His halakot are mentioned throughout the greater part of the Mishnah, as well as in the Baraita and Sifra. His teaching was very systematic. He was opposed to controversy, declaring that the antagonism between the schools of Shammai and Hillel made it seem as if there were two Torahs. For the most part, Jose adopted a compromise between two contending halakhists. Like his master Akiba, Jose occupied himself with the dots which sometimes accompany the words in the Bible, occasionally basing his halakot on such dots. He was generally liberal in his halakic decisions, especially in interpreting the laws concerning fasts and vows. In those cases where there was a difference of opinion between Jose and his contemporaries, it was Jose's decision that was adopted as the norm for the practise.
Jose was also a prominent haggadist; and the conversation which he had with a Roman matron, resulting in her conviction of the superiority of the Jewish religion, shows his great skill in interpreting Biblical verses. Jose is considered to be the author of the Seder Olam Rabba, a chronicle from the creation to the time of Hadrian, for which reason it is called also known as "Baraita di Rabbi Jose ben Halafta. This work, though incomplete and too concise, shows Jose's system of arranging material in chronological order.
Jose is known for his ethical dicta, which are characteristic, and in which he laid special stress on the study of the Torah. He exemplified Abtalion's dictum, "Love the handicrafts"; for he was a tanner by trade, and followed a craft then commonly held in contempt. A series of Jose's ethical sayings in Shabbot (118b) shows his tendency toward Essenism. As has been said above, Jose was opposed to disputation. When his companion Judah desired to exclude Meïr's disciples from his school, Jose dissuaded him. One of his characteristic sayings is, "He who indicates the coming of the Messiah, he who hates scholars and their disciples, and the false prophet and the slanderer, will have no part in the future world. According to Bacher this was directed against the Hebrew Christians.
Owing to Jose's fame as a saint, legend describes him as having met Elijah. Jose, complying with the Law, married the wife of his brother who had died childless; she bore him five sons: Ishmael, Eleazar, Menahem, Halafta (who died in his lifetime), and Eudemus.