What is the Talmud?

What is the Talmud?

  1. The Talmuds are two of the most important documents for understanding Judaism, ancient and modern. The Talmuds are by far the two largest components of the dozen or so early Jewish documents that together form the ‘Oral Torah’ – that is the body of teachings passed down by word-of-mouth and eventually codified into writings that, alongside the Written Torah (the Hebrew Bible), are normative for Jewish faith and practice.
  2. The Talmuds are often used to explain Jewish practices mentioned in the New Testament. While the Talmuds were written down three to five centuries after the New Testament, the Talmuds cite individual rabbis for the teachings found within. These rabbis can be dated, making it possible to get a sense for the antiquity of the various teachings found in the Talmuds. (Neusner, the editor and main translator for this set, is less sanguine about the traditional approach to dating Talmudic material, and puts emphasis on the rabbinic literature being products of the time in which they were finally compiled. However, Neusner provides his own criteria for dividing the Talmud into different chronological strata.)
  3. Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries and other references works already in the Logos library cite the Talmuds extensively. I ran a search for the first tractate, Berakoth, across the entire Logos library and found over 13,000 hits ( using a regex search with Match Case turned on: /[bytp]?Ber(a[kc]h?oth?)?/ ). Some of those are related Mishnah references instead of Talmud references (they share the same tractate names) but Berakoth is just one of 49 tractates covered in the Talmuds, and this count doesn’t include books in production now which will greatly benefit from tagged references to the Talmuds, such as Lightfoot’s A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. Tagging these sorts of references makes the software more efficient at helping you dig as deep as you want to go.
  4. Even if one is fairly fluent in Aramaic and Hebrew, reading the Talmud requires special training due to the compact ‘encoding’ and formulae of the compositions. Neusner’s English translations provide parenthetical expansions of the text which ‘unpack’ the Talmuds, making them accessible to a much wider audience. Neusner also structures these texts using an outline format around ‘sense-units’ that visually convey the thought structure of the original texts that is often lost in other translations (you can see this approach in action in Neusner’s translation of the Mishnah as well).
  5. The PDF editions are searchable and I think quite nice for PDFs, but they do not contain the type of data type milestones or tagging that make Logos books easy to navigate. For example, the PDFs are organized around Neusner’s chapter numbers, but these works are almost universally cited by folio number and an A or B to indicate which side of the folio. The Logos edition will be navigable and linkable by either Neusner’s own structural outline numbers or the traditional folio numbers. References to the Mishnah and the Bible will also be tagged as well, making this edition even more useful than the PDFs, all for the same price.

I’m excited about the avenues of exploration that will open up by having these texts available in the Logos library. 

Written by
Vincent Setterholm
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  • THANK YOU!!!
    I’ve been writing into suggest@logos.com for years for the Talmud to be offered as a title. And I came “this close” to buying the PDF from CBD just a few months ago…he said squinting his eyes while gesturing with his thumb and forefinger graphically emphasizing the little to no space found between them…Yeah! That’s how close! But I resisted because I had faith in Logos…and my God…that you’ll offer it in a little while. I just hope that I will have the funds to pay for it when the title actually goes “Live” and ships. :D

  • Thank you Logos. You are nearly ready to do a proper Jewish collection, need now are:
    Tosefta, Midrash Rabbah, and Zohar. Keep it up.

  • So, will the new Logos version still be in .pdf files or will these volumes be in the Logos format? Also, will they be tagged?

  • Yes, these will be in Logos format, fully tagged. Cross references in the Talmuds (to other locations in the Talmuds, to the Mishnah and to the Bible) will be tagged and milestones within the Talmuds will allow us to tag references to the Talmuds from commentaries, Bible dictionaries and other reference works in your library.

  • if Logos does the tagging correctly and well, they would fulfill the very methods and techniques the sages/rabbis used in making the Talmud itself work. ;-) I urge you to keep the low pricing as the final one so many can learn much from Talmud, please. For too long too many people do not have access to this key work of judaism.

  • Echoing Andrew Meit, it would be great to see Tosefta, Midrash Rabbah and Zohar, among others in Logos.
    It will only feel like half a job if the links in other works, such as Lightfoot’s Commentary on the NT from the Talmud and Hebraica don’t work. It’s great to see this released at last. Please could it, and similar works, link directly to the Talmud?
    Thanks for all you do at Logos.

  • Any ETA on when this will be available? I already have the Bavli; I’m just waiting on the Yerushalmi.

Written by Vincent Setterholm