The Talmud is a chaotic text with a few frustrations. When you open to the first page, it assumes that you’ve already read the whole thing. Its logical path is a non-linear patchwork of discussion across time and space. Some of its resolutions feel like deus ex machinas. While the Talmud has many possible interpretations, the structure (or lack of) may provide meaning to our own lives, if we approach it openly.
1. The Talmud and Contemporary Life: What can the Talmud offer contemporary society?
2. The Book of the Talmud: What type of book is the Talmud, and why is it so complex?
3. The Story of the Talmud: Where does the Talmud that we know come from?
This book starts with the premise that the oral tradition was given to Moshe at Sinai and discusses, if so, what aspects of rabbinic law were developed afterwards. It’s a nice introduction, though the development of the premise may be wanting for some.