The Talmud (Hebrew תלמוד) "instruction learning", has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 CE) and the Gemara (c. 500 CE). The Talmud Bavli consists of documents compiled over the period of late antiquity (3rd to 5th centries) and representing the culmination of more than 300 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the babylonian Academics: Sura' Nahardea and Pompaditha.
Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral Rabbis expounded and debated the law and discussed theTanakh without the benefit of written works (other than Biblical books themselves). As the Rabbis were required to face a new reality - mainly Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea ,without at least, partial autonomy - there was a flurry of legal discourse began to be recorded in writing (Strack, Herman, 1945).
Traditionally Talmudic statements are classified into two broad categories, "halakhic"and "aggadic" statements. Halakhic statements directly relate to questions of Jewish law and practice (Halakha). Aggadic statements are not legally related, but rather are homiletical ethical, or historical in nature (Goodblatt, 1977).
Tradition ascribes the compilation of the Babylionian Talmud in its present form to two Babylonian sages, Rav Ashi and Ravina. Rav Ashi was president of the Sura Academy from 375 to 427 CE. The work begun by Rav Ashi was completed by Ravina, who is traditionally regarded as the final Amoraic expounder. Since the Mishnah quoted and embedded in Hebrew , that Hebrew constitutes somewhat less than half of the Talmud. The rest, including the discussions of the Amoraim and the overall framework, is in a characteristic dialect of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic (Encyclopedia Talmudica, vol. 2, pp.345-347). The talmud contains the opinions of thousands of rabbis, many of them left unnamed, on variety of subjects, including law, ethics, moral and natural science, medicine, philosophy, customs, history, mathematics, astronomy, theology, lore, legend, folklore, and other topics.
Next to the Bible, the Talmud is considered the most important product of the Jewish mind. There were, indeed , periods in their history when Jews paid more attention to the Talmud than the Bible, looking upon it as what one modern historian called "the Bible in action" (Rejwan, 1985).
Jerusalem Talmud (Talmud Yerushalmi)
The Jerusalem Talmud was one pf the the two qualification of Jewish religious teachings and commentary that was transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in Israel. It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias, Sepphoris and Caesarea.
There are significant differences between the two Talmud compilations. The language of the Jerusalem Talmud is a western Aramaic dialect, which differs from the form of Aramaic in the Babylonian Talmud. the Talmud Yerushalmi is often fragmentary and difficult to read, even for experienced Talmudists. The reduction of The Talmud Bavli, on the other hand, is more careful and precious.
The Jerusalem Talmud has not received much attention from commentators, and such traditional commentaries as exist are mostly concerned with comparing its teachings to those of the Talmud. The text of Jerusalem Talmud is evidently incomplete and is not easy to follow. The Babylonian version contains the opinions of more generations, because of its later date of completion. For these reasons, it is regarded as a more comprehensive collection of the opinions available.
A new edition of the Talmud Bavli was printed by Menachem Roman of Villna, known as the "Vilna Shas". This edition has been used in the production of more recent editions of Talmud Bavli. Another edition aimed at bringing The Talmud to a wider audience, is the Steinsaltz Talmud, which contains the text with punctuation, detailed explanations and a modern Hebrew translation.