Friday, January 07, 2022

More on Sefaria's Jerusalem Talmud

(JERUSALEM) TALMUD WATCH: New online translation by Sefaria may be the Jerusalem Talmud’s ‘Cinderella moment.’ The nonprofit offers free access to Jewish texts, and debuts one of its most ambitious projects yet – an interactive version of a cryptic and oft-overlooked version of the Talmud (DAVID STROMBERG, Times of Israel).
The Jerusalem Talmud was not completely forgotten — but its scarcity, as well as its style, made it more difficult to apply. It’s also written in a different Aramaic from the one that became familiar to yeshiva students who pored over the Babylonian Talmud. As Dr. Moshe Simon-Shoshan, a scholar of rabbinic literature and senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, explains, the Jerusalem Talmud is shorter, more cryptic, and less edited than the Babylonian Talmud, also known merely as the Bavli. It’s harder to make sense of the text, he adds, and so that people have to be more careful in reading and interpreting the Jerusalem Talmud — or Yerushalmi, as it is also known — especially since the links in the text aren’t as clear.

“I often say,” says Simon-Shoshan, “that you will never complain about the Bavli being unclear after you open the Yerushalmi.”

This article gives a helpful account of what the Talmud Yerushalmi (Palestinian Talmud) is and why it is important.

For more on Sefaria's new online English translation of the Yerushalmi, see here, with lots of background links.

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