The Talmud: A Selection


The Talmud is one of the most significant religious texts in the world, second only to the Bible in its importance to Judaism. As the Bible is the word of God, The Talmud applies that word to the lives of its followers. In a range of styles including commentary, parables, proverbs and anecdotes, it provides guidance on all aspects of everyday life from ownership to commerce to relationships. This selection of its most illuminating passages makes accessible the centuries of Jewish thought within The Talmud. Norman...

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The Talmud is one of the most significant religious texts in the world, second only to the Bible in its importance to Judaism. As the Bible is the word of God, The Talmud applies that word to the lives of its followers. In a range of styles including commentary, parables, proverbs and anecdotes, it provides guidance on all aspects of everyday life from ownership to commerce to relationships. This selection of its most illuminating passages makes accessible the centuries of Jewish thought within The Talmud. Norman Solomon's clear translation from the Bavli (Babylonian) Talmud is accompanied by an introduction on its arrangement, social and historical background, reception and authors. This edition also includes appendixes of background information, a glossary, time line, maps and indexes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141441788
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Pages: 896
  • Sales rank: 325,148
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Solomon is a Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought at Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and Lecturer at Oxford University

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Table of Contents

The TalmudList of Illustrations



How to Read the Talmud
Structure—The Framework of the Talmud
The Reception of the Mishna—Bavli and Yerushalmi
How the Talmud Started
Babylonia of the Talmud—Social and Religious Background
The Men Who Made Mishna and Talmud
Style of the Talmud
Titles and Names
The Talmud and Christianity
Transmission of the Text

A Note On This Translation
Bible Translation
'Israel', 'Jew', 'Palestine'
Page Layout

Further Reading


First Order Zeraim (Seeds)
First Tractate Berakhot (Blessings)
Second Tractate Pe'ah (Corner of the Field)
Third Tractate Demai (Doubtfully Tithed Produce)
Fourth Tractate Kil'ayim (Mixtures)
Fifth Tractate Shevi'it (The Seventh Year)
Sixth Tractate Terumot (Heave Offerings)
Seventh Tractate Ma'aserot (Tithes)
Eighth Tractate Ma'aser Sheni (Second Tithe)
Ninth Tractate Halla (Dough Offering)
Tenth Tractate 'Orla (Fruit of First Three Years)
Eleventh Tractate Bikkurim (First-fruits)

Second Order Mo'ed (Appointed Times)
First Tractate Shabbat (The Sabbath)
Second Tractate Eruvin (Boundaries)
Third Tractate Pesahim (The Passover)
Fourth Tractate Sheqalim (The Annual Temple Tax)
Fifth Tractate Yoma (The Day)
Sixth Tractate Sukka (Tabernacles)
Seventh Tractate Betza (Festival Laws)
Eighth Tractate Rosh Hashana (The New Year)
Ninth Tractate Ta'anit (Public Fasts)
Tenth Tractate Megilla (Purim)
Eleventh Tractate Mo'ed Qatan (Middle Days of Festivals)
Twelfth Tractate Hagiga (The Festival Sacrifice)

Third Order Nashim (Women)
First Tractate Yevamot (Sisters-in-law)
Second Tractate Ketubot (Marriage Entitlements)
Third Tractate Nedarim (Vows)
Fourth Tractate Nazir (The Nazirite)
Fifth Tractate Sota (The Wayward Wife)
Sixth Tractate Gittin (Divorce)
Seventh Tractate Qiddushin (Betrothal)

Fourth Order Nesiqin (Damages)
First Tractate Bava Qama (The First Gate)
Second Tractate Bava Metzi'a (The Middle Gate)
Third Tractate Bava Batra (The Last Gate)
Fourth Tractate Sanhedrin (The Court)
Fifth Tractate Makkot (Flogging)
Sixth Tractate Shavuot (Oaths)
Seventh Tractate Eduyot (Testimonies—Legal Precedents)
Eighth Tractate Avoda Zara (Idolatry)
Ninth Tractate Avot (Wisdom of the Fathers)
Tenth Tractate Horayot (Decisions)

Fifth Order Qodashim (Holy Things)
First Tractate Zevahim (Sacrifices)
Second Tractate Menahot (Grain Offerings)
Third Tractate Hullin (Unconsecrated Meat)
Fourth Tractate Bekhorot (First-born)
Fifth Tractate Arakhin (Valuations)
Sixth Tractate Temura (Substitutes)
Seventh Tractate Keritot (Exclusions)
Eighth Tractate Me'ila (Sacrilege)
Ninth Tractate Qinnim (Bird Pairs)
Tenth Tractate Tamid (Regular Temple Procedure)
Eleventh Tractate Middot (Temple Measurements)

Sixth Order Tohorot (Purities)
First Tractate Kelim (Artefacts)
Second Tractate Ohalot (Tents)
Third Tractate Nega'im (Plagues)
Fourth Tractate Parah (The Red Heifer)
Fifth Tractate Tohorot (Purities)
Sixth Tractate Miqva'ot (Pools)
Seventh Tractate Nidda (Menstruant)
Eighth Tractate Makhshirin (Enablers of Impurity)
Ninth Tractate Zavim (Discharges)
Tenth Tractate T'vul Yom (Immersed That Day)
Eleventh Tractate Yadayim (Hands)
Twelfth Tractate 'Uqtzin (Stalks)




I. The Jewish Calendar
II. Tithes and Sabbatical Years
III. Coins, Weights and Measures
IV. Books of the Bible
V. Tractates of the Mishna in Alphabetical Order
VI. Hebrew Names and Transliteration

Primary Texts
English Translations
Secondary Works


Sacred Writings Index

General Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    An excellent book to get started with studying the Talmud.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A translation disliked

    This "translation" is far more confusing than clarifying and casts the rabbinic movement in a poor light. It has been deeply touched and influenced by modern thought and seems to be far more slanted in the selling of modern views than reflective of a religious tradition and movement. For example, the text is determined to sell the idea that this area of the world belonged to the Palestinian, when, in fact, Palestine did not exist until created as two Roman provinces in 63 CE, Palestine 1 and 2. I suppose one could argue that Gaza, Ashkelon, and other specific areas belonged to the Philistines from which it appears that Palestine had been incorrectly translated from Hebrew to Latin but would still tell only a fragment of the story. The land was Canaan. The only purpose in continuing the debate would be to legitimize the claims of Rome after the invasion by the Romans. Now who would benefit by that? Certainly not anyone I know. To really understand the history of the area, one has to include the sea people removed from the islands to the mainland by Cyrus and the history of the Phoenicians. As a second example, this translation (Chap 24, page 125 has the lord debating with Abraham about his powers to hang Jupiter in the East like a wall-hanging. So, words are placed in the lord's mouth that imply that he knows nothing about the actual movement of the planets or universe and has him referring to Jupiter by its Roman name. For me, it is highly unlikely that the Lord would have been so ignorant and would have been debating such a silly point with Abraham or anyone else for that matter. He would have simply said not to use horoscopes on pain of death. Not only that, the chapter talks about the five "naked-eye planets" (Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn) and the Sun, and Moon, by their Roman name. This must have been a newly developing "tradition" following the conquest of the Romans. I suppose one no longer needs to guess about who the accomodators might have been. This book does point out that there were other areas of Hebrew study prior to and during the period of exile whiich included Pumbedita, Nehardea, and Fallujah, all regarded as Holy cities. It seems to me that one cannot just read what has been passed down after the censorshhip and selection committees have decided what we can and cannot read. One has to know and understand the history of Persia, Babylon, Syria, Egypt, Greece, Assyria, the Hittites, and Rome to understand what is being said about peoples and areas in the Bible. Additionally one should read the earliest historians on the world as it was known at the time. The bible story is a tiny fragment of the universe and did not happen in a vacuum. I think it is important to note that Jerusalem lay within the conquered territories of Alexander and he went to Jerusalem and that he went to Jerusalem specifically to meet the high priest and worship the Tetragrammaton or the four letter sacred name of God. He clearly recognized the importance of having their support instead of enmity.

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