As I was taught by my Rabbi Jose Faur, the Sephardic tradition, emerging out of the Babylonian academies and finding its definitive form in the many legal works of Moses Maimonides, held the Talmudic texts to be oral literature. Using mnemonics, technical terms, and other rhetorical devices to aid memorization and transmission, Sephardim understood the Talmud to be a colloquy of discussions that were drawn from the proceedings of the great rabbinical Academies of Babylonia. The Babylonian Talmud became the basis upon which the Jewish law would be constructed.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/david-shasha/what-is-pilpul-and-why-on_b_507522.html
This was a process grounded, as it was in the Muslim Hadith and Shari'a, in tradition and the chain of transmission. Laws were transmitted in the name of rabbinical authorities. It was this chain of tradition, known to Muslims by the Arabic term Isnad, that drew clear lines between the formal authority of what has been passed down to us and the process of codifying these laws. The ultimate purpose of the legal process was to elevate the Law above personal and political concerns so that members of the community would be completely equal and not live at the whim of arbitrary judges.