By this time the collection of halakhic material had become very large and various, and after several attempts had been made to reduce it to uniformity, a code of oral tradition was finally drawn up in the and century by Judah ha-Nasi, called Rabbi par excellence.
Of this halakhic Midrash we possess that on Exodus, called Mekhilta, that on Leviticus, called Sifra, and that on Numbers and Deuteronomy, called Sifre.
The material thus accumulated, both halakhic and agadic, forming a commentary on and amplification of the Mishnah, was eventually written down under the name of Gemara (from gemar, to learn completely), the two together forming the Talmud (properly "instruction").
The language of both gemaras is in the main the Aramaic vernacular (western Aramaic in Yerushalmi, eastern in Babhli), but early halakhic traditions (e.g.
Individual Geonim produced valuable works (of which later), but what is perhaps most important from the point of view of the development of Judaism is the literature of their Responsa or answers to questions, chiefly on halakhic matters, addressed to them from various countries.
Of the same school were Menahem ben Simeon of Posquieres, a commentator, who died about the end of the 12th century, and Moses ben Jacob of Coucy (13th century), author of the Semag (book of precepts, positive and negative) a very popular and valuable halakhic work.
About 1270), who had studied in France, wrote the fan.ous Or Zarua` (from which he is often called), an halakhic work somewhat resembling Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, but more diffuse.
The latter was a prolific writer of great influence, chiefly known for his Responsa, but also for his halakhic treatiseE, hiddushin and tosaphot.h.
1293), had an even greater influence through his halakhic work, ustally known as the Mordekhai.
Asher ben Jehiel, a pupil of Me'ir of Rothenburg, was the author of the popular Talmudic compendium, generally quoted as Rabbenu Asher, on the lines of Alfasi, besides other halakhic works.
In the East, Joseph Karo (Qaro) wrote his Beth Yoseph (Venice, 1550), a commentary on the Tur, and his Shulhan `Arukh (Venice, 1564) an halakhic work like the Tur, which is still a standard authority.
The translation, as a whole, is good, and adheres very closely to the Hebrew text, which has not been without its influence on the Aramaic idiom; at times, especially in the poetical passages, a freer and more paraphrastic method is employed, and the version shows evident traces of Halakhic and Haggadic expansion.
His chief halakhic (legal) works were Darke Moshe and Mappah.