The Babylonian Talmud is composed of "Mishnah" (or "Halacha"), or laws formulated by the Pharisees whose teachings comprise the Talmud, and "Gemara," or argumentative teachings about these laws. There are 63 books in the Babylonian Talmud, largely divided without topical organization.
All Talmud books have "Mishnah" (plural "Mishnaim"). Some lack a "Gemara." The "Mishnah" or law of one or another Pharisee may be referred to, for example, as the "Mishnah of Rabbi Akiba," or of "Eliezer ben Jacob."
"The name Mishnah is applied in particular to the collection of Halachoth, or laws, made by Judah Hanasi (generally known as Rabbi) and his colleagues at the beginning of the 3rd Century C.E." (Note: "CE." stands for "Common Era," to avoid "AD" or "Year of Our Lord," from the Latin, Anno Domini.) (See Jewish Encyclopedia "Mishnah")
Continuing to quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia: The Mishnah represents the culmination of a series of attempts to bring order into the vast mass of traditions which had been transmitted orally for many centuries The compiliation of the Mishnah is not, however, the work of one man, or even of the scholars of one age, but rather the result of a long process extending over a period of two centuries.
In the Palestine Pharisee Talmudic center at Jabneh (for it was never in Jerusalem but at Jabneh where the Jerusalem Talmud was composed) there was a concerted effort on the part of the sages of Jabeneh (about 90 CE.) to assemble and harmonize the Halachah Akiba (died about 135 CE.) arranged the Halachoth in logical order and probably constructed the framework of the present day Mishnah; (4) the collection of the Akiba was enlarged and brought up to date by his disciple Meir [Note: Who, the Talmud says, was a descendant of Nero, a convert to Talmudism.] (5) it became the custom, after the time of Akiba, for every head of an academy to compile his own Mishnah so that the confusion that resulted motivated Judah Hanasi to compile a standard [page 4] authoritative Mishnah; (6) although it is reported that Judah made use of thirteen different collections of Halachoth in his work, his Mishnah is based largely upon the collection of Meir, and indirectly, therefore, upon that of Akiba. (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, "Mishnah")
Judah Hanasi, who compiled the Mishnah, was born about A.D. 135 and died after A.D. 200 (same authority, "'Judah Hanasi"). "Nasi," meaning "prince" of Jewry, was the title given the head of the Sanhedrin court, which meted out life and death under Talmudic law.
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