Talmud translator Adin Steinsaltz dies

The Steinsaltz Centre, the Jerusalem educational institute he founded, said he died on Friday in Jerusalem after suffering from pneumonia.

Steinsaltz, an educator who established a network of schools in Israel and the former Soviet Union, wrote more than 60 books on subjects ranging from zoology to theology.

But the Talmud, the central text in mainstream Judaism, was his greatest passion.

The Talmud details rabbinical discussions over the centuries pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history.

But because of its complexity, obscurity and the fact that much of it is written in the ancient Aramaic language, the rarified text for centuries remained beyond the scope of comprehension of all but a select group of scholarly Jews.

The text, compiled in Mesopotamia in the 5th century, is broken into 63 sections and stretches over 2700 double-sided pages.

“I do believe that this knowledge, it is not just knowledge of history, it is knowledge of ourselves, it is our own picture,” Steinsaltz told The Associated Press in a 2010 interview at the end of his work.

“Talmud is a book that has no real parallel, it is a constant search for truth, for absolute truth.”

Read the article by Josef Federman in the Illawarra Mercury and The Courier.