The Talmud, Pereq Heleq (the chapter on the share [in the afterlife])


Judaism does not have a pope or councils that produce binding instructions. The closest thing to an authoritative collection of Jewish law and legal interpretation of the Torah is the Talmud, but there are two Talmuds (Jerusalem and Babylonian). More significantly, within the Talmuds there are many different, often opposed, opinions and debates often left with no clear “winner.” This is not to say that a normative, orthodox set of interpretations has not developed in certain times and places. It remains striking that Judaism, across its history and literature, is significantly characterized by discussion among a variety of voices.

Each Talmud is built of two parts. The earlier part is the Mishnah, which is a collection of legal material edited around 200 CE. Surrounding the Mishnah (literally on the page) is much longer commentary on the Mishnah, called the Gemara. The Gemara is mostly from 200-500 CE. The following conventions are used in your copy:


The opening is rather optimistic, at least for the descendants of Jacob.

Body-soul dualism

Resurrection of the body

Use of scripture

Eschatological periodization

Further reading

Segal, Alan F. Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West. New York: Doubleday, 2004.
Blume BL535.S438 2004