One instinctively associates the word "Talmud" with either the Jewish Talmud of Jerusalem or the Babylonian Talmud. Its root Hebrew meaning is "teachings received by a disciple," according to the Encyclopedia Judaica. These two aforementioned talmuds date roughly to the late 4th and 5th centuries A.D., respectively. Thus the Talmud of Jmmanuel, or TJ, apparently predated them by some two or three centuries. (Hopefully my use of the abbreviation "TJ" in the present writings will not be confused with the same abbreviation for the Talmud of Jerusalem.) According to a faculty member of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at the University of Chicago, the word "talmud" probably predated the Babylonian Talmud by several centuries.

This predating is understandable because the Hebrew and Aramaic word "talmid," which means "pupil" or "one who learns," was used at least a century earlier still, as it occurs in the Old Testament's 1 Chr 25:8. Thus there was ample time for its oral meaning to be augmented from "talmid" and "pupil" into "talmud" or "teachings received by a pupil" by mid-1st-century A.D. The distinction shows up in Aramaic and Hebrew words because, despite vowels not being fully invented at this time, their writing did sometimes make use of the letter "yod" to represent the "i" sound and "vav" to represent the "u" sound. Hence, "talmid" and "talmud" were distinguishable. It turns out that words with a vowel sequence of a,i, such as "talmid," tend to refer to a characteristic of something (e.g., a person with the characteristic of learning, or a pupil). Words with the vowel sequence a,u, as in "talmud," tend to refer to a passive or abstract noun (e.g., that which is learned).

It remains a question as to why the word "talmud" was scarcely used in the two centuries preceding the Talmud of Jerusalem. (It was used during this era in the Kohelet Rabbah, a Jewish midrash (commentary) on the book of Ecclesiastes.) Is it possible that the TJ was partly responsible? I.e., was the TJ's circulation within Palestine so brief, before it fell into the hands of the compiler of Matthew, that its title word did not become known and had to re-evolve? Or, were the TJ's heresies for both Judaism and Christianity so severe that for a few centuries after its appearance in the Palestinian area no writer wished to refer to it or entitle his own writing, if of a "talmudic" nature, a talmud?

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