1 March 2005

Rabbinics and Jewish Research

Israel is a very web-based society. Many books, introductions and all
the basic rabbinic sources are available freely on the internet in Hebrew
though translations are more difficult to find. All the early traditions
are becoming available in my TRENT online (the translations are freely
available, but the discussions can only be previewed). This will, I hope,
enable a revival in the serious use of rabbinic material for NT research.

1) Introductions & dictionaries
2) Talmud and related ancient legal texts
3) Targums & Aggadic texts
4) Commercial software
5) Jewish-Christian interface
6) Manuscripts and archaeology
7) Later Jewish works & collections
8) Jewish jokes

1) Introductions & dictionaries

Jewish Encyclopaedia - full text and searchable, including pictures
- for ancient Judaism this is more useful than the modern Encyclopaedia Judaica

Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature
by Marcus Jastrow - the standard English lexicon for rabbinic works.
http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/jastrow/ (an experimental site - tell me if it works for you)
Hebrew alphabet & links to teach-yourself
- also has introductions to almost every other written text form. Amazing!

Bar mitzvah tutor - illustrated encyclopaedias of places, people, plants etc
incl. Torah readings with Hebrew, transliteration, translation and audio at:
and haftorah readings at: http://bible.ort.org/books/haftarotd4.asp

Jewish virtual library (actually an online encyclopaedia)
Timeline: http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/timeline.html
Glossary: http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/gloss.html
- starts from no knowledge. A modern traditional viewpoint.

Introduction to Judaism
- from Biblical to modern times. By a Christian, but very good.

Mechon Mamre - an ultra-othodox site with very useful tools & texts
- plus hyperlinked introductions to Jewish lifestyle & festivals at

Rabbis with Dates and introduction to dating rabbinic traditions

2) Talmud and related ancient legal texts
Outline of contents for Talmuds/Mishnah/Tosephta
(all follow the same plan, mostly with same chapter numbers)

Interactive Guide to Talmud page layout
- with introductions to the main commentaries etc

Babylonian Talmud in English:
The complete Talmud is only available on commercial CDs (see below)
though most of the tractates are found on one of the following sites:
Soncino translation of 16 tractates at
Rodkinson’s translation of 22 tractates (+ 3 supplementary tractates):
Rodkinson is mostly OK, but he omitted portions which are "defamatory to the Rabbis" which he thought
were inserted by Jewish-Christians (see http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/t10/ht123.htm#fn_17)

Original-language texts
Babylonian Talmud - http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/l/l0.htm
Jerusalem Talmud - http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/r/r0.htm
Mishnah - http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/h/h0.htm
Tosephta - http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/f/f0.htm

Downloadable original-language Talmuds, Mishnah & Tosephta for PC & Palm

eDaf Talmud pages and audio explanation
- facsimiles of the traditional pages linked to audio translation & explanation
http://www.e-daf.com/ (but a simple English goy like me finds the accent difficult)

The 613 Commandments in Torah, compiled by Maimonides
Mishnah-Torah – a restatement of the law for practical observance
As yet, only the beginning is translated into English, but the first 60 chapters are completed at:
Summary of Mishnah-Torah

3) Targums & aggadic texts
Targums in Aramaic - searchable
Onqelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, Neofiti, Fragmentary, & non-Torah Targums.

Targums in English
Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, Fragmentary trans. by Etheridge. Torah only.
and for Palm at http://www.tulane.edu/~ntcs/palm/palm.html

Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer Electronic Text Editing Project
- digitisation of 3 MSS of Pirqe R Eliezer

Legends of the Jews by by Louis Ginzberg
- a readable account conflating all Jewish aggadic literature (footnotes are missing)
The 3 vols of footnotes to primary references are only in the commercial version at:
Mysticism during the Talmudic Era: Sources

Tales And Maxims From The Midrash by Rev. Samuel Rapaport
- large collection of selections from a wide range of Midrashim

4) Commercial software
There are lots, but these are the best:

Davka's Soncino Classics Collection
Babylonian Talmud (incl. Mishnah), Midrash Rabbah, in English & Hebrew
(don't buy at this price - sign up for emails and wait for special offers)

Bar Ilan Judaic Libraries
"All" rabbinic literature in Hebrew, searchable & linked

Wolfson Talmud with audio translation-explanation
- linked Hebrew texts (Rashi,Tosefos,, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch) with popup dictionary
FREE CD of 1st tractate: http://www.jewishsoftware.com/default.asp?page=category&id=449

5) Jewish-Christian interface
Ancient Jewish Accounts of Jesus
Josephus, Celcus, Tertullian, Talmud, Toledoth Yeshu - full texts with introductions..

Several books on Jesus and Judaism collected by Messianic Jews
- incl. Christianity in Talmud and Midrash by R. Travers Herford
and Jesus Christ in the Talmud, Midrash, and the Zohar by Gustav Dalman
(which both deal with the censored Talmudic passages about Jesus)

TRENT - Traditions of the Rabbis in the Era of the New Testament
- earliest traditions dated and explained, esp for NT relevance
Preview at http://www.T-R-E-N-T.com

Into His Own – Primary Jewish sources for background of the NT

6) Manuscripts and archaeology
Inscriptions from the Land of Israel
- aims to collect all inscriptions from Israel 330 BCE - 613 CE

Talmud Manuscripts Project - (Jewish National and University Library)
- facsimiles of 78 MSS of Babylonian Talmud & Mishnah from 11 libraries

Geniza collection at Cambridge University
- good introduction to the history and texts
- very few texts actually available
Most texts from Cambridge and elsewhere are viewable at:
- a search engine for an improved version of these texts is at:

Marriage & Divorce Papyri of the Ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish World
- all the papyri from 4th C BCE to 4th C CE

Ancient Kettubot - Marriage certificates
- 1200 MSS covering 900 years, searchable. Pictures of the originals are often very beautiful

Michael Davidson - Early Hebrew Printing
- links to manuscripts and editions of Rabbinic texts

Ancient Synagogues
Primary sources and archaeology for ancient synagogues

Historical Jewish Maps & Atlases
Biblical, Archeaological, Talmudic to Modern.

7) Later Jewish works & collections
RAMBI Bibliographic Index of Articles on Jewish Studies
- aims to list all scholarly articles since 1966. Good search facilities.

Judaica Archival Project
- about 1000 ancient MSS which are emailed to you for a small fee

Jewish National and University Library Digitized Book Repository
- rare and out-of-print books, mainly in Hebrew

Judaica Libraries and Archives on the Web
- links to significant collections of Judaica around the world

Jewish Delaware - links for ancient & modern Judaism

Jewish History Sourcebook
- links and documents covering the whole history of the Jews

Online Texts and Documents Related to Jewish History
- covers ancient to modern, concentrating on actual texts

8) Jewish jokes


Why G-d Never Received Tenure at Any University:
He had only one major publication.
It was in Hebrew; had no references; wasn't published in an academic journal; and some doubt he wrote it himself.
He may have created the world, but what has he done since?
The scientific community cannot replicate his results.
He never received permission from the ethics board to use human subjects.
When one experiment went awry, he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.
He rarely came to class; telling the students to, "Read the book."
Some say he had his son teach the class.
He expelled his first two students.
His office hours were irregular and sometimes held on a mountain top.
Although there were only ten requirements, most students failed.

(The old ones are the best)

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