Amoraim


Amoraim

Rabbinical Eras

Amoraim (Aramaic:; plural אמוראים, sig. Amora אמורא; "those who say" or "those who speak over the people", or "spokesmen"[1]), were renowned Jewish scholars who "said" or "told over" the teachings of the Oral law, from about 200 to 500 CE in Babylonia and the Land of Israel. Their legal discussions and debates were eventually codified in the Gemara. The Amoraim followed the Tannaim in the sequence of ancient Jewish scholars. The Tannaim were direct transmitters of uncodified oral tradition; the Amoraim expounded upon and clarified the oral law after its initial codification.

Contents

The Amoraic era

The first Babylonian Amoraim were Abba Arika, respectfully referred to as Rav, and his contemporary and frequent debate partner, Shmuel. Among the earliest Amoraim in Israel were Rabbi Yochanan and Shimon ben Lakish. Traditionally, the Amoraic period is reckoned as seven or eight generations (depending on where one begins and ends). The last Amoraim are generally considered to be Ravina I and Rav Ashi, and Ravina II, nephew of Ravina I, who codified the Babylonian Talmud around 500 CE. In total, 761 amoraim are mentioned by name in the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds. 367 of them were active in Palestine from around 200-350 CE, while the other 394 lived in Babylonia during 200-500 CE.[2]

In the Talmud itself, the singular amora generally refers to a lecturer's assistant; the lecturer would state his thoughts briefly, and the amora would then repeat them aloud for the public's benefit, adding translation and clarification where needed.

Prominent Amoraim

The following is an abbreviated listing of the most prominent of the (hundreds of) Amoraim mentioned in the Talmud. More complete listings may be provided by some of the external links below. See also List of rabbis.

First generation (approx. 230–250 CE)

Second generation (approx. 250–290 CE)

Third generation (approx. 290–320 CE)

  • Rabbah (d. 320), disciple of Rav Huna and Rav Yehudah. Dean of the Yeshiva at Pumbedita.
  • Rav Yosef (d. 323), disciple of Rav Huna and Rav Yehudah. Dean of the Yeshiva at Pumbedita.
  • Rav Zeira (Palestine)
  • Rav Chisda (d. 309), disciple of Rav, Shmuel, and Rav Huna. Dean of the Yeshiva at Sura.
  • Simon (Shimeon) ben Pazzi
  • Rav Sheshes
  • Rav Nachman (d. 320), disciple of Rav, Shmuel, and Rabbah bar Avuha. Did not head his own yeshiva, but was a regular participant in the discussions at the Yeshivot of Sura and Mahuza.
  • Rabbi Abbahu (d. early 4th century), disciple of Rabbi Yochanan. Dean of the Yeshiva in Caesarea.
  • Hamnuna — Several rabbis in the Talmud bore this name, the most well-known being a disciple of Shmuel (fl. late 3rd century).
  • Judah III (d. early 4th century), disciple of Rabbi Johanan bar Nappaha. Son and successor of Gamaliel IV as NASI, and grandson of Judah II.
  • Rabbi Ammi
  • Rabbi Assi
  • Hanina ben Pappa
  • Rabbah bar Rav Huna
  • Rami bar Hama

Fourth generation (approx. 320–350 CE)

  • Abaye (d. 339), disciple of Rabbah, Rav Yosef, and Rav Nachman. Dean of the Yeshiva in Pumbedita.
  • Rava (d. 352), disciple of Rabbah, Rav Yosef, and Rav Nachman, and possibly Rabbi Yochanan. Dean of the Yeshiva at Mahuza.
  • Hillel II (fl. c. 360). Creator of the present-day Hebrew calendar. Son and successor as Nasi of Judah Nesiah, grandson of Gamaliel IV.

Fifth generation (approx. 350–371 CE)

Sixth generation (approx. 371–427 CE)

  • Rav Ashi (d. 427), disciple of Rav Kahana. Dean of the Yeshiva in Mata Mehasia. Primary redactor of the Babylonian Talmud.
  • Ravina I (d. 421), disciple of Abaye and Rava. Colleague of Rav Ashi in the Yeshiva at Mata Mehasia, where he assisted in the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud.

Seventh generation (approx. 425–460 CE)

  • Mar bar Rav Ashi.

Eighth generation (approx. 460–500 CE)

  • Ravina II (d. 475 or 500), disciple of Ravina I and Rav Ashi. Dean of the Yeshiva at Sura. Completed the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud.

Other

The "Stammaim" is a term that has been coined by some modern scholars for the rabbis who submitted anonymous comments on the Talmud, some of whom contributed during the period of the Amoraim, but most who made their contributions after the amoraic period. [1]

References

  1. ^ Gideon Golany Babylonian Jewish neighborhood and home design- 1999 38 "Amoraim (from the Aramaic word amora meaning "spokesman")"
  2. ^ Judith R. Baskin; Kenneth Seeskin (31 July 2010). The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-521-68974-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=QNYdng4YpNgC&pg=PA77. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 

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