The Babylonian Talmud attained its (almost) final shape in the eighth century, i.e. at a time when the Babylonian academies were flourishing and when the newly ascendant Abbassids founded Baghdad. Thus, the Babylonian Jewish community was at the political centre of the contemporary world; through trade connections, it was, moreover, relatively easy to reach from every direction. Rabbinic Judaism, which by now, had finally consolidated itself in Babylonia and was continually extending its sway beyond the sphere of Talmudic schools to the people, was thus enabled to spread its intellectual influence far beyond the country’s borders.
H.L. Strack and Günter Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, trans. and ed. Markus Bockmuehl, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 214.