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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Mark Eastman :: The Search for the Messiah

Mark Eastman :: Appendix I: The Mishnah, Talmud & Targums

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Mishnah: Literally "repeated study," the Mishnah is the oldest post biblical collection and codification of the Jewish Oral Laws, systematically compiled by numerous authors over a period of two centuries. The Mishnah was completed around 200 C.E. By Rabbi Judah. It represents various oral traditions that had been preserved since the time of Ezra, 450 B.C.E. It is made up of six Orders, called Sedarim and 63 tractates.


The word Talmud means "study or learning" and is a commentary on the Mishna. The Talmud contains quotes from the Mishnah with commentary called Gemara. When the Mishnah was combined with these commentaries they were given the name Talmud.

The Talmud Bavi ( Babylonian Talmud) was written from the years 200 - 400 C.E. And was taken from oral and written materials from the time of Ezra. It comments on the whole Mishna while the Talmud Yerushalemi (Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud), on which work ended in 500 C.E., comments mainly on the first four orders of the Mishna. Authorities agree that it was never completed.

In 1631 the Talmud was edited to remove many of the references to Jesus of Nazareth because there were many derogatory references to Jesus and the church used these to justify persecution of the Jews.


These are commentaries on the Tanakh which date from as early as 100-200 C.E. and as late as 1600 C.E. These are running commentaries on the Bible. The Midrash is divided as follows:

Halakah Midrashim comment mainly on the books Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy.


Mekhlita DeRabbi Shim'on ben Yohai

Sifra, Sifre, Sifre Zuta,

Haggadah Midrashim expounds on the non-legal parts of scripture.

Midrash rabba 5th century

Tanhuma 4th Century

Pesiqta de Rabbi Kahana

Pesiqta rabbati

Avat de Rabbi Natan

Tanna deve Eliyyahu

Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer

Yakult Shimoni 13th century

Yakult ha-makhiri 14th century

Yakult 'En Ya'aqov 16th century


These are perhaps the oldest commentaries on the Tanakh known. The Targums are Aramaic translations of the original Hebrew Tanakh with the addition of Rabbinical commentary on the text just translated. They were written between about 200 B.C.E.-200 C.E. The oldest extant manuscripts of Targum material is the Targum Onkelos from the third century C.E.

Chapter Twelve: The Claims of Christ ← Prior Section
Appendix II: Historical Evidence for Jesus of Nazareth Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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