It is doubtful whether any of them were committed to writing before the Christian Era .They are important as indicating the character of the Hebrew text used, and because they agree with the New Testament in interpreting certain passages Messianically which later Jews denied to have any Messianic bearing.As no part of it was written down, it was preserved by constant repetition ( Mishna ).
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Interpreters or "speakers" laboured upon it both in Palestine and Babylonia (until 500), and the results are comprised in the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds. Each Talmud consists of two parts, the Mishna (in Hebrew), in sixty-three tractates, and an explanation of the same ( Gemara ), ten or twelve times as long.
The explanatory portion of the Palestinian Talmud is written in Western Aramaic and that of the Babylonian Talmud in Eastern Aramaic, which is closely allied to Syriac or Mandaic. Next to the Bible the Babylonian Talmud is the great religious book of orthodox Jews, though the Palestinian Talmud is more highly prized by modern scholars.
At the head of this assembly, on the highest throne, was seated the alabarch, the brother of Philo.
Philo himself was a man of wealth and learning, who mingled with all classes of men and frequented the theatre and the great library.
Though this distinction did not occur to Philo, his exegesis served to tide over the difficulty for the time amongst the Hellenistic Jews, and had great influence on Origen and other Alexandrian Christian writers.