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Babylonian Talmud

After the Bible, the most important text for Judaism is the 'Talmud'. It consists of the Mishnah, the written instructions of the Jewish teachers of the law on the Thora (the Five Books of Moses), and of the Gemara, which is likely a later commentary on the Mishnah, but also contains very comprehensive texts without a direct relationship to the Mishnah. The Talmud developed since the third century in two diverse versions, the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, the redaction of which was completed in the eighth century. The usually very rare manuscripts of the Talmud fell often victim to Christian destruction between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Babylonian Talmud preserved in the Bavarian State Library is the only manuscript extant from the Middle Ages, which contains the text of the Babylonian Talmud almost in its entirety. It is considered the most precious Hebrew manuscript in the Bavarian State Library. According to the two colophons (i.e. details of the title, the place and the date of the copy), the manuscript was probably completed in France in 1342. Early modern owners' entries show that the manuscript belonged to the important Jewish family of scholars Ulma-Günzburg, who resided from 1620 in Pfersee.