The Talmud: Selections, by H. Polano, , at sacred-texts.com
THE object of the following pages is to give to the student and general reader a fair idea of the contents of the Talmud.
Some time since the translator was asked how it was that no English translation of the Talmud was in existence, and being convinced that many would be interested in its contents, he resolved upon the book which he now presents to the public. It is merely a collection of specimens, and makes no pretensions to any more advanced standing. The only object has been to give in plain, easy language, a correct idea of the scope, and as general an idea as possible of the varied sections of the ancient and wonderful work.
A portion of the introduction is taken from the preface to the Mishna of Maimonides; the chronology is from the "Seder Haddoroth" (Order of Historical Ages), and the sketches of the Rabbis of the Talmud are taken from various hints afforded by the book itself, joined with opinions of the translator. The sketches of Maimonides, Rashi, and Rabbi Amnon of Metz, are translated from the "Seder Haddoroth," while the incidents, parables, legends, lectures, and aphorisms, all directly from the Talmud, are placed in order thought suitable by the translator, and not as they regularly occur. The portion devoted to the Holy Days is from a work entitled "Menorath Hammáore" (The Lamp of the Light), the greater part of which is originally from the Talmud.
The translator believes that a perusal of his work will
not only aid in informing the reader of what the Talmud is, but excite an interest in the same, which will make this book, and others of a similar character following it, of interest and demand.
It is probable that some errors and mistakes may be discovered, despite the care bestowed upon the pages of this book; for these the translator craves the reader's kind indulgence. The work has been to him a labour of love, and his satisfaction therewith would be incomplete, lacking such kindness. In the spelling of the proper names, he has taken advantage of a translator's arbitrary powers, and given that English version which he deems nearest to the proper pronunciation of the originals.
He desires to thank the friend who aided in the revision of the manuscript and pages, for many a correction and kind suggestion; and in the sincere hope and desire that his effort may tend to promote a knowledge of God's Holy Word, he leaves his cause with the indulgent reader.