Old Testament Authentication – The Talmud

The Talmud took around 600 years to compile, from the 1st Century BC to 5th Century AD. The Jews believed the Torah, i.e., the first five books of the Bible (Pentateuch), were authored by Moses. However, along with the written Torah, the Jews also believe that Moses was also given oral tradition. This Oral Tradition was passed down to Joshua and then to the Prophets. It has thus been transmitted from person to person over the centuries.

The Talmud: Jewish literary collection of teachings, laws, and interpretations based on the Old Testament Torah. It has two parts:

1. The Mishnah: (written in Hebrew) – This is the literary form of Jewish oral tradition many Jews considered to be equal to Old Testament Scripture

2. The Gemara: (written in Hebrew and Aramaic) – This is the analysis of the Mishnah. The topics covered are multitudinous; including Israel’s history, laws, sabbaths, marriage, divorce, sacrifices, culture, and rules for interpreting the Torah

There are two broad collections:

1. Jerusalem Talmud – Sources go back to 1st Century BC, but the present form was largely put together in the 3rd Century AD in and Jerusalem

2. The Gemara: (written in Hebrew and Aramaic) – Sources also go back far, but was largely compiled around 5th Century AD in and around Babylon. This covers more topics, is more prevalent, and normally when the word “Talmud” is used, the Babylonian Talmud is assumed to be the one referenced.

The Talmud has played a huge influence on Jewish thought and culture. In many ways, these serve as a king of collective set of commentaries on various Old Testament texts (primarily the Torah). As such, there are many quotes from across the entire Old Testament.

As Judaism expanded geographically and different schools of thought emerged, the Talmud became increasingly dominant in conservative Judaism but not in reformed Judaism.

The Talmud is a collection of Rabbinical writings dating back to the 1st Century BC.  Like any collection of writings on Scripture, quotes of the Scripture are found throughout the Talmud. Hundreds of quotes are found (see a list here)

All known manuscripts – some sixty-eight in total – are written on parchment or paper. Some manuscripts state when they were created in a colophon, but many others can be dated only approximately, based on handwriting and other attributes.

The oldest extant manuscripts are from the 11th or 12th Century, with the oldest dated one was written in 1177; most were written in the 13th-15th centuries, though several from Yemen date to the 16th or 17th centuries.

What’s the Point?

When you compare Talmudic quotes of Scripture with the Masoretic Text and with the other documents that serve as the basis for Bible translations today, they are virtually identical!