A large circle of Talmudists lived there; at their head Joseph Qaro, then over eighty years of age.
Such hints as these indicate the impossibility of recovering a complete picture of the Jews during the sovereignty of the Greeks, which the Talmudists regard as the dark age, best left in oblivion.
Although some of its foremost exponents were famous Talmudists, it was a protest against excessive intellectualism and Aristotelian scholasticism.
(See Gaon.) Meanwhile, as the Babylonian schools decayed, Talmudic learning was assiduously pursued outside its oriental home, and some Babylonian Talmudists apparently reached the West.
This school (France and Germany, 12th to 13th century) developed a casuistical and over-ingenious interpretation - in contrast to the Spanish Talmudists who aimed at simplification and codification - and it drew upon it the saying of Nabmanides (13th cent.): " They try to force an elephant through 1 Lat.
It may strike one as characteristically Jewish that extravagant and truly oriental encomiums were passed upon such legalists and Talmudists as Isaac Alfazi, Rashi or Maimonides; none the less the medieval Jews were able to produce and appreciate excellent literature of the most varied description.