Is there anything wrong with study of the Talmud?

First off, the Babylonian Talmud is a Jewish text that dates from about 1300 BC to 200 AD, varying in location and author. It is different from the Tiberius Talmud (also known as the Jerusalem Talmud).

I’ve researched the Babylonian Talmud, but the thing that hit me the wrong way was some suggestion to the position of Jesus in the Talmud – that there are references to him in unholy positions, etc. But, some argue that this is supposedly referring to a man named “Yeshu,” who lived around the same time period as Jesus.

Obviously, those are heretical and unjustified views. So: is the Talmud “safe” to study? Or is it a heretical book?

Its just a book, nothing to be afraid of. Take what’s profitable from a historical perspective as well as a spiritual one, and ignore or discard the rest.

It is helpful to understand the perspective of the Jewish People (particularly the writings from before, and shortly after, the time of Jesus). It is the lens through which the apostles (all Jews) taught and the authors of the New Testament (all Jews, except Luke) wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the New Testament. While there is much Christians will not agree with, it is quite helpful in understanding the context of the scriptures, Jewish expectations at that time. An understanding is also helpful for apologetics. There is quite a bit in the Talmud that supports many of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus as recorded in the New Testament.

That being said, it is quite complex and written in a style that is often difficult to comprehend by those not schooled in the style of Talmudic study (which means most of us who are not Orthodox Jews).



The word “talmud” itself means “study” and it is shorthand for “talmud torah” – study of the Torah.

From what I’ve read it is a study of all the Jewish scriptures, and so it is the Jewish interpretation of the “old testament” versus the Christian “new testament” which is also an interpretation of the “old testament”

There is no central “magisterium” in Judaism that covers all Judaism, as I understand it. For those Jews who follow the Talmud, it is treated as inspired and almost if not actually more authoritative than the Torah, because it interprets the Torah.

Catholic authors including Dr. Scott Hahn of EWTN fame consult the Talmud. There are definitely anti-Christian sentiments in the Talmud, as you would expect.

For a general introduction to the Talmudic beliefs, you might take a look at Abraham Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud.

I’ve started reading *Akivah *from the Jewish Publication Society. He was a rabbi who lived in the first and second centuries, and he his highly credited with “saving” Judaism after the destruction of the Temple. The book is buried on my reading table, I can’t say more about it.

The unabridged Talmud is rough for scholars from what I have gathered. I have a few books of the Talmud that are “plain language.” I used to get them on Amazon. I consider any kind of Christian-Judaeo study worthwhile. Don’t sweat it.

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