Page 10 - COMPARATIVE AMERICAN AND TALMUDIC CRIMINAL LAW
P. 10

Notwithstanding these commentaries, the Talmud is nonetheless a nightmare for the
uninitiated.27 There is neither a table of contents nor an index,28 and it is written in Hebrew and
Aramaic freely intermixed, and is read from right to left. It has no vowels and no
punctuations.29 The language is, on its face, terse and cryptic,30 presupposing broad and deep
knowledge of the totality. Moreover, the Talmud has its own legal vocabulary and modes of
analysis, which constitute additional barriers to access.31 As a result, English translations, which
are often quite literal, may leave the student baffled. As Jacob Shachter, a translator of the

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