo Christiani.
In 1415, Pope Benedict XIII, who had convened the Tortosa disputation, issued a papal bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the destruction of all copies of it. Far more important were the charges made in the early part of the 16th century by the convert Johannes Pfefferkorn, the agent of the Dominicans.
Note the active agency in these “attacks” are “converts” (i.e. jews) revealing jewish secrets, particularly revealing the hostility of jews toward others, encoded in their Talmud.
Criticism of the Talmud is widespread, in great part through the Internet.
The Anti-Defamation League’s report on this topic states that antisemitic critics of the Talmud frequently use erroneous translations or selective quotations in order to distort the meaning of the Talmud’s text, and sometimes fabricate passages. In addition, the attackers rarely provide full context of the quotations, and fail to provide contextual information about the culture that the Talmud was composed in, nearly 2,000 years ago.
Jews blame non-jews for secretive jewish behavior, for the harm created by jewish crypsis.
The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר, lit Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God,” and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.
The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, which was the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud.
The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. De Leon ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai (“Rashbi”), a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution
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