Reconstructing the Life of the Temple and Its All-Too-Human Denizens

In the Talmud’s descriptions of self-glorifying and self-enriching Temple priests, lessons for today’s public officials

There Are Thieves in the Temple. Or Are They Sacred Messengers?

Daf Yomi: The Talmud provides the Jewish version of well-known Christian gospel about money-changers

On the Origin of Passover’s Four Questions and the Renewal of Miracles

The Talmud is not a literary text, yet its role in maintaining the continuity of Jewish history is undeniable

Magical Thinking, Superstition, and Incantations in Jewish Oral Law

By elevating witches and demons to the level of gods, Talmudic rabbis diminished religious thought

When the Rabbis Got Together for Shabbat Dinner, Drama—and Law—Ensued

In the Talmud, examples of real-life rabbinic behavior and the intensely personal nature of lawmaking

We No Longer Live in the World of Talmudic Rabbis. What’s a Modern Jew to Do?

In the Bible, the rabbis had the most accurate possible description of the world—a flawed and limited cosmology

In the Talmud, Jews in Exile Are Considered Defenseless Before Their Enemies

Daf Yomi: The one protection God granted the Jews was to scatter them, so that no single enemy could destroy them all at once

When the Rabbis Do Things by the Book, They Give the Talmud Its ‘Talmudic’ Qualities

In this week’s Daf Yomi, deference, privilege, and the appearance of impropriety from the rabbis of ancient Jewish society

When Talmud Is the Focus of Jewish Observance, Theology Comes to Life

Instead of asking us to passively agree with the rabbis, oral law engages the intellect in concrete problems of logic and interpretation

In the Talmud, Minds Full of Torah Instead of Bowls Full of Sacrificial Blood

Daf Yomi: Could Judaism ever go back to now-alien-seeming rituals from before the destruction of the Temple?

Good Jewish Fences Once Made Good Jewish Neighbors. Do They Still?

One of many ancient local customs analyzed in this week’s Talmud study is the habit of separating Jews from gentiles

Are American Jews Creating a New Jewishness, or Just Abandoning the Real Kind?

Most American Jews have effectively cast off rabbinic guidance. Would the Talmud’s rabbis have respected us for it, or disdained us?

How the Talmud Has Bridged the Gaps Between Various Jewish Cultures for Ages

By imbuing even the most mundane things—like vinegar—with importance, the rabbis find proof of sacred history

The Talmud, in Seeking To Eliminate Ambiguity, Maps the Invisible Onto the Visible

Daf Yomi: Much of the rabbinical ingenuity is devoted to figuring out how to draw clear lines in murky situations

In the Shadow of the Divine, Reaping Unintended Benefits at the Edges of the Law

Daf Yomi: A closer look at the Holy of Holies provides a fascinating illustration of how the rabbis of the Talmud read the Bible

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