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All such non-Mishnaic tannaitic sources are termed baraitot (lit.
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Since it sequences its laws by subject matter instead of by biblical context, the Mishnah discusses individual subjects more thoroughly than the Midrash, and it includes a much broader selection of halakhic subjects than the Midrash.
The Mishnah's topical organization thus became the framework of the Talmud as a whole.
It is written in Tannaitic Hebrew and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis (dating from before the Common Era through to the fifth century) on a variety of subjects, including Halakha (law), Jewish ethics, philosophy, customs, history, lore and many other topics.
The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law, and is widely quoted in rabbinic literature. Rabbis expounded and debated the Torah (the written Torah expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves), though some may have made private notes (), for example of court decisions.
Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the "Talmud" as a text.