TALMUD (Heb. תַּלְמוּד). The word "Talmud" means primarily "study" or "learning" and is employed in various senses. One refers to the opinions and teachings which disciples acquire from their predecessors in order to expound and explain them (Seder Tanna'im ve-Amora'im; cf. Rashi to Suk. 28b; BM 32a–b, et al.). Another sense comprises the whole body of one's learning; e.g., "He from whom one has acquired the greater part of his Talmud is to be regarded as one's teacher" (BM 33a). A third meaning is in the technical phrase talmud lomar, which
In popular parlance two other phrases are used as alternative names for the Talmud. The first is *Shas, an abbreviation consisting of the initial letters of Shishah Sidrei (Mishnah), i.e., the "Six Orders" (of the Mishnah) which serve as the literary foundation for the talmudim. The second is *Gemara (for a full discussion see Albeck, Mevo ha-Talmud (1969), ch. 1).
[Eliezer Berkovits /
Stephen G. Wald (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.