Talk:Rabbi Akiva

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Biography vs legend[edit]

The "biography" strikes me as containing a healthy dose of legend. Can someone clarify what is and isn't established historical fact? Josh Cherry 02:48, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

    • My comment was perfectly civil; there's no need to be insulting. Yes, I know what these works are. I know that much of what they contain is legend. The "Biography" section states things as historical fact. Someone reading this would be entitled to believe that, for example he really returned home with twelve thousand disciples, but that would seem to be a legendary embellishment. Josh Cherry 12:12, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I agree. The entire article seems to be made up of legend, which was the reason I clicked on the discussion tab to begin with. Is there an objective biography of him available? :) --User:Jenmoa 19:02, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

He is not attested to outside of Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud. Much like Jesus, who is not attested to outside of the New Testament, and who has even more fantastic claims made about him. Jayjg (talk) 19:45, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Jayjg would have had a point if the article on Jesus had been a simple summary of the four gospels. However, that article has a section discussing the historicity of Jesus as well as links to articles discussing different viewpoints. On a side note there is also quite a debate whether Jesus is attested outside the NT, in other "gospels", as well as in the writings of Josephus and some Roman historians. The NPOV version of this article should at least use words like "according to the Talmud".--itpastorn 15:09, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Blast! The very statement that "what they contain is legend" is POV. This article is obviously "according to the Talmud". What did you think? According to the awen gilayon (gospel)? hasofer 00:40, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Josh. The "biography" part of this article is a naive retelling of the talmudic sources with no hint to a text-critical or scholarly approach. I don't have the time to rewrite it in a way worthy of an encyclopedia but I wish somebody did. The way the text reads now, it's fit only for a cheder textbook.

I have to agree with those who are very skeptical of this article. Take the following passage for example:

"It was at dawn of the Jewish Day of Atonement when the burnt offering that day was to be the great Rebbi Akiva, the wise and considerate teacher and father of his people. He had attained the same age as Moses, one hundred twenty, yet his body was still powerful, his eyes undimmed and his spirit unbroken. They tied him to a stake, and the Roman torturers tore lumps of living flesh from him with red hot pincers. But no cry of pain escaped him. As the sun rose in the East, Rebbi Akiva put his hand over his eyes and cried out with a loud voice: 'Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One. Blessed be His Name for ever and ever. And thou shalt love the Lord thy G-d with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might.'"

The following heroic exagerations are noted:

great, wise, considerate; 120...and still powerful; undimmed, unbroken; and tied...[yet his hands are placed over his eyes and with lumps of flesh missing no less]....

This sort of article is exactly that which leads people to question the validity of Wikipedia. Comic book writers need not apply. Maybe Wikipedia should be divided into a serious side and a non-serious side. Articles that remain silly should be relegated to the non-serious side until improved. Then they could be transfered to the serious side and locked with further commentary pending reasonable inspection. I like Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is too good a resource to allow it to be tainted by fiction writers.

I strongly agree with those objecting to legendary material as present. It is not enough that the sources are cited, most people don't know enough to determine the authority of these early rabbinical sources. However I see no reason to merge. The article should make clear that the character is shrouded in legend, and the biographical details are stories. In short, it needs to be rewritten to look more like the article on Jesus. There just isn't enough that's known reliably about the historical Akiba to do it any other way. He is primarily a literary character. (talk) 05:35, 13 February 2009 (UTC)


I have redirect the the article `Aqiba ben Joseph to here. The aticle said:

`Aqiba ben Joseph (c. 50-132) was a Jewish Palestinian rabbi, of the circle known as tana. It is almost impossible to separate the true from the false in the numerous traditions respecting his life. He became the chief teacher in the rabbinical school of Jaffa, where, it is said, he had 24,000 scholars. Whatever their number, it seems certain that among them was the celebrated Rabbi Meir, and that through him and others `Aqiba exerted a great influence on the development of the doctrines embodied in the Mishnah. He sided with Simon bar Kokhba in the last Jewish revolt against Rome, recognized him as the Messiah, and acted as his sword-bearer. Being taken prisoner by the Romans under Sextus Julius Severus, he was flayed alive with circumstances of great cruelty, and met his fate, according to tradition, with marvellous steadfastness and composure. He is said by some to have been a hundred and twenty years old at the time of his death. He is one of the ten Jewish martyrs whose names occur in a penitential prayer still used in the synagogue service. `Aqiba was among the first to systematize the Jewish tradition, and he paved the way for the compilation of the Mishnah. From his school emanated the Greek translation of the scriptures by Aquila of Sinope.


[[Category:50 births|ben Joseph, 'Aquiba]] [[Category:132 deaths|ben Joseph, 'Aquiba]]

If you see anything that should be added here, please do so. Jon513 21:37, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


I've added a cleanup notice to the article, as the biographical section does not attempt to sort hagiography from history. I know of the limitations of historical sources on Akiva, but at least an attempt should be made to summarize uncontroversial points in a historical section before embarking on the lengendary stuff from the Talmud. Taragüí @ 07:16, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Taragui: So far, what was cited are not "legends" -- legends would imply "tall tales", whereas classical Judaism regards these as the the truth, or do you wish to dispute that? IZAK 08:40, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
A legend is something that may be regarded as true, but lacks convincing historical evidence to support it. Almost everything in this article falls into this category. While Orthodox Judaism may adhere to it, there is no evidence that it actually happened. Think of, say, Greek myths about their gods or Aztec ones; ancient Greeks and Aztecs regarded them as true, which is not to say we should take them at face value.
Please do not single-handedly remove a cleanup notice without settling the issue with the tagger; it may be construed as vandalism, specially when you have already tried to push your own POV as regards this article many times. Taragüí @ 17:35, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
The only relevant difference is that ancient Greeks and Aztecs don't publish their opinions in contemporary publications in a way that meets WP:V and WP:RS. If they did, Wikipedia would be as obligated under WP:NPOV to report their current religious views when discussing subjects relevant to them as it is to report living religious views when discussing issues relevant to living religions. The WP:NPOV policy discusses how to address the issue, noting that one can resolve conflicting points of view by putting the different perspectives in different sections in a way that makes it clear who is saying what without endorsing any view. Thus, one could have a section called something like "Rabbi Akiva in the Talmud" describing how Rabbi Akiva is depicted in the Talmud without Wikipedia taking an opinion on whether what the Talmud says is true or not, and another section entitled something like "Rabbi Akiva and the History of Ancient Judaea" describing how Rabbi Akiva is depicted in the writings of various academic historians -- and without taking an opinon on whether what academic historians say is true or not. All the content involved is encyclopedic and appropriate, and it would be appropriate to describe the Talmudic writings using the term Aggadah. Best, --Shirahadasha 03:27, 16 January 2007 (UTC)


I am going to try to fix some of the issues with this article. Let me take a crack at it, and then we'll see. —Dfass 02:20, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm done with it now. I merged a large amount of material from the Jewish Encyclopedia article with the existing material here. I moved some of the more "legendary" content to a section of legends at the end (as per JE), but kept some of it up front as well. I hope this will satisfy everyone, but I know it won't, so fire away. I will now return to editing more obscure articles that no one cares about. Thanks. —Dfass 19:40, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

On his view of the Messiah[edit]

The article contains this:

His doctrine concerning the Jewish Messiah was the realistic and thoroughly Jewish one, as his declaration that Bar Kokba was the Messiah shows. He accordingly limited the Messianic age to forty years, as being within the scope of a man's life—similar to the reigns of David and Solomon—against the usual conception of a millennium (Midr. Teh. xc. 15). A distinction is, however, to be made between the Messianic age and the future world (עולם הבא). This latter will come after the destruction of this world, lasting for 1,000 years (R. H. 31a). To the future world all Israel will be admitted, with the exception of the generation of the Wilderness and the Ten Tribes (Sanh. xi. 3, 110b). But even this future world is painted by Akiba in colors selected by his nationalist inclinations, for he makes Messiah (whom, according to Ezek. xxxvii. 24, he identifies with King David) the judge of all the heathen world (Ḥag. 14a).

Could someone explain the first sentence to me and why it is valid to be in this article? The implication seems to me to be that Akiva was 100% correct in interpreting the Hebrew Bible's references to the coming Messiah. At the same time, though, it uses Akiva's embracement of a false Messiah as the actual Messiah as evidence that his views were 100% Jewish and therefore correct. This doesn't seem to make sense to me at all, unless the writer of this seems to think that choosing a false Messiah is Jewish (which I don't think was the intention whatsoever). Surely Akiva's declaration of Bar Kokba as Messiah was wrong, and not perfectly in line with the Hebrew Bible. Clarification welcome. -- DavidC99 (talk) 19:34, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

It's largely from the Jewish Encyclopedia article subsection "The Messianic Age and the Future World:

"His doctrine concerning the Messiah was the realistic and thoroughly Jewish one, as his declaration that Bar Kokba was the Messiah shows. He accordingly limited the Messianic age to forty years, as being within the scope of a man's life—similar to the reigns of David and Solomon—against the usual conception of a millennium (Midr. Teh. xc. 15). A distinction is, however, to be made between the Messianic age and the future world (). This latter will come after the destruction of this world, lasting for 1,000 years (R. H. 31a). To the future world all Israel will be admitted, with the exception of the generation of the Wilderness and the Ten Tribes (Sanh. xi. 3, 110b). But even this future world is painted by Akiba in colors selected by his nationalist inclinations; for he makes Messiah (whom, according to Ezek. xxxvii. 24, he identifies with David) the judge of all the heathen world (Ḥag. 14a)." (talk) 19:05, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Jewish Encyclopedia[edit]

Is the Jewish Encyclopedia old enough to be public domain? Large sections of the article match word-for-word with the JE article. That would seem a bit on the plagiarism side of things unless it is public domain and then simply citing the source would be sufficient.

Does anyone have the copyright information on the JE?

Theolog (talk) 15:18, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it's PD. Published 1901-06; so before 1923. Jheald (talk) 22:51, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Contested statements removed[edit]

  • A rule was later established: "whenever Rabbi Akiva disputes a single sage, the halakhic ruling follows him, but not so when he disputes more than one sage."{{Fact|date=January 2007}}
  • The Roman judge who condemned him sentenced him to a punishment that was unusually severe even by Roman standards: flaying alive. {{Fact|date=September 2007}}
  • Participation in a rebellion would be a more serious threat to Roman rule than merely teaching a deviant religion—even one that questions the validity of worshipping the Emperor as a god. {{Fact|date=September 2007}}
  • [Rachel answers] "The greater, the higher a man's task is, the more he must endure, the more he must fight and suffer. An ordinary simple man who doesn't bother about anything usually lives a quiet an undisturbed life. The man who wants to do something, who is concerned with the general welfare has troubles and worries. When G-d elevated Israel and chose us from all the nations, He placed us in the midst of every conflict. Wherever something great is being fought for, Israel must be there. Few peoples rise above the others, to put their foot on the neck of the nations. The various generations come up, grow, flourish and disappear. Israel must play its part in all of them. Of course, that involves suffering and sorrow. Sometimes we are hurled down to earth, and the ploughs are drawn across our backs and we are marked by long furrows. But G-d has always raised us up again. He has never punished us as He has punished those who torment us. He has never doomed us to die like those nations who oppress us. If we must suffer more than other peoples, G-d has also given us the strength to bear our troubles; to endure." {{Fact|date=January 2007}}
  • According to the Talmud{{Fact|date=January 2007}}, [Hyrcanus was a neighbor of Joseph, the father of Akiva]

Please do not return this information to the article without a citation.--BirgitteSB 00:17, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

It's probably all from the Jewish Encyclopedia article. (talk) 19:09, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was move to Akiva ben Joseph. Jafeluv (talk) 15:56, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Akiba ben JosephAkiva ben Joseph — more correct transliteration - -shirulashem(talk) 23:49, 23 July 2009 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.


Any additional comments:

Why is this article name "Akiba"? The text uses "Akiva" mostly, and as far as I know that is more correct. Debresser (talk) 17:56, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Using a "b" for a ב is common. It's usually in more scholarly work. It happens a lot. My guess is that it's done to differentiate between ב and ו. Kind of like how ת is often transliterated into English as "th" (i.e., בית = "Beth") to differentiate between ת and ט. Just a guess. -shirulashem(talk) 17:24, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
My guess it that it is the work of people who don't know what they are talking about. Referring to those same scholars (as opposed to talmidei chachamim). Just a guess. No joke. Debresser (talk) 17:27, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Nah, I don't think that's necessarily true. Do a Google search on "rabbi akiba" and you'll see a lot of JEWISH sources spell it with a B. -shirulashem(talk) 17:52, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Won't contest that. The question is where they got their spelling from. Everything has a reason. Debresser (talk) 17:56, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
If you're interested, which I am now, take a look here. -shirulashem(talk) 18:17, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
That doesn't take into account the dagesh and rafe, so is not relevant to our discussion. Perhaps dagesh is a better place to look. Debresser (talk) 18:46, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
That's kind of my point. This method of translation disregards the dagesh. Take a look at page 5 here, where it says the latin character for בּ and ב is "B", and then note 1 on the bottom where it explicitly states, "The same conversion applies also to this character when used with the Hebrew Dagesh (05BC)." Now of course in today's Yiddishe velt people would give you a strange look if you said "Akiba" but that doesn't mean that it isn't acceptable for it to be used other places. -shirulashem(talk) 19:39, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem with some ISO-standards mistakingly rending a "b", but according to Wikipedia guidelines we should stick to what is 1. correct and 2. widely know to the English reader. And we should be 3. consistent (at least within each article, and preferrably in the whole of Wikipedia). Debresser (talk) 19:56, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

I never said I don't agree it should be "V" ... I merely said that it's not totally wrong to use a "B". :D -shirulashem(talk) 19:59, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


I was tagging some books of Joseph Opatoshu (different revisions and translations). There is an article Bar Kokhba revolt. This article is using different other variants Relationship with Bar Kochba, Bar Kokba revolt maybe some others. Regards ‫·‏לערי ריינהארט‏·‏T‏·‏m‏:‏Th‏·‏T‏·‏email me‏·‏‬ 17:56, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Akiva and Calvinism[edit]

I've tagged a clause as being rather dubious due to being anachronistic:

Akiba insists emphatically that next to the transcendental nature of God, there is no limitation in the freedom of the human will. This insistence is in opposition to the Christian doctrine of the sinfulness and depravity of man, and apparently controverts his view of divine predestination.

This clearly is alluding to Calvinism, a Christian theology that is not known to have existed in the first century, or even the first millennium. As such, Rabbi Akiva could not possibly have been opposing it during his life time, which is what this section seems to imply. -- Kendrick7talk 18:45, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

The section goes on to retrofit additional late medieval Christian theology, perhaps more Luther than Calvin, as if it were current in Akiva's life time. Is there a source for any of this? Of course, certain theologians are wont to pretend their teachings are merely restorations of the teachings of their religion's original founders, but such claims don't belong in Wikipedia without sourcing. -- Kendrick7talk
The clause is from the Jewish Encyclopedia article (although the wording was changed). It was removed by Gilabrand (talk · contribs) (14:35, 6/Jan/13) with the edit summary: “tagged since 2011”. -- -- -- 21:04, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

'Rabbinical' Judaism[edit]

I previously removed the sentence re: founded rabbinical Judaism. Rabbinical Judaism was not 'founded' by a person. The original Judaism is orthodox Judaism, which is synonymous with what you have called rabbinical Judaism. Since the inception of Judaism as a religion (which was formally at Mt Sinai, when the Jews received the Torah), what you have deemed rabbinical Judaism has always been the case. Both the Oral Torah and the Written Torah were given at Mt Sinai (according to Judaism), and the fact that this was only written centuries later does not mean that it was established centuries later. Rabbi's existed from the time of Mt Sinai (Moses as the 'head' rabbi of sorts), with the 70 elders also being rabbis, and their methods and authority having been established at Mt Sinai. Read the Torah before make claims to the contrary. Karaite Judaism (which exists minimally today) was an offshoot of Judaism back then just like Reform and Conservative Judaism are today. They do not represent Authentic Torah Judaism at all, and thus while they need to be distinguished as Karaite, Reform or Conservative Judaism - Judaism itself does not need to be distinguished as rabbinical Judaism, but rather only out of necessity as orthodox Judaism in order to distinguish it from the offshoots of Judaism.

The term rabbinical Judaism is offensive on a number of levels, and to posit that it was ever founded at any time other than at Mt Sinai is contrary to Jewish belief and what is found in the Torah itself. The article on rabbinical Judaism should thus also be deleted and any relevant and true information inserted into the article of orthodox Judaism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

POV edits[edit]

Regarding the IP adding lines like

As he recognised Bar Kokba as another Messiah so he was directly responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem and causing its inhabitants to be sold as slaves in Egypt.

This fails some policies of Wikipedia (below).

  • "Bar Kokba as another Messiah". Another to what? the Jewish Messaiah to come, Jesus, the rebels of the First Jewish Roman War? All these links show that you consider the view of BK as Messiah in comparison to some, better, worse or equally bad, messianic views. We cannot express those positions but only what academics make of the historical phenomenon of BK messianism and its context.
  • "he was directly responsible". That's an accusation. we can report the results of the revolt but not decide who shares what part of the blame. We also don't have very good reports on the dynamics with the BK camp, but probably some theories can be found (please do).
  • "for the destruction of Jerusalem". There is an ongoing disagreement between historians about whether the destruction of J was actually a result of the revolt. the fact you sidestep that discussion or not aware of it show too you write from a religious or ideological viewpoint. Because it is a little complicated, it is best left the articles about the revolt and about Aelia Capitolina, and not the connected biographies.
  • "causing its inhabitants". Again, keeping the focus on Jerusalem ignore whatever details we have of who and where participated in the revolt (even from the Talmud I think).
  • "to be sold as slaves in Egypt." That's completely off the conduct of wikipedia and the historical understanding. Egypt was no side here. There is no direct indication to that consequence. Slave went out the land in the previous war and probably on other occasions. Incidentally, you don't seem to be aware of the prominent opinion that there no enslavement in Egypt as told in the bible.

Finding or writing up historical ironies is not our business here. these overarching stories end up as minefields and it's not a good idea to treat all attachable topics on the articles on persons with some significance and documentation within Rabbinic Judaism, when much wider areas should be assessed. This is one of the problems of what we call Giving unde weight.

What you wrote clearly a peace of Original Research, which is what wikipedia tries to avoid. At that, it is at best the result of Synthesis of published material, also sanctioned on Wikipedia. At worst it is a Fringe theory, which seems most the case as you don't indicate the use of any Reliable Source. Its religious or ideological flavor goes against Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.

When a conflict like here arises, users are expected to use this talk page to decide on a solution. If you respond to this message that would be a good second chapter in your efforts. If you revert the article back to your version without response, I will request page protection. trespassers william (talk) 16:12, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Semi protection requested. trespassers william (talk) 22:35, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
@MusikAnimal: , you declined semi protection [1]. How do you suggest effectively contacting , , , , , , , , , who together made about 23 similar edits without responding to objections? trespassers william (talk) 13:04, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

RFC: Page rename[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: move over redirect to rename. — Maile (talk) 12:21, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Why isn't this page called Rabbi Akiva? This is how he is most commonly known and cited in the Talmud. Rabbi Akiva gets 428,000 ghits, Akiva ben Joseph 249,000 ghits. Akiva ben Joseph is also a weird combination of Hebrew and English. We have Rabbi Tarfon, why not Rabbi Akiva? Yoninah (talk) 00:16, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

  • Support--Geewhiz (talk) 05:32, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per most common name. Debresser (talk) 14:24, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Support - This should be a WP:RM not RfC but regardless, per WP:COMMONNAME I support changing page name to Rabbi Akiva. Meatsgains (talk) 18:12, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I thought I should get consensus before requesting the move. Yoninah (talk) 18:22, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


I do apologize for wandering into an area in which I have little familiarity and certainly not the expertise to properly remedy this, which is why I have posted here. I noticed an edit to this page; upon comparing the diffs, noted that the old version leveled an accusation against the Septuagint, "the errors and inaccuracies in which frequently distorted the true meaning of Scripture", and put quotation marks around "proofs" to imply to the reader that Christian defenses based on the Septuagint were invalid. The new edit responded to this by providing a defense of the Septuagint and by equivocating on how Christians were using it. The diff in question. Neither is necessary (and I noticed the apparent lack of citation for Akiva actually accusing the Septuagint of such, which is why I removed both assertions). It is sufficient to provide phrasing e.g. "Akiva was motivated by a belief that Christian defenses based on the Apocrypha were invalid due to the presence of errors and distortions in the text" or "Akiva believed the Septuagint to contain errors and inaccuracies which distorted the true meaning of Scripture" rather than having Wikipedia itself assert such a statement as fact. It is of course necessary to also provide citations to show that this was indeed Akiva's opinion.

The article itself seems to have a bit of an issue with tone, e.g. WP:PEACOCK for describing Aquila as a "devoted talmid" or "a man after Akiva's own heart" - I've substituted "disciple of Akiva", but please correct if a different term should be used. Also there seems to be some WP:POV issues, e.g. I'm not sure what to make of the modesty section. IMHO, It is perfectly valid (and desired!) to explain Akiva's point of view, but not to present it in first-person here as fact -- I hope that distinction is clear. Anyway, I made a small attempt (more of a hackjob, really) to remedy this in that specific section, but this article as a whole deserves a lot more work than I am able to give it. Please forgive and correct any blatant errors on my part. Thank you,

-- Joren (talk) 20:13, 18 July 2016 (UTC)