History of the Talmud XII:

48. The sealing and recording of the Jerusalem Talmud. 425 C.E.

The reasons that led to the recording and sealing of the Jerusalem Talmud are clear for everyone to see. It is the result of imperial decisions recorded in the Christian Roman Constitution known as the Theodosian Code. In that year an imperial order decreed that the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem should be abolished. This led the leaders of the Sanhedrin to record the discussions and decisions of the High Court in Israel in the compendium known as the Talmud Yerushalmi, or Jerusalem Talmud.

49. The recording of the Babylonian Talmud. The discussions and decisions of the legal authorities of the Jewish community in Babylonia were gathered, edited and recorded in what we have as the Babylonian Talmud. This occurred around the year 500 of the Common Era. This decision was made when the Jews perceived a threat posed by one of the more fanatic rulers of the Persian Empire at that time, and Ravina and Rav Ashi, edited and recorded what became the Babylonian Talmud.

The Rise of Islam

50. The Rise of Islam in the 7th century brought about changes that had a significant effect on all Jewish communities. The conquests of the Arab Moslems beginning in 632 were lightning-swift and struck the Christian world like thunder and earthquake combined. Within a few short years the Arabs had conquered large portions of the Roman Empire in the East, including Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. Their progress across the North African coast followed rapidly.

51. The Islamic Conquests. In 711,Tariq, a Moroccan Arab Moslem leader invaded and conquered Spain, establishing an Arab Moslem kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula. In the East, the Arabs conquered and overthrew the last of the Zoroastrian Persian empires, incorporating in their conquered territories Babylonia(=Iraq), Persia (=Iran) and areas further east, eventually establishing Islam in Northern India.

52. Although the immediate companions of Mohammed originally believed that the entire world would be converted to Islam, in view of the large Jewish and Christian populations in these lands they had conquered, the Islamic rulers extended toleration to the Jews and Christians. These two peoples, who had received Divine Revelation before Mohammed, they designated as “People of the Book.” These infidels were to be permitted to live in the world of Islam, but in a social and political position inferior to that of the Moslems.

53. The Jewish civilization of Babylonia which had grown and flourished to a remarkable degree and which had produced the cultural treasure we know as the Babylonian Talmud in the centuries before the coming of Islam, continued to develop and flourish after the Moslem conquests. The rise of the Islamic Empire of the East, with its capital in Baghdad, brought the world’s wealth into this ancient center of civilization and the increased wealth and power brought with it a sense of self-confidence and security, with the accompanying relaxation of control over the lives of the non-Moslem populations.

54. Babylonia, which had been the center of Jewish political and religious authority in all areas of the pre-Islamic Persian Empire, now extended its influence and authority over other communities which had come under the hegemony of the expanded Islamic territories. Syria and Israel, which had been a part of the Christian Byzantine(=Roman) Empire before the rise of Islam, were now a part of the Ummayyad Arab kingdom whose capital was Damascus. As Arab-Islamic power reached across all of North Africa, the communities located along the lands of the southern Mediterranean shores were now in the same Arabic-Islamic cultural-political complex as Babylonia, and the rule of the Babylonian Talmud was extended to these Jewish communities as well.

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