Amoraim

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Acharonim Rishonim Geonim Savoraim Tannaim Zugot

Rabbinical Eras

Amoraim (Aramaic: plural אמוראים [ʔamoʁaˈʔim], singular Amora אמורא [ʔamoˈʁa]; "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 Torah, 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.

The Amoraic era[edit]

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 Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. 367 of them were active in the land of Israel 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[edit]

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)[edit]

Second generation (approx. 250–290 CE)[edit]

Tomb of the Amoraim in Tiberias

Third generation (approx. 290–320 CE)[edit]

Fourth generation (approx. 320–350 CE)[edit]

  • 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.
  • Abba the Surgeon

Fifth generation (approx. 350–371 CE)[edit]

Sixth generation (approx. 371–427 CE)[edit]

  • 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)[edit]

Eighth generation (approx. 460–500 CE)[edit]

  • 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.

Stammaim[edit]

The "Stammaim" is a term that has been coined by some modern scholars, such as Halivni, for the rabbis who composed the anonymous (stam) statements and arguments in the Talmud, some of whom may have worked during the period of the Amoraim, but who mostly made their contributions after the amoraic period.[3] See also Savoraim.

References[edit]

  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. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  3. ^ David Guttmann (2006-03-21). "Believing is Knowing: Professor Halivni and the Sealing of the Gemara - a new chronology". Yediah.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 

External links[edit]