Land of Israel and Jewish heritage – 38

Land of Israel and Jewish heritage

A series from the book written by Naveed Anjum

Jewish Life in the Land of Canaan, cont’d

The Promised Land, cont’d

Late Roman period

In this late Roman period, the Tannaim and Amoraim were active and dominant. They were rabbis who organized and debated the Jewish oral traditions and declared them law. The Tannaim and Amoraim were two related but distinctly and chronologically different groups. The Amoraim came after the Tannaim and debated the earlier group’s codified oral traditions. Teachings of the Tannaim are contained in the Mishnah, Beraita, Tosefta, and various Midrash compilations. In addition to the writings of the Tannaim, the later commentaries of the Amoraim were also compiled into the Jerusalem Talmud, which was completed around 400 CE. It was most likely completed in Tiberius.

First were the Tannaim, which, in Hebrew, is the plural תנאים [tanaˈim] of the singular תנא [taˈna]. Tanna means “studies,” “repeats,” or “teaches,” which, through use, becomes “studied,” “repeated,” and “taught.” The Tannaim era, also called the Mishnaic period, lasted about 210 years. Tannaim were rabbinic sages during the period of approximately 10-220 CE. The first Tannaim were disciples of Shammai and Hillel, fl. c.30 BCE–10 CE, and the last Tannaim were contemporaries of Judah ha-Nasi I. The Tannaim were direct transmitters and teachers of the previously uncodified oral tradition. They codified (wrote down) the oral traditions that they taught. Judah ha-Nasi I is reported to have redacted (compiled) their works into one document: The Mishnah.

(To be continued…)


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