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WEEK ONE GLOSSARY – INTRODUCING THE TALMUD

MISHNAH – The Mishnah is a code called the Siyyum Hashas. (Video for subsequent Judaism. (Video 1-
of law produced by the rabbis 1) 2)
around the year 200 CE. The
TORAH – Hebrew word that RABBINIC JUDAISM/RABBINIC
foundation for both Talmuds, it
literally means teaching but refers MOVEMENT – Between 70 and 750
divides the rabbinic period into
to the first five books of the CE, a group of rabbis recreated
the tannaitic period (rabbis active
Hebrew Bible, also known as the the ideology of Judaism around
until the Mishnah’s oral
Pentateuch. (Video 1, 3-5, 9, 11, texts and interpretation, putting
publication) and the amoraic
13, 14, 16a, 18, 22-23) forth a way of being Jewish that
period (rabbis active after the
moved away from the cultic
Mishnah’s oral publication). TRACTATE – A topical unit of
centrality of temple and sacrifice.
(Video 1-3, 7-13, 15-22, 24) Mishnah. Also a subsection of
Over time this would come to be
Mishnah’s orders. (Video 1-2, 4,
MAKKOT – Tractate of Mishnah the definitive version of Judaism
7-9, 15, 17-18)
and Talmud in the order of until modernity. (Video 2, 4, 6-13,
Neziqin (literally “damages”). The 586 BCE – In 586 BCE the 15-25)
first chapter of Makkot is about Babylonians destroyed the first
PENTATEUCH – See Torah (Video
false testimony. (Video 1-3, 8, 12, Jerusalem Temple and exiled the
2, 16a, 18)
15, 17-19) elite population of Jerusalem to
Babylonia, where they formed a PHARISEES – The Pharisees were
DAF YOMI – A program of study
sizable and strong Jewish a second temple sect of Judaism
begun in the early twentieth
community. (Video 2) that engaged in textual study and
century in which one studies a
had specific understandings of
double-sided page of the Talmud 70 CE – In 70 CE the Romans
matters of theology and ritual.
every day. The celebration that destroyed the second Jerusalem
Rabbinic texts sometimes assume
commemorates the completing of Temple. This profound event
the Pharisees to be the
the Talmud every 7.5 years is would have serious repercussions
progenitors of the rabbis. (Video
2, 9, 22)

Definitions © Barry Scott Wimpfheimer


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WEEK ONE GLOSSARY – INTRODUCING THE TALMUD

ORAL LAW – Rabbinic theology NEZIQIN – One of the six SHAS – A term derived from an
posits the existence of an oral law organizational orders of the acrostic for “six orders,” it could
alongside the written law of the Mishnah. Neziqin covers civil and refer to Mishnah, Tosefta or
bible. Oral law includes both criminal law as well as tractates either Talmud, but it has come to
interpretations of biblical with more abstract considerations specifically reference the
concepts and things that are of questions of authority and Babylonian Talmud. (Video 3)
entirely foreign to the bible. leadership. Makkot is a tractate in
GEMARA – An Aramaic synonym
(Video 2, 7, 11) this order. (Video 2, 8)
for the Hebrew word Talmud.
TALMUD – Originally, a method of DISCIPLE CIRCLE – A somewhat When seventeenth century
study, Talmud developed into a informal study arrangement in censors prohibited the use of the
genre of literature that combines which students gravitated to and word “Talmud” in printed
legalistic thinking with creative studied with a single charismatic editions, printers replaces the
biblical interpretation in a rabbi. This was the typical setting Hebrew term with its Aramaic
somewhat haphazard textual for rabbinic learning throughout equivalent. (Video 3)
collage. Though there are two most of the Rabbinic period.
RASHI (RABBI SHLOMO ITZCHAKI)
Talmuds (Palestinian and (Video 2, 4)
– Eleventh Century Alsatian
Babylonian), this course generally
VILNA SHAS – A specific print scholar who wrote definitive
uses the term Talmud to refer to
edition of the Talmud produced commentaries on both Torah and
the more comprehensive and
by the Widow and Brothers Talmud. Rashi’s commentary on
better studied Babylonian
Romm Press in Vilnius, Lithuania the Talmud is both comprehensive
Talmud.
between 1880 and 1886. Over the and terse, an invaluable
course of the twentieth century combination within a handwritten
this edition became iconic and manuscript culture. (Video 3)
definitive. (Video 3, 4)

Definitions © Barry Scott Wimpfheimer


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WEEK ONE GLOSSARY – INTRODUCING THE TALMUD

TOSAFOT/TOSAFISTS – Twelfth- SHULHAN ARUKH – Sixteenth RABBENU HANANEL – An eleventh


Thirteenth century school of century code of Jewish law written century rabbi who lived in
French and German Talmud by Rabbi Yosef Karo. Shulhan Qairouan (present day Tunisia).
commentary founded by Rashi’s Arukh’s pluralistic inclusion of Rabbenu Hananel produced one of
grandson Rabbi Jacob ben Meir multiple traditions and its the earliest Talmud
(Tam). Tosafist work is appearance at the dawn of print commentaries. (Video 3, 4)
characterized by the attempt to helped make it the definitive code
PALESTINE – Present day Israel
make non-local passages of the of Jewish law in modernity. (Video
was known as Palestine in Roman
Talmud agree with one another. 3, 4)
times. During the Rabbinic
(Video 3, 4)
YOSEF KARO – Sixteenth century period, the rabbis were
MISHNEH – Torah Code of Jewish scholar who was a child exilee concentrated in Judea and the
Law written by Maimonides. This from Iberia to Safed in present Galilee. (Video 4, 9-10, 15, 16b-
code produces its own day Israel. A legal scholar and 22)
organization of the law and mystic, Karo produced Shulhan
BABYLONIA/BABYLON – Present
restates it in pure literary Arukh, the definitive modern
day Iraq was known in antiquity
Hebrew. (Video 3, 4) Jewish law code. (Video 3, 4)
as Babylonia. The Babylonian
MAIMONIDES/RAMBAM – Twelfth ARBA’AH TURIM – Code of Jewish Jewish community began with the
Century native of Cordoba Spain Law written by Rabbi Jacob ben exile of elite Judeans following the
who moved to Egypt where he was Meir in the early fourteenth destruction of the first temple in
a doctor, philosopher, rabbinic century. The organizational 586 BCE. (Video 4, 6, 11, 16a, 17,
scholar and communal leader. He apparatus invented in this code is 19, 23, 25)
authored both Guide to the adopted by Shulhan Arukh.
Perplexed and Mishneh Torah. (Video 3)
(Video 3, 4)

Definitions © Barry Scott Wimpfheimer


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WEEK ONE GLOSSARY – INTRODUCING THE TALMUD

YESHIVA/OT – During the last RESPONSUM/A – A responsum (pl. SOLOMON IBN ADERET/RASHBA –
quarter of the first millennium CE responsa) is a formal written Thirteenth century student of
there were two large institutional answer to a religious question, Nahmanides who produced his
academies called Yeshivot (plural often about a matter of law. The own novellae to the Talmud and
of Yeshiva) in Babylonia (present Geonim and the Yeshivot an extensive set of responsa.
day Baghdad). These played an produced responsa as part of their (Video 4)
important role in disseminating curriculum and this was one of the
ASHKENAZ – Though originally a
and institutionalizing Rabbinic vehicles of communicating
biblical term, the term Ashkenaz
Judaism and the Talmud. (Video rabbinic Judaism to the diaspora.
came in the medieval period to
4, 25) (Video 4)
refer to the specific culture of
DIASPORA – Greek term invented RABBENU NISSIM – An eleventh Judaism found in Germany and
to describe the unique condition century rabbi who lived in Northern France. (Video 4)
of Judeans who insisted upon Qairouan (present day Tunisia).
SEFARAD – Though originally a
ethnic and cultural identity Rabbenu Nissim produced one of
biblical term, the term Sefarad
outside of the homeland. the earliest Talmud commentaries
came in the medieval period to
Sometimes used to refer to all and was a contemporary of
refer to the specific culture of
Jewish communities outside of Rabbenu Hananel. (Video 4)
Judaism found in Southern Spain
Israel. (Video 4)
NAHMANIDES/RAMBAN – and North Africa. (Video 4)
GEONIM – The head of the Thirteenth century legal scholar,
GUIDE TO THE PERPLEXED –
Babylonian Yeshiva was a Gaon biblical exegete and kabbalist. His
Aristotleian work of philosophy
(plural Geonim). The last quarter novellae to the Talmud combine
written by Maimonides. (Video 4)
of the first millennium is the Tosafist ideal of a unified
sometimes called the Geonic Talmud with traditions inherited
period in Jewish historiography. from Provence and northern
(Video 4, 25) Spain. (Video 4)

Definitions © Barry Scott Wimpfheimer


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WEEK ONE GLOSSARY – INTRODUCING THE TALMUD

GRA/RABBI ELIJAH OF MANUSCRIPT – The dominant males participated in religious


VILNA/VILNA GAON – Eighteenth mode of Talmudic transmission sects that separated themselves
century Lithuanian rabbi who from 1000-1500 was a from Jewish society at large and
developed a cult of personality handwritten codex (a bound paper from one another. The sects
despite never having an official book designed for writing on both attended very carefully to narrow
communal leadership position. sides of the page). (Video 3, 14, distinctions of ritual practice and
Instrumental in the modern 19) belief. (Video 2, 9, 22)
revival of Talmud study and
PRINT EDITION – A specific REFORM – This nineteenth
Yeshivot. (Video 4)
printing of the Talmud. Famous century religious reform program
WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTHUMS ones include the sixteenth century in Germany and the United States
– Literally “The Science of Bomberg edition and the late sought to change Judaism so that
Judaism,” this movement nineteenth century Romm edition. it was more in keeping with
consisted of scholars who analyzed (Video 3, 14, 19) mainstream Protestant values and
ancient Jewish texts along the practices. Over time, Reform
ORDER – An order is an
lines of nineteenth century would transform Judaism and
organizational tier of the Mishnah.
classicists. They comprise the come to include a majority of Jews
The Mishnah is divided into six
earliest formal field of university in these countries. (Video 4, 25)
orders. (Video 2, 3, 15, 17)
Jewish Studies. (Video 4)
SECTS – During the late second
temple period, some elite Judean

Definitions © Barry Scott Wimpfheimer


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