The National Library in Jerusalem introduced this week a new purchase: The Babylonian Talmud translated into Arabic.

Behind this project is the Middle East Studies Center in Jordan, which in recent months published 20 volumes of the Babylonian Talmud translated into Arabic.

These books are currently being sold in Jordanian markets, particularly at local book fairs. The National Library recently acquired a copy of the translated Talmud and it is now on public display in the library.

The project was published following work which lasted for about six years. The hard work was done by a group of 95 researchers, translators and language editors, including translators from Hebrew to Arabic and from Aramaic into Arabic. The Middle East Studies Center’s headquarters are located in Amman, where researchers and translators worked on the translation and preparation of the Talmud in Arabic.

According to the editors of the project, this is a first and historic precedent. “They wanted to show the academic world the principles of Jewish thought,” according to the National Library.

The Talmud, which comprises both the Mishnah (Oral Law) and the Gemara, is one of the Jewish people's most sacred and central texts, forming a coded record of ancient rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history, and written mostly in Aramaic. The Babylonian Talmud was recorded in about the 6th century while the Jerusalem Talmud was recorded some 200 years earlier.

There are several English translations of the monumental work. Last year, for the first time in history, the Italian government began collaborating with the Italian Jewish community on a special project to translate the Talmud into the Italian language.

In South Korea, Talmud study is a mandatory part of the country’s school curriculum.