|What is known as
the Palestinian Talmud was composed shortly after
400C.E., whereas the Babylonian Talmud, always reffered
to as the Talmud was put into shape about 500C.E.
From the point of view of literay form and structure, the Talmud may be described as a commentary upon the Mishnah of R. Judah The Patriarch, composed about 220 C.E. The Mishnah, became established very soon after it's compilation as a book of authority in Palestine and Babylonia. In the celerated academies of these two countries, it became the official text book for instruction and was was debated, commented upon, and interpreted for three centuries.
Since the prime purpose of the redactors of the Talmud was to preserve the ancient discussions of the Mishnah, the body of the Talmud assumed the form of dialouge of the Amoraim, the official expositors of the law who flourished between 200-500 C.E.
The Numerous discussions between the Jewish and Roman sages recorded in the Talmud, are evidence of a great deal of intellectual relations between learned Jews and pagans, which must have had a stimulating effect on their thinking in many great ways.
The Talmud, for
Jews, is not merely a great literay production, which it
is. It is not merely a great fund of Jewish religous
experience and wisdom accumulated throughout the course
of the ages. The Talmud ranks next to the Sacred
Scriptures in significance, as a source for religous
insight, inspiration and practice, and will instruct the
last generations of mankind.