The Talmud


#1

Is it worth studying and reading different parts of the Talmud, though not necessarily all of it? Does anyone hear study/have studied the Talmud? Does it help to read parts of the Talmud to understand the background of the New Testament?


#2

I don’t know much, but I like that part of the Babylonian Talmud which reads: “King Ptolemy once gathered seventy-two Elders. He placed them in seventy-two chambers,
each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He en-
tered each one’s room and said: ‘Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher’. God put it
in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did.”
– (Tractate Megillah 9)
This is talking about the Septuagint, which was used to formulate the Catholic Bible,
includes the Deuterocanonical Books, which curiously the Jews later rejected some
time AFTER Jesus, as they did help as proof texts. This legend is first seen in the
Letter of Aristeas and was repeated by Philo Judaeus, Flavius Josephus, and even
Saint Augustine. I don’t know about the WHOLE Talmud, heard it may have had a
few bad things to say about Jesus, but I like that part I quoted above.


#3

I believe the Talmud is simply Jewish oral tradition put in writing, Opinions of rabbis and leaders involving their faith,.As far as I can discern it does not claim divine inspiration but is based on the thoughts of men,


#4

I haven’t read too much of the Talmud either, but I believe the above post is correct.

What I have found most beneficial is studying the Holidays/Feasts of Judaism, especially The Day of Atonement, and then secondly Passover. So much of what Jesus did in his last few days in Jerusalem, including the crucifixion, are fulfilments of various ceremonies in the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

A book I would highly recommend is '‘The Temple - its Ministry and Services as they were in the time of Christ’ by Alfred Edersheim. This is such an excellent book. It delves into the Holidays/Feasts and Sacrificial System and explains explicitly how Jesus fulfills them all. It is neither dry or boring.

If you want further info on the feasts and sacrifices from a Jewish viewpoint, I would highly recommend a Leviticus commentary from ArtScroll Publications called '‘Vayikra/Leviticus A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources.’

I wouldn’t spend too much time on the Talmud myself, but it just depends on your interests. If you are interested in understanding their traditions and viewpoints on different things, then maybe, but if you’re interested in learning how Christianity is a fulfilment of Judaism, then no, not really.


#5

You must keep away from the Talmud and stick to your Bible and very orthodox Catholic books. God bless you.


#6

Studying the Talmud can be a lifelong pursuit.

Contrary to what some say about avoiding the Talmud, it can provide fascinating insight into Jewish thought, teaching and the everyday life Jews, especially the parts written prior to and around the time of Jesus. You can learn the exact rituals to be followed on Passover or how to construct a booth during the festival of booths. It even gives the names and characteristics of the “seven heavens” reference by Paul (caught up to the third heaven) in 2 Corinthians 12.

I have browsed some of it and find it fascinating.

jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/talmudtoc.html
halakhah.com/
sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm

-Tim-


#7

#8

There are two compilations.

The Palestinian Talmud dates from A.D. 400, I think. The Babylonian from A.D. 600.

I could be wrong.

But the bottom line is that we don’t know the authors of the works, nor really what they are referring to.

Hebrew scholars spend their entire careers parsing through the writings but I am not sure what conclusions they can possibly draw.

For people interested in early Christian times and the New Testament, a much better plan would be to study the writings of Josephus and Philo, and get nuance into Christianity that way.

Trying to relate writings in the Talmud to Jesus in the early first century and the Christian movement is problematic.

Key is that there were TWO Jewish revolts. One in A.D. 66 and one in A.D. 134 or thereabouts. We know a lot about the first, as it was documented by Josephus. We know little about the second, which could have been every bit as disastrous as the first. Scholars extrapolate writings to the first revolt, when more likely they referred to the second.

You could spend the rest of your life parsing through the Talmud and I am not sure you would be the better for it. Certainly, you would not learn more about Jesus.


#9

That the authors are unknown and that we don’t know what they are referring to simply isn’t true. Some of the Rabbi’s who added to it are towering figures in Judaism - like Augustine or Thomas are to us.

I really don’t understand the prejudice against the Talmud by people who have probably never even looked at it. I have read quite a bit of it. It is neither problematic nor is it void of insight into what life was like for our Lord and Savior as a human being.

It is not evil, nor is it the inspired word of God. It is just a resource, that’s all, and it has much insight into how Jews thought, their worldview, and their way of everyday life at the time of Jesus.

-Tim-


#10

We don’t necessarily have to keep away from Non-Catholic books. Especially when learning about other religions or people groups.


#11

Well, what have you learned from it?


#12

I bought “The Talmud: A Selection” a couple weeks ago. I have not began to read the actual selected writings yet but an introduction that describes the history and recording of the Talmud. It’s very complicated, especially with all these Hebrew terms I am not familiar with. Does the Talmud take authority over the Torah in Judaism? How strong is the emphasis between oral vs. written? Does oral take precedence over written or vice-versa?

I don’t plan on studying the Talmud because I plan on converting to Judaism but rather learn more about how important oral vs. the written is in Judaism and compare to how important oral and written Tradition is in Catholicism. I think people who say “don’t plan on studying the Talmud” or any Jewish-related work are people who have never bothered to study other religious works solely for the fact that it’s “not Catholic.” Besides, I find the Laws in Judaism too daunting to follow, even if I like Kosher food.


#13

Much of the commentary was written because the Jewish people loved God and his law and wanted to make sure they understood how to obey it fully. So the Talmud would not take authority over the Torah, but it would be a companion to the Torah as an aid in understanding.

An example would be when God says ‘‘Keep Holy the Sabbath, no work shall you do’’. Much commentary was written on what exactly this means and how exactly do we follow this?. What actually constitutes work? How far can you walk on the Sabbath, etc. Some ultra orthodox Jews would hire a Gentile to come into their homes on the Sabbath simply to turn light switches on and off, just to make sure this did not constitute work, and they would not be guilty of disobeying the commandments and offending God. Nowhere in the Torah does it explicitly say, ‘Thou shalt not turn a light switch on or off’, so they are just being careful.

As far as following the Kosher law, it is very complicated, very indepth, and like you said, too daunting to follow. Although it may be interesting, Jesus made all foods clean. We really do not need to follow these laws or be overly concerned.


#14

The Talmud, while a fascinating text, provides little to no reliable evidence about “background of the New Testament” since it was compiled hundreds of years after the New Testament was written, and after the destruction of the Second Temple when Judaism underwent some major shifts.


#15

You can get a glimpse of the Talmud In Abraham Cohen’s Everyman’s Talmud, which is an overview of Jewish beliefs

Talmud means “study” which is abbreviated from “talmud torah” or, the study of God’s instructions. The talmud itself becomes normative for Orthodox Jews because it resolves the meaning of the Torah.

For example. For sure, I don’t know if this example is from the Talmud or from later Jewish sages. Consider the problem: There are two versions of the Ten Commandments, one in Exodus and one in Deuteronomy. They don’t agree, which is odd in itself, which opposes the idea of singular authorship by Moses. In one place, it says to “remember” the Sabbath; in the other place it says to “observe” the Sabbath. So, what does the Divine intend?

The strategy of Jewish interpretation is to harmonize such discrepancies. So, it is asserted that God used both words when He gave the command. The one points to the positive aspects of the Sabbath, what to do on the Sabbath, and the other points to the negative aspects, what not to do on the sabbath. This wisdom comes from “talmud torah” – the study of God’s instruction.

The Torah narrowly points to the first five books of the Hebrew Scripture, but it broadly points to all of the Hebrew scripture AND the Talmud.

Some here have read parts of the Talmud. You can take a look at the Talmud in the catalog of www.artscroll.com. I believe it has both versions for sale. I don’t think I have enough time left in my life to undertake a reading of the Talmud.

It may be helpful in part, but it can be very misleading in others, such as in the story of the binding of Isaac. Isaac is spared from sacrifice by an angel of God. The polemical point raised is against any human sacrifice, even if one could imagine God sending his Son to earth. So, you fall right off the edge with that point of view, that God does not want human sacrifice of any type. It’s obviously an anti-Christian interpretation and argument.


#16

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