An Index to the Talmud

To those who are interested in studying the Talmud, a recently published index to Talmud will be of great help. The following is an excerpt from an article written by Joseph Berger and published in The New York Times:

The Talmud is a formidable body of work: 63 volumes of rabbinical discourse and disputation that form Judaism’s central scripture after the Torah. It has been around for 1,500 years and is studied every day by tens of thousands of Jews. But trying to navigate through its coiling labyrinth can be enormously difficult because the one thing this monumental work lacks is a widely accepted and accessible index.

But now that breach has been filled, or so claims the publisher of HaMafteach, or the Key, a guide to the Talmud, available in English and Hebrew. It was compiled not by a white-bearded sage, but by a courtly, clean-shaven, tennis-playing immigration lawyer from the Bronx.

The index has 6,600 topical entries and 27,000 subtopical entries that point students to the treatises and pages of text they are seeking. In these passages, sages analyze matters like whether one can remarry a former wife after she has been betrothed to another, or how one should handle a lost object found in a garbage heap. The index guides the student to significant laws about Sabbath and daily observance, as well as maxims, parables, commentaries and Talmudic personalities.

The index was prepared by Daniel Retter and it took seven years to complete the work. The English version of the index costs only $29.99. The price is a bargain. I have already asked the library of Northern Seminary to add the index to its collection.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

 

 

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