The Talmud is a compilation of Rabbinic discussions involving Jewish law, ethics, and customs, and is considered to be authoritative among many Judaists. It is a primary source for Rabbinic case law and legislation. There are two parts to the Talmud: the Mishnah, which is the written recording of Judaism's "oral law," and the Gemara, which is a Rabbinic discussion of the Mishnah.
Sometimes the words "Talmud" and "Gemara" are used interchangeably. The Gemara, aside from being a discussion of the Mishnah, also branches out into other subjects and is used to reveal ancient understandings and opinions related to the Old Testament (or Tanakh). The Gemara is the basis for much of Rabbinic law and is often quoted in Rabbinic literature.
Judaic tradition maintains that the "oral law" dates back to the time of Moses about 3400 years ago and was written down during the centuries following the Roman destructions of the land of Israel, beginning, roughly, about 1900 years ago. There are two Talmuds. One is called the Jerusalem Talmud, or Talmud Yerushalmi. The other is named the Babylonian Talmud, or Talmud Bavli, because its Gemara was compiled by Jews living in Babylon.
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