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Thread: Jerusalem Talmud online

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    Senior Member Mediocrates's Avatar
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    Jerusalem Talmud online

    From news article:

    The Talmud is the great repository of the Jewish rabbinic tradition. The most prominent collection originated in ‘Babylonia’ (Mesopotamia) in the fourth and fifth centuries CE, but a second, less voluminous collection was compiled in Palestine, the so-called Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud.
    The first edition was printed in Venice in 1523-1524 by Daniel van Bomberghen from Antwerp, more commonly known as Daniel Bomberg, who was active in Venice between 1511 and 1538.
    This codex in two volumes, Leiden Or. 4720, is the only surviving manuscript that was used by Bomberg for his edition, and indeed the only complete manuscript of the text to have come down to us at all. Written on parchment and dated in the year 5049 of the Jewish calendar (1289 CE), it was made by the copyist and scholar Jechiel ben Jekutiel ha-Rofe, most probably in Rome.
    In the mid-sixteenth century the manuscript was bought from Bomberg by the French ambassador and bibliophile Jean Hurault de Boistailler, who paid twelve gold pieces for his prize. After his death it passed into the hands of the famous humanist scholar Josephus Justus Scaliger, who moved from his native France to Leiden in 1593 and died there in 1609. It now rests among Scaliger’s bequest of Oriental manuscripts and books.
    In the early 1970s the manuscript was lovingly restored by sister Lucie Gimbrère, who replaced the old, but not original vellum binding with one of sturdy oak boards. Now, for the first time, this literally unique manuscript is available online to the scholarly community.

    From news article:

    ewish classic known as much for its obscurity as for its great significance took another step into the light this spring with the online publication of its oldest and most reliable version. The classic is the Jerusalem Talmud, and the version is a parchment manuscript, known as the Leiden manuscript, written in 1289 by a Jewish scholar and copyist in Rome.
    Historically a step-sister to the larger and vastly more influential Babylonian Talmud, the Yerushalmi (to use its Hebrew name), composed in the 3rd and 4th centuries C.E., still fires imaginations. Despite its traditional designation, it was written not in Jerusalem but in the Galilee, and is thus often referred to in ancient sources as the Talmud of the Land of Israel and in scholarly literature as the Palestinian Talmud.
    In the 5th century, anti-Semitism, economic travail, and the abolition by the Byzantines of the Jewish patriarchate put an end to the scholarly activity recorded in the Yerushalmi, and the center of rabbinic authority shifted eastward to the great academies of Babylon. There, generations of editors and redactors would rework myriad oral traditions and records of lectures and disputations into the polished if voluminous and complicated text of the Babylonian Talmud (the "Bavli"). By contrast, the Yerushalmi presents its texts and traditions tersely, betraying much less editing and conceptual rigging than the Bavli. This more stenographic presentation can make for more difficult but also thrilling reading.
    The Yerushalmi never went entirely into eclipse. It was studied and used in Italian centers of learning that in turn influenced the foundations of Ashkenazic Jewry. It also continued to leave its traces in halakhic literature, particularly on matters where the Bavli was ambiguous or silent. Its abundance of non-legal, midrashic material also found a place in texts and collections.
    First printed in the 1520s by Daniel Bomberg, the Yerushalmi sparked renewed interest in the 18th century when the Gaon of Vilna called for enriching the Bavli-centric rabbinic curriculum with its teachings. Although little studied in 19th-century yeshivas, it was seized upon by modern scholars seeking a richer historical understanding and by writers and polemicists for whom its very existence suggested a more dynamic conception of rabbinic origins. Religious Zionists, for their part, valued the Yerushalmi not only for its discussions of the significance of the Land of Israel but also out of the hope that this connection to the land, along with the Yerushalmi's raw and unfinished character, might offer a more primal and invigorated source of religious law.
    Modern academic scholarship on the Yerushalmi is heavily indebted to Saul Lieberman, perhaps the greatest talmudist of the 20th century and the work's undoubted master. His student Yaacov Zusman supervised the publication of the Leiden manuscript in 2001, and Zusman's student Leib Moscovitz has published a guide to the Yerushalmi's obscure terminology. Still another Lieberman student, David Rosenthal, discovered last year a hitherto unknown passage from the Yerushalmi at the University of Geneva.
    Other scholars, notably Peter Schäfer of Princeton, have studied the Yerushalmi in its wider historical and cultural contexts. In the meantime, the work is also making popular inroads with the appearance of a new translation into modern Hebrew, the first volumes of an English translation by ArtScroll, and a proliferation of websites and educational materials.
    In all, the revival of interest in the Yerushalmi is yet another manifestation of the great contemporary resurgence in Jewish learning. Fragmentary, obscure, overshadowed (likely forever) by the Bavli, the Yerushalmi opens a precious window onto the ancient workshops that created the extraordinary world of rabbinic Judaism.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mediocrates's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
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    Jerusalem Talmud online

    From news article:

    When people speak of "the Talmud," they are usually referring to the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud), composed in Babylonia (modern-day Iraq). However, there is also another version of the Talmud, the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), compiled in what is now northern Israel. The Yerushalmi, also called the Palestinian Talmud or the Talmud Eretz Yisrael (Talmud of the Land of Israel), is shorter than the Bavli, and has traditionally been considered the less authoritative of the two Talmuds.
    Like the Talmud Bavli, the Talmud Yerushalmi consists of two layers--the Mishnah and the Gemara. For the most part, the Mishnah of the two Talmuds is identical, though there are some variations in the text and in the order of material. The Gemara of the Yerushalmi, though, differs significantly in both content and style from that of the Bavli. First, the Yerushalmi Gemara is primarily written in Palestinian Aramaic, which is quite different from the Babylonian dialect. The Yerushalmi contains more long narrative portions than the Bavli does and, unlike the Bavli, tends to repeat large chunks of material. The presence of these repeated passages has led many to conclude that the editing of the Yerushalmi was never completed. Others, however, have argued that these repetitions represent a deliberate stylistic choice, perhaps aimed at reminding readers of connections between one section and another.
    Comparing the Two Texts

    While the Bavli favors multi-part, complex arguments, Yerushalmi discussions rarely include lengthy debate. For instance, both the Bavli and the Yerushalmi discuss the following Mishnah:
    "For all seven days [of Sukkot], one should turn one's Sukkah into one's permanent home, and one's house into one's temporary home. . ."(Sukkah 2: 9).
    The Bavli Gemara embarks on a long discussion of the validity of this statement in the Mishnah:
    ". . .The rabbis taught, 'You shall dwell [in booths on the holiday of Sukkot]' (Leviticus 23:42) means 'you shall live in booths.' From this, they said 'for all seven days, one should make the Sukkah [temporary booth or hut] one's permanent home, and one's house temporary home. How should one do this? One should bring one's nice dishes and couches into the Sukkah, and should eat, drink and sleep in the Sukkah.' Is this really so? Didn't Rava say that one should study Torah and Mishnah in the Sukkah, but should study Talmud outside of the Sukkah? (This statement appears to contradict the Mishnah's assertion that during Sukkot, one should do everything inside the Sukkah.) This is not a contradiction. [The Mishnah] refers to reviewing what one has already studied, while [Rava's statement] refers to learning new material [on which one might not be able to concentrate while in the Sukkah]" (Talmud Bavli Sukkah 28b-29a).
    As proof of this resolution, the Bavli goes on to relate a story of two rabbis who leave their Sukkah in order to study new material. Finally, the Gemara suggests an alternate resolution of the apparent conflict--namely, that one learning Talmud is required to stay in a large Sukkah, but may leave a small Sukkah.
    In contrast, the Yerushalmi offers very little discussion of the Mishnah:
    "The Torah says, 'You shall dwell in booths.' 'Dwell' always means 'live,' as it says, 'you will inherit the land and dwell there' (Deuteronomy 17:14). This means that one should eat and sleep in the Sukkah and should bring one's dishes there" (Talmud Yerushalmi Sukkah 2:10).
    After this brief definition of terms and law, the Yerushalmi moves on to a new discussion.
    Parallels Between the Two Talmuds

    As might be expected, the Bavli quotes mostly Babylonian rabbis, while the Yerushalmi more often quotes Palestinian rabbis. There is, however, much cross-over between the two Talmuds. Both Talmuds record instances of rabbis traveling from the land of Israel to Babylonia and vice versa. Many times, the rabbis of one Talmud will compare their own practice to that of the other religious center. Early midrashim and other texts composed in Palestine appear more frequently in the Yerushalmi, but are also present in the Bavli.
    Both the Bavli and the Yerushalmi follow the Mishnah's division into orders, tractates, and chapters. Neither contains Gemara on all 73 tractates of the Mishnah. The Bavli includes Gemara on thirty-six and a half non-consecutive tractates. The Yerushalmi has Gemara on the first 39 tractates of the Mishnah. Some scholars believe that the differences in the Gemara reflect the different priorities and curricula of Babylonia and of the Land of Israel. Others think that parts of each Gemara have been lost.
    Within the Yerushalmi, quoted sections of the Mishnah are labeled as "halakhot" (laws). Citations of the Yerushalmi text usually refer to the text by tractate, chapter, and halakhah. Thus, "Sukkah 2:10" (quoted above) means "Tractate Sukkah, Chapter 2, halakhah 10." Some editions of the Yerushalmi are printed in folio pages, each side of which has two columns. Thus, Yerushalmi citations also often include a reference to the page and column number (a, b, c, or d). In contrast, the Bavli is printed on folio pages, and is referred to by page number and side (a or b). These differences result from variations in early printings, and not from choices within the rabbinic communities of Babylonia and the land of Israel.
    In most editions of the Yerushalmi, the Talmud text is surrounded by the commentary of the 18th-century rabbi, Moses ben Simeon Margoliot, known as the P'nai Moshe. The P'nai Moshe clarifies and comments on the text of the Yerushalmi, in much the same way that Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, 11th century) explains and discusses the text of the Bavli.
    Medieval sources credit Rabbi Yohanan, a third-century sage, with editing the Yerushalmi. However, the fact that the Yerushalmi quotes many fourth and fifth-century rabbis makes this suggestion impossible. From the identities of the rabbis quoted in the Yerushalmi, and from the historical events mentioned in the text, most contemporary scholars conclude that this Talmud was edited between the end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth century CE. The codification of the Bavli took place about a hundred years later.
    Cultural Concerns

    The discussions of the Bavli and the Yerushalmi reflect the differing concerns of the cultures from which the texts emerged. A comparison of the narrative elements of the two Talmuds suggests that the rabbis of the Yerushalmi had more interaction with non-rabbis--both Jews and non-Jews--than the rabbis of the Bavli did. The Yerushalmi, produced in a place under Hellenistic control, reflects Greek influences, both in its language and in its content.
    Traditionally, the Bavli has been considered the more authoritative of the two Talmuds. This privileging of the Bavli reflects the fact that Babylonia was the dominant center of Jewish life from talmudic times through the beginning of the medieval period. The first codifiers of halakhah (Jewish law), based in Baghdad in the eighth through 10th centuries, used the Bavli as the basis of their legal writings. Reflecting the prevalent attitude toward the Yerushalmi, the Machzor Vitri, written in France in the 11th or 12th century, comments, "When the Talmud Yerushalmi disagrees with our Talmud, we disregard the Yerushalmi."
    Today, there is renewed interest in studying the Talmud Yerushalmi. This interest reflects the current academic emphases on tracing the development of the Talmudic text, and on understanding the cultures that produced these texts. Many scholars attempt to learn about the history of the talmudic text by comparing parallel passages in the Bavli and the Yerushalmi. Comparisons between the two Talmuds also yield new information about the relative attitudes and interests of Babylonian and Palestinian rabbis.
    The traditional approach to learning Talmud, which emphasized the legal elements of the text, tended to dismiss the Yerushalmi as incomplete and non-authoritative. Today, interest in the literary, cultural and historical aspects of traditional texts has prompted a rediscovery of this Talmud, and a willingness to reconsider its place in the Jewish canon.

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