What is the Mishnah?

The Mishnah is a Hebrew text of about 180.000 words, redacted around 200 CE in Palestine by the leaders of the nascent rabbinic movement. It consists of rules and discussions of these rules organized in six books "orders" (heb. sedarim) according topics related to daily social life (agriculture, taxes, family life, civil law, purity) and religion (festivals, but only little theology) with a strong emphasis on cultural memory of the times of the Temple sacrifice). Different subtopics are organized according to treatises (heb. massekhet, pl. massekhtot), such as "blessings", "tithes", "divorce writs". Together with its Companion, the Tosefta, the Mishnah is the longest text from the Roman Empire written in a language other than Latin or Greek that has survived and gives precious data about daily life, agriculture, economics, housing in an Eastern Province of the Roman Empire The Talmud, both the Babylonian Talmud and the Palestinian Talmuds, are in fact massive commentaries to the Mishnah written in Aramaic dialects mixed with Hebrew. Much of the vocabulary in the Mishnah is Greek and Latin loanwords.