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The Talmud, Its Method And Related Issues

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Chapter Summary

The Talmud (Hebrew; Learning) is a veritable encyclopedia of Jewish law, literature and science. It encompasses an entire antique civilization, extending from the third century B.C.E. to the fifth century C.E. There are two Talmudim and the Babylonian (ca. 300 B.C.E.-500 C.E.). Of the two, the Babylonian is fuller and more systematic. Inasmuch as the Torah (Pentateuch) contains both explicit and implicit laws, often presented in concise fashion, these laws were subject to interpretation and elucidation. This chapter illustrates something of the character of Talmudic controversy. It is further illustrative of that character to remark that, despite the emphasis on the rule of the majority, an exception is allowed in one important area. The chapter provides an outline of the intellectual setting for economic analysis in the Talmud, with reference to the formation of the work, its methodology and some related subjects basic to free inquiry.

Keywords: Babylonian; Hebrew; Jewish law; Talmud; Torah

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