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Was the council of Elders under Judaean kings a Synedrion?[edit]

The article treats Sanhedrin and Synhdrion as if the two were interchangable. But while Jewish tradition uses the term Sanhedrin for councils of elders under Kings of the Hebrew Bible -- indeed, going back all the way to Moses -- is there any evidence that the Seleucid term Synedrion as a form of government applied before Seleucid influence existed? This would seem a little bit like saying, under the article Republic that the United States first had a federal form of government of that type since settling of Plymouth in the 17th century. Applying a government-type label to events that occurred before the term came into being seems anachronistic and questionable. --Shirahadasha 04:13, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

The article text appears to be highly POV in its current state. It appears to amass only sources who claim that the Sanhedran was constituted and behaved in a manner similar to that of the synhedria of other Greek states. Not only does it dismiss ancient accounts of a different origin as the "habit of the chronicler" without presenting it as a legitimate POV, it flatly ignores evidence that the Sanhedrin was filled with, and was something of a refuge of, members who opposed hellenization and hellenic forms of government. --Shirahadasha 22:30, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

According to Josephus the Sanhedrin was established by Helenistic elements. Josephus and the New Testament claim that the Sanhedrin was controlled by the Sadducees who sympathized with Rome. Josephus claims this control lasted from the time of Yohanan Hyrcanus until the the Roman procurators, except for a brief period under Salome Alexandra (Shlomzion, widow of Alexander Yannai and benefactor of Shimon ben Shetach). He also claims that the Hellenists, became the Sadducees, and later became the nationalist Zealots (don't ask me to explain that one). This account differs so widely with traditional Jewish teaching that some have theorized that there were two Sanhedrins (do a search on "two Sanhedrins" in google). Both historians and traditionalist agree that starting with Yohanan ben Zakkai that Rabbinic Judaism received the exclusive sanction of Imperial Rome and all other forms of Judaism - Sadducean, Christian, Samaritan - were declared illegal. It was only then that it is certain the Sanhedrin was 100% Rabbinic, and thus as you say a "filled with...members who opposed hellenization and hellenic forms of government", before that time the history is unclear, or to be more precise, there is no historiographical evidence outside of Rabbinic literature to support it. --Historian2 10:31, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I notice you tagged that section with {{totally disputed|section}}. Please note that the same exact section appears in Sanhedrin. Are you disputing the neutrality and factual accuracy of the Encyclopædia Britannica? thats cool :-) --Historian2 10:48, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Its neutrality is indeed problematic. Consider, for example, this passage (one of a number of problematic ones):
"The Jewish tradition which regards the synedrium as entirely composed of rabbins sitting under the presidency and See also: VICE vice-presidency of a pair of chief doctors, the See also: NASI, JOSEPH (16th century) nasi and ab beth din, is inconsistent with the See also: EVIDENCE (Lat. evidentia, evideri, to appear clearly) evidence of Josephus and the New Testament."
Note how sources get vouched for: what the Talmud says is labeled a "tradition", while what the New Testament says is labeled "evidence". The use of terms like "rabbins" and "doctors" also seems anachronistic. I imagine the incorrect link to Joseph Nasi was added after the fact. --Shirahadasha 21:24, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Thats cool. I changed this page Synedrion. Is it ok now? We also need to deal with the original Encyclopædia Britannica on Sanhedrin. Perhaps we should discuss it on that talk page.
But this does bring up an interesting question about wikipedia: if the majority culture considers consensus of historiographic records from unrelated sources as "fact" or "evidence", and unconfirmed and unique records from a single source as "tradition", don't we have to follow in that paradigm? Alternatively, it might be possible to give equal weight to all significant opinions, but that is sort of like equating the scholarly work in evolution with the pseudo-science of creationalism. I agree that we must delete unnecessary POV terminology, but isn't there a limit to how NPOV you can go? I assume wikipedia, like any encyclopedia, falls within the POV of an modern, academic/scholarly audience. What your thoughts? --Historian2 07:20, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Concerns with the original 1911 Brittanica text were as much about tone as anything else. The article seemed to favor Christian religious sources over Jewish ones, to use words to describe Jewish sources that today have pejorative connotations (like rabbins), and seemed to vouch for particular sources in a way we would now consider less than fully encyclopedic. The article has been summarized so that these issues have been removed. As to audience, Wikipedia is for a general audience, not specifically an academic audience. Academic jargon needs to be explained (so, for that matter, does religious and other kinds of jargon). Words that have a specialized academic meaning and also a general-language meaning need to be treated with care, the audience should not be assumed to understand the specialized meaning is intended. And so forth. --Shirahadasha 20:40, 9 October 2006 (UTC)


Wouldn't the plural be synedria, as in criteria, phenomena, rhododendra, etc.? --Shirahadasha 20:29, 9 October 2006 (UTC)