Talmud is essentially the written publication of the oral law of post-Second-Temple Judaism as set by the Pharisaic/Rabbinic sages who lived in Babylon and Israel. This means that the Talmud does not include laws set by the Tzadokim (Sadducees) who were the dominant clerical class during Second Temple Judaism, which was heavily influenced by Hellenistic Judaism. Likewise, because the Sadducees were forced to share ecclesiastical power with the Perushim (or Pharisees) in the Sanhedrin, some of the laws that the Sadduccees used to manage religious affairs can still be found in the Talmud. Nonetheless, the Talmud is biased towards opinions set by the Perushim who were popular with ordinary Jews.
Talmud is a compendium made up of two interconnected parts – a law code, and an accompanying discursive commentary of this code. The law code is called the Mishna, while the commentaries of the Mishna are collectively designated as the Gemara. This makes the Talmud a compendium of laws, history (including legends and myths), ancient science, and philosophical ideas, as well as logic and pragmatism.
The Mishna was compiled in 200 C.E.
The first Talmud was completed in 400 C.E in the land of Israel, and this Talmud is called the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud).
The second Talmud was completed in 600 C.E in Babylon, and it is called the Talmud Bavli (or Babylonian Talmud).
The Gemara found in either of these 2 Talmud is popularly described as the Talmud. That is, the word Talmud is sometimes synonymous with the word Gemara, which implies that the Talmud is popularly regarded as the commentary of the Mishna.
The Mishna is made up of the following 6 expositions or orders (Sedarim):
Appointed Times or Festivals (Moed).
Holy Things (Kodashim).
Because the Mishna is composed of 6 (shisha) sedarim, it is called the Shas.
Each order (Seder) contains divisions described as tractates (masechtot). Talmud Yerushalmi has a total of 62 tractates.
Talmud Yerushalmi focuses on the first 4 sedarim, with the omission of Kodashim and less focus on Tohorot.
Talmud Bavli focuses on the second to fifth sedarim, with less focus placed on Zeraim and Tohorot.
Talmud Bavli is the standard Talmud in Orthodox Judaism, and any mention of the Talmud refers to the Babylonian Talmud unless stated otherwise.
The basis of Talmudic study is to question statements and ideas expressed by the authors of the Talmud, including Chazal.
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