(See also Qaraites.) To return to the period of the Geonim.
The schismatic Qaraites initiated or rather necessitated a new Hebrew philology, which later on produced Qimhi, the gaon Saadiah founded a Jewish philosophy, the statesman Hasdai introduced a new Jewish culture - and all this under Mahommedan rule.
The Hebrew alphabet is also used, generally with the addition of some diacritical marks, by Jews to write other languages, chiefly Arabic, Spanish, Persian, Greek, Tatar (by Qaraites) and in later times German.
In the post-Talmudic age the Qaraites, who rejected the tradition of the Talmud, designated the Jews who adhered to that tradition as Rabbanites.
These reacted upon this institutional religion, which readapted and reinterpreted itself from time to time, and when they did not help to build up another theology (as in Christianity), they ended by assuming too rigid and unprogressive a shape (see Qaraites), or, breaking away from long-tried convention, became a mysticism with mixed results (see Kabbalah).
The Palestinian Talmud, although used by the Qaraites in their controversies, fell into neglect, and the Babylonian recension became, what it has since been, the authoritative guide.
Talmud by the Qaraites in their controversies with the Rabbis we owe the preservation of this recension, incomplete though it is.
The Talmud outlived the reactionary tendencies of the Qaraites (q.v.) and of the Kabbalah, and fortunately, since these movements, important though they undoubtedly were for the evolution of thought, had not within them the power to be of lasting benefit to the rank and file of the community.