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.
Great stress has often been laid upon the rabbis as schoolmen and scholatics, as adepts in
casuistry and dialectis, which they certainly were. However, little note has been taken of them as sages moralists, exerting all their preciuos energy and intelligence to preserve the notions of justice and spiritualy first propaged by Moses, and subsequently preached by Isaih, Amos, Micah, Jeremiah, and other Hebrew Prophets.