One of the world's supreme works of religious literature, the Talmud has been unjustly neglected by a civilization that is rightly proud of its Judaeo-Christian heritage. This sacred book of Israel came to birth during the centuries following the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman Empire, when the people of Palestine were scattered to the four corners of the earth. To preserve their faith amid the strange customs of pagan lands, the wandering Israelites turned to their teachers for a fresh interpretation of the Torah, the ancient book of Moses. The Oral Laws formulated by the sages were eventually codified in the Talmud. Dagobert D. Runes, publisher of the Wisdom Library series for Philosophical Library, introduces the sacred text with a detailed preface. Dagobert D. Runes was a philosopher and author. He was the founding publisher of The Philosophical Library, where he worked to bring philosophical texts to a general audience. Runes was a colleague and friend of Albert Einstein and many other influential philosophers and scientists. Runes is responsible for publishing an English translation of Marx's On the Jewish Question, which he published under the title A World without Jews, and for editing The Dictionary of Philosophy, published in 1942.