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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 3.21:
What is the relationship of the Tosefta to the Talmuds?

Answer:

Both Talmud Bavli and Talmud Yerushalmi mostly ignore the Tosefta. The Babylonian and the Jerusalem gemaras to the Mishna usually proceed independently of material contained in the Tosefta.

The only explicit quotation of the Tosefta in the Talmuds is in Masekhot Yoma, 70A. However, many baraitot (authoritative legal material that was not redacted as part of the Mishna) quoted in the gemara correspond very closely to teachings in the Tosefta, agreeing in substance but differing in wording.

Many rabbis in the gemara discuss a problem that seems already to have been solved in the Tosefta. The question is, are they unfamiliar with the Tosefta, or was the Tosefta considered non-authoritative, or were they simply unable to recall the Tosefta?

The complete Hebrew text of the Tosefta is appended to the backs of Hebrew versions of the Talmud. An English translation by Jacob Neusner is available. There are also translations of complete Tosefta chapters available in different scholarly works.


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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