Talmud (late Heb., study), the collective name of the Mishnah and Gemara, containing the oral law and other traditions of the Jews. (See Mishnah, and Hebrews, vol. viii., pp. 593-5.) In a limited sense the term is used of the Gemara alone. The Mishnah constitutes the earlier text of the Talmud, which the Gemara elucidates, not so much in the manner of a running commentary as by furnishing additional textual paragraphs with explanatory remarks, given in the name of renowned scholars. Authority is placed against authority, and discussions in the form of dialogues are frequent." The arguments show keenness, but are often fanciful in the extreme. There are two Gemaras (or Talmuds), the Palestinian ( Yershalmi, of Jerusalem) and the Babylonian (Babli). The former contains comments on 39, and the latter on 36 treatises of the Mishnah. The Babylonian, which is later, is the principal authority. The Mishnah is in the Hebrew dialect used after the exile; the Gemara in an Aramaic idiom, very corrupt, especially in that of Jerusalem. The rabbis cited in the Mishnah and the Gemara are the representatives of Jewish religious learning during about six centuries, beginning shortly before the time of the Maccabees. The chief commentator is Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, known under the abbreviation Rashi. The best compendium of Talmudical decisions is the Mishneh torah of Maimonides. The editions of the Talmud, mostly in 12 folio volumes, including the most important commentaries and notes, are very numerous.
They are so arranged that the Mishnah and Gemara, in square Hebrew characters without vowel points, occupy the centre of the page, and the chief commentaries and notes (Rashi's, Tosa-photh, &c), in a mediaeval style of writing, the margins all around. Other commentaries are generally added at the end of each treatise. One of the fullest is the Warsaw edition of the Talmud of Babylon (1859 et seq.). An important essay on the Talmud was published by Emanuel Deutsch in the "Quarterly Review" (1869; reprinted in his "Literary Remains," New York, 1873), and another by M. Grunbaum some months later in the "North American Review." The best Talmudical lexicon is J. Levy's Worterbuch ubcr die Talmu-dim und Midraschim (Leipsic, 1875 et seq.), based, like its predecessors, on Nathan ben Jehiel's 'Arulch, composed about 1100.