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Bible Dictionaries
Gemara

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

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This word signifies complement, perfection. The rabbins call the Pentateuch the law, without any addition. Next to this they have the Talmud, which is divided into two parts: the first is only an application of the law to particular cases, with the decision of the ancient rabbins, and is called mishnah, or "second law:" the other part, which is a more extensive application of the same law, is a collection of determinations by rabbins, later than the mishnah . This last is termed gemara, "perfection," "finishing," because they consider it as a conclusive explanation of the law, to which no farther additions can be made. There are two gemaras, or two Talmuds, that of Jerusalem, and that of Babylon. The former was compiled, according to the Jews, about the end of the second or third century, by a celebrated rabbin, called Jochanan; but father Morinus maintains that the gemara was not finished till about the seventh century. Dr. Prideaux says that it was completed about A.D. 300. The Jews have little value for this Jerusalem Talmud, on account of its obscurity. The Babylonish gemara is, as the rabbins say, more modern. It was begun by a Jewish doctor, named Asa, and continued by Marmar and Mar, his sons or disciples. The Jews believe that the gemara contains nothing but the word of God, preserved in the tradition of the elders, and transmitted, without alteration, from Moses to rabbi Judah, the holy, and the other compilers of the Talmud; who did not reduce it to writing till they were afraid it would be corrupted by the several transmigrations and persecutions to which their nation was subjected.

Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Gemara'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​g/gemara.html. 1831-2.
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