When and where was the Talmud written? [2024 Guide]

When was the Talmud written?

The Talmud consists of two works:

Mishnah – the oral Torah which, according to tradition, was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai alongside the written Torah. The Mishnah was written down for the first time by Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi (Rabbi Judah the Prince) following the destruction of the Second Temple in ~70CE. 

However, while Rabbi Yehuda started the process of writing down the Mishnah, the work was completed by his sons and also includes and references the commentaries of earlier rabbis; the collection of rabbis whose works went into the Mishnah is referred to as the Tannaim, and the Tannaim lived from ~30 BCE – ~200 CE.

Gemara – rabbinic commentaries and discussions on the Mishnah, which, together with the Mishnah, comprise the Talmud. These commentaries were arranged by the Amoraim, who lived ~200-500CE.

In other words, it was a long process (~30 BCE – 500 CE), and that is ignoring the history of the oral Law before the commentary of the Tannaim.

When was the Talmud written?

The Talmud is not a book that was written but a compilation of sources compiled from two main sources over 300 years. The first source is the Mishnah, the oral Law written in the 2nd century CE. 

The other part is the gemorrah, the commentary, discussion, case studies, etc., related to the Mishnah compiled from the 2nd century CE to the 5th century CE.

Where was Talmud written?

There are two (2) Talmuds.

The Judean Talmud, also called the Jerusalem Talmud, was written in Judea (Israel), and the Babylonian Talmud was written in Babylon but later re-edited in Israel.

A basic definition of “talmud” may be ‘Study of Law and commentary’ or ‘interpretation of the Law.’ The 2 Talmuds guide how to apply the “Torah,” the Law mediated by Moses (Genesis included), Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. There are about 600+ statutes that formed a “national constitution” of Israel.

The “Babylonian Talmud” was written by some Israelite scholars and rabbis long after the “70 years exile” in Babylon, and it was developed over many centuries in Babylon among Israelite settlements there. Although it is not considered as inspired “Sacred Scripture,”… it is treasured as ‘sacred commentary.’

The other is the “Judean Talmud” (sometimes called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Palestinian Talmud), written in the Holy Land before the Babylonian Talmud was composed in Babylon. The Judean Talmud has fewer pages and fewer examples of interpreting and applying principles of the Law of Moses and considered as rabbinic opinions as ‘sacred interpretations of Scriptural Law.’

The Babylonian Talmud is printed in many volumes, like an encyclopedia set. But the Judean Talmud is usually two volumes. Hence, today many Jewish people consider the “Babylonian Talmud” more authoritative since it deals with more issues of everyday life surrounded by a pagan world.

What is the difference between the Torah and the Talmud?

The Torah is a Hebrew name for the Bible’s first five books. Religious Jews believe God handed it to Moses on Mt. Sinay. Modern sources believe it is a collection of ancient scriptures edited and canonized after the Babylonian exile – in the 5th century BCE. It is a mixture of laws, history, and genealogical details.

The Talmud is a kind of protocol for religious debates and academic learning. Although considered holy, even the most religious recognize its human origin. 

It is a textbook of laws, tales, and commentaries on the Mishna – a scripture containing the Oral Tora – passed from generation to generation orally until it was summarized and canonized in the 3rd century AD. The Talmud itself was canonized between the 3rd and the 5th century AD.

Though both are considered holy by Jews, there are many differences –

Origin – The Torah is of divine origin. The Talmud is divinely inspired and written by many scholars over many generations.

Era – The Torah was written in the 3rd millennium BCE or earlier and canonized in the 3rd century BCE. The Talmud was written between the 2nd and the fifth centuries AD.

Volume – The Tora includes five books. The Talmud is divided into Yerushalmi (written in Jerusalem) and Bavli (written in Babilon). The Bavli has 37 Masakhtot (books), and the Yerushalmi is about half as long. The Talmud is much longer than the Torah.

Language – The Torah is written in ancient Hebrew, the closest dialect to today’s modern Israeli Hebrew. The Bavli Talmud is written in Aramaic, a language that can not be understood by modern Hebrew speakers and needs translation. The Yerushalmi is written in Mishnaic Hebrew, an archaic level of the Hebrew language.

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Physical appearance – The Torah is a handwritten scroll made of cow’s leather. The Talmud is just a very large set of books.

Use – The Torah is very holy. It is read in yearly cycles by every Jew. It includes the Jewish faith’s basic history, philosophy, and laws. It is learned in every Jewish school, from the lowest to high school. 

The Talmud is mainly used as a practical guide for deciding on Halakha (Jewish law) matters. Although it contains some of the most wonderful literature and folk tales, it is mainly used as a rabbinical tool for determining the correct conduct a Jew should follow in a certain case. A secular Jew will only meet the Talmud in higher studies. Religious Jews begin to learn it in junior high.

Which is the longest and shortest Bavli Talmud tractate regarding actual Talmud text?

Regarding word count, the longest tractate (with over 113,800 words) is Shabbes, while Tamid is the shortest (clocking in at roughly 4,600 words).

The tractate with the largest number of words per page is Berakhos, leading to a common misconception that Berakhos has the largest word count. It doesn’t. Not even close.

Berakhos contains approximately 70,000 words, making it only the 11th largest tractate of the Babylonian Talmud. It does, however, contain an average of 1,100 words per page, much more than most other tractates. (Shabbes, for example, has an average of about 730.)

Is the Talmud still being written?

The text of the Talmud Yerushalmi was completed in the 5th century, and the Talmud Bavli in the 6th century. Since then, there have been many commentaries written. In the period after the Talmud was completed, the commentators were known as Rishonim, followed by the Acharonim. 

We consider the Rishonim to be more authoritative than the Acharonim; thus, a ruling of the Acharonim cannot overrule a ruling from the Rishonim. 

The Acharonim include the Rabbis of today, and they continue to write commentaries and extrapolations to new technologies and situations. These later commentaries are either accepted or rejected depending on the Rabbi writing them and if he is seen as an acceptable authority. 

Many of these rulings are published as Questions and Answers based on rulings made in response to questions, while others are written up as commentaries and discussions. However, The Talmud itself is no longer open to being edited.

When and where was the Talmud written? [2024 Guide]

Why is the Talmud Bavli a lot more popular than the Talmud Yerushalmi?

The Talmud Bavli, or Babylonian Talmud, has roughly seven generations of Amoraim. The Yerushalmi or Eretz Yisrael Talmud has about four. Times were not easy for Jews in Israel at the time. The Byzantine Empire was not very friendly towards the Jews, and the Rabbis and others were persecuted. 

Slowly but surely, the institutes for higher Torah learning shrank and closed, and the Persian empire (where the Babylonian Amoraim came from) became the center of Judaism. A much better editing job was done on the Babylonian Talmud than on the Jerusalem one. 

Afterward, in the Geonic Period, the Babylonian Talmud reigned supreme, and the Babylonian Talmud became de facto the Talmud in most of the Jewish world. One of the few places where the Jerusalem Talmud was used was in Ashkenaz (Germany and northern France). 

The early Ashkezaz Rishonim used the Yerushalmi to come to halachic decisions. However, in the time of the Tosaphot (the students of Rashi), the Bavli became the main Talmud also in Ashkenaz, again mostly based on the fact that it had a few more generations of Amoraim in it and it was clearer, i.e., better edited.

The Yerushalmi was less and less learned, and very few manuscripts were written. This caused many errors to creep into the text, and because only a few people were versed in the Yerushalmi, these errors stayed. 

We have only one full Talmud Yerushalmi manuscript (Leyden) with errors. Today, there is a revival of learning the Yerushalmi. I very much enjoy learning the Yerushalmi.

What is the difference between the Torah, Tanakh, Talmud, Testament (Old & New), Hebrew Bible, Holy Bible & Gospels? Are they Christian holy texts or Jewish books? Or are they all the same book?

Let’s see. One by one:

Torah (Hebrew for theory, as in quantum theory, group theory) is a name given to the first five books in the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They tell of the creation, the laws of Moses, and the origin story of the Jewish people.

Tanakh is a three-letter acronym in Hebrew (תנך), which stands for Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim. The three parts of the Hebrew Bible. We’ve already covered the Torah. Neviim contains the story from settling in Canaan (now Israel) until the end of the Judean kingdom, plus the prophets’ prophecies. (“neviim” means prophets).

Ketuvim contains parables, psalms, pearls of wisdom, and more. “Ketuvim” means writings. The Tanakh has been in its present form since the 6th century BCE.

The Talmud is a collection of legal commentary. Most of it was written in the first few centuries AD.

Testament is a Christian term. Christians call the Tanakh the “old testament” and the collection of additional books that make up the Christian Bible the “new testament”.

Hebrew Bible is an English name for the Tanakh. Despite the name, most of it was written originally in Hebrew. Most of the book of Daniel was written in Aramaic.

Holy Bible is the Christian name for the collection of books that includes both the Old and new testaments.

Gospel is a term for the Christian message. In common usage, it refers to books that contain the story of Jesus. Four of the New Testament books are considered canonical gospels: The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

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What are the main teachings of the Talmud?

This question is an absolute setup. A famous story, one of the most famous in the Talmud, concerning Hillel and Shammai, the two leading rabbis during early Talmudic times. Shammai was known as particularly strict, Hillel as lenient and gentle. Here’s how Chabad tells the story:

“One famous account in the Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells about a gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism. This happened not infrequently, and this individual stated that he would accept Judaism only if a rabbi would teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert, stood on one foot.

First, he went to Shammai, who, insulted by this ridiculous request, threw him out of the house. The man did not give up and went to Hillel. This gentle sage accepted the challenge and said:

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this–go and study it!”


So that’s Torah. What’s Talmud? Standing on one foot, I can tell you that it’s commentary on the commentary.

What is the difference between the Talmud and Midrash?

The Talmud is a voluminous commentary on the Mishnah, a digest of Jewish law arranged by order of subject and not as a Biblical commentary.

Midrash has two meanings. On the one hand, it is a type of Biblical commentary; in that sense, there are some “midrashim” (discussions of Biblical passages) in the Talmud. On the other, there are independent books called Midrash, each addressing a whole book of the Bible and not forming part of the Talmud.

The most important early Midrashim are Mekhilta on Exodus, Sifra on Leviticus, Sifre on Numbers, and Sifre on Deuteronomy: the focus of these is mostly legal, and some passages in them are also found in, or parallel to, quotations in the Talmud.

There are many, many later Midrashim: the most prominent is the Midrash Rabba, on the five books of the Pentateuch and the five Megillot (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther). These are generally later than the Talmud and sometimes quote from it.

What language is the Talmud written in?

Well, the core of the text, the Mishneh, is written in rabbinic Hebrew, a form of Aramaic-influence Hebrew that evolved from the Biblical language. The Gemara, which contains much of the discussion we associated with the Talmud, is in Aramaic. Rashi and other commentators on the text are writing in medieval Hebrew (which is simply a continuation of rabbinic Hebrew).

People studying the Talmud must smoothly transition between Hebrew and Aramaic, treating them like they were the same language. Reading and translating the text aloud into the vernacular language (in my Yeshivah– Yiddish, but in some, it might be English or Spanish depending on the country– or even modern Hebrew) is part of the study process.

When and where was the Talmud written? [2024 Guide]

Why is Talmud so important for Jews? What is written in the Talmud?

It’s encyclopedic – a multi-volume work by multiple authors quoting multiple sources, compiled over several centuries.

However, let’s return to the revelation at Sinai in the desert after the Children of Israel escaped Egypt.

According to our tradition, God delivered to us through Moses a large body of laws and rules, which – along with our history during the early period – make up a large part of the Torah (the first five books of the Jewish AND Christian Bibles).

This Torah – this BODY OF INSTRUCTION AND LAW – is seen as the direct, from God, gift of good laws, making an authoritative source for all time, a self-consistent, reliable base.

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But it’s a BASE. It is Ike ‘ The Constitution’ (which is short) because it sets up the BASIC PRINCIPLES and some guidelines.

What the Torah does not do is lay out in writing every even REMOTELY possible situation – instead, we are given Main Ideas, legal guides for certain ‘example cases,’ and – importantly – the. 

Understanding that the Torah has BEEN given, it is in our hands now, and along with all the laws and rules, we are also given the authority to INTERPRET what the law is for any new situation that might come up.

The Talmud is a compilation of basic ‘law’ statements from the Torah (that collection is called the Mishna) along with the records of CENTURIES of scholarly legal DISCUSSIONS of those laws AND all the weirdest possible hypothetical situations where each Mishnaic statement might apply.

And since this is an academic scholarly discussion, sometimes these scholars and judges get slightly off-topic.

So the Talmud includes Mishna statements, each followed by the Gemara: the related DISCUSSION, ARGUMENT, and DECISIONS (which can go on for pages and pages, AND all the random other bits that got recorded.

Like ‘my mother in law has a great recipe for a salve for sore muscles’, some jokes, teasing some scholars by other scholars, a ghost story, at least one story about a witch, and some of the most outlandish hypothetical situations anybody could come up with.

That’s what is in the Talmud. The reason it is IMPORTANT is that a) it does contain useful and applicable legal opinions about how to follow Jewish law, and since these laws were GIVEN BY GOD, that’s important – and b) because the STUDY of Talmud teaches a student – not only Jewish law, interpretations, and philosophy, it ALSO teaches them HOW to THINK about those topics.

Who wrote the Talmud?

The Talmud is NOT a book but is a compilation of sources and debates that were put together over three hundred years. 

The two main sections are the Mishnah (the oral Law), which was compiled in the 2nd century CE, and the Hemorrah, which was then added (until the 6th century in the Talmud Bavli and the 5th century in the case of the Talmud Yerushalmi). Both these sources are compilations and have editors rather than having a single author. Thus, there is no single author of the Talmud.

What is the Talmud today?

The Talmud is the same today as it has always been- a discussion on the laws of Judaism to teach their principles so they can be used in never envisaged situations.

Sadly, many antisemites lie about the contents of the Talmud, knowing that the vast majority of people have never, and will never, studied it, and thus, they hope their lies and slander about Jews and Judaism will go unchallenged.

What does the Talmud say about Prophet Muhammad?

Talmud was completed in the 4th and 5th centuries. Muhammad lived from 570 – 632 AD. There would be no way for the Talmud to say anything about Muhammad.

Although, I don’t know why it would, even if it was still written. Mohammad wasn’t Jewish and had nothing to do with Jewish Law. The Talmud is Oral Law passed down by Moses and the writings of ancient rabbi’s thoughts on portions of the Torah….Mohammad would have nothing to do with either of those two subjects.

Why isn’t the Talmud part of the Christian Bible?

The Talmud isn’t even part of the Jewish Bible. It’s a commentary on the Bible written by Babylonian (in one edition) and Palestinian (in another edition) rabbis, which purportedly sets down the oral part of the Law and then interprets the Torah. 

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It’s a purely Jewish document that contradicts Christian theology throughout, so canonizing it wouldn’t be in the Christian interest.

What is Talmud?

Talmud is a collection of discussions between Jewish sages regarding Jewish law. But it is much more than that.

The Jews believe they got the Torah from heaven in Mount Sinai around 3000 BCE (it is a collection of very ancient books that was edited, compiled, and canonized around the 5th century BCE). 

The Torah includes the most important rules of Jewish law. Still, it was believed that more elements of Jewish law were not written in the Torah but were delivered orally between generations of Jewish sages from generation to generation. These elements were finally written in a book called “Mishna” in the 3rd century CE.

The Mishna is a very long text and has six books. But as soon as it was canonized, it was discussed and interpreted by sages. These discussions were much deeper than the actual text they interpreted. A few centuries of these discussions were then edited into two volumes of books called “Talmud.” 

As some discussions took place in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel/Palestine), one volume of the Talmud is the Jerusalem Talmud (Yerushalmi). Some discussions took place in the great Jewish centers in Babylon (nowadays Iraq), and their volume is the Babylonian Talmud (Bavli). Of the two volumes, the Bavli is considered the most important.

These discussions include all elements of Jewish law. Today, a more codified version named “Shulchan Aruch” is where one would look for that law, but it was written in the 16th century. 

The primary and most important source for Jewish law is the Talmud. But it is much more than that. It includes philosophy, history, folk legends and lore, moral rules, and more.

The Bavli Talmud has 37 books and is supposed to be learned by any observant Jew in cycles (it takes around 7 1/2 years if you study a page daily). 

It is written in Aramaic, almost incomprehensible to most modern Hebrew speakers. There are some good translations into Hebrew; the most famous is the Steinsalz translation.

The book is a holy book, and it is believed that the sages whose discussions were documented in the book were divinely inspired. The discussions are very deep, and the logic sometimes is hard to follow. 

Learning the Talmud is a difficult task, and it is best done in a group by a discussion using the same methods of discussion the sages used. This is a tough intellectual task.

Learning the Talmud is supposed to sharpen one’s intellectual abilities, and some people see this as the explanation for the ‘Jewish genius,’ the product of 1,500 years spent discussing the Talmud.

Are there people who still practice Zoroastrianism today? If there are, where are they now?

Yes. Most are concentrated in India, Iran, and the US. India has the largest number of Zoroastrian adherents globally, with around 70,000–80,000 people practicing the faith.

In India, they are divided into two communities, the Parsis and Iranis – One of the main differences is that the two communities settled in India in different periods. 

Parsis came during the 7th century and the Muslim conquest of Persia and settled in Gujarat. Smaller numbers in Maharashtra, and nowadays, don’t speak Persian but Gujarati and Indian English, and those from Maharashtra probably also speak Marathi.

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Iranis came to India during the Qajar rule in Iran and settled in Gujarat. Unlike the Parsis, they still maintain and speak the Persian dialects from the areas they came from (Persian from Iran, Dari, etc.) 

Iran has the world’s second largest number of adherents (estimated 20,000+), and they live scattered throughout the country. However, there is a significant amount in Yazd, where one of the many temples is located.


The Talmud is a central text in Judaism that was written over several centuries. It is a record of the oral traditions of the Jewish people and includes discussions, debates, and interpretations of Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history.

The Talmud consists of two parts: the Mishnah and the Gemara. The Mishnah is a collection of legal teachings and discussions compiled by Rabbi Judah the Prince in the early 3rd century CE. 

There are two versions of the Talmud: the Jerusalem Talmud, which was compiled in Israel, and the Babylonian Talmud, which was compiled in Babylonia. 

The Babylonian Talmud is considered more comprehensive and more widely studied than the Jerusalem Talmud. The Gemara is a commentary on the Mishnah written by the rabbis of the Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Israel during the 3rd to 5th centuries CE.

When was the Talmud written?

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