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Talmud is the name of the work which interprets the Torah, or Five Books of Moses. Because these interpretations were originally delivered orally and only codified at a later stage, the Talmud is also referred to as the "oral Torah". It comprises interpretations of the Torah combined with the many opinions of rabbis on its commandments.
The Talmud is in two parts, the Mishnah and the Gemara. Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Five Books of Moses were interpreted by Jewish scholars, their commentaries being passed on by oral tradition. At the end of the 2nd century CE an official anthology of the oral interpretations was completed by a group of scholars around rabbi Yehuda haNassi and recorded in writing as the Mishnah. The Mishnah has six large sections, each containing a series of tracts.
The Jewish academies in Palestine and Babylon supplemented the teachings of the Mishnah with explanatory and analytical commentaries during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries. The results are known as the Gemara. Not all parts of the Mishnah have a corresponding commentary in the Gemara.
The Palestinian and Babylonian academies recorded their commentaries in writing separately. In the 5th century the Talmud of the Land of Israel was produced, also referred to as the Palestinian Talmud or "Jerusalem Talmud". In the 6th century Talmudic scholars in Babylon published the Babylonian Talmud. It is more comprehensive than the Palestinian Talmud and became the more widelyused version. The Talmud serves as the basis for verdicts by rabbis on matters of religious law. Its rulings are a basis for resolving questions of the fulfillment in everyday orthodox Jewish life of commandments. The many persecutions of the Jews were invariably followed by the confiscation of the Talmud and bans on teaching, because the failure of Christian missionaries to convert the Jews was attributed to Jewish adherence to the Talmud. The Talmud was one of the books confiscated during the Pfefferkorn book confiscation.
During the Middle Ages general summaries of the Talmud were published. Study of the Talmud remains the core curriculum of Jewish religious colleges, the Jeshivoth, and it remains of central importance to orthodox Jews today.

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