Amoraim


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Amoraim

(ä`mōrä`ĭm) [Heb. amar=to interpret], in Judaism, term referring to those scholars, predominantly at Caesarea and Tiberias in Palestine (c.A.D. 220–c.A.D. 375) and in Babylonia (c.A.D. 200–c.A.D. 500), who interpreted the MishnaMishna
, in Judaism, codified collection of Oral Law—legal interpretations of portions of the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and other legal material. Together with the Gemara, or Amoraic commentary on the Mishna, it comprises the Talmud.
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 and other Tannaitic collections (see TalmudTalmud
[Aramaic from Heb.,=learning], in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries, in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere.
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). Serving as judges, communal administrators, teachers, and collectors of charity, they were responsive to contemporary problems. Working to supersede the Temple cult, they helped establish the ideal that all Jews should devote themselves to study of the Torah. Their discussions constitute the section of the Talmud known as the Gemara. In addition, they were responsible for much of the nonlegal or aggadic material that appears in the Talmud and in the Midrashim (see MidrashMidrash
[Heb.,=to examine, to investigate], verse by verse interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures, consisting of homily and exegesis, by Jewish teachers since about 400 B.C.
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).

Bibliography

See J. Neusner, There We Sat Down (1972); H. L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1931, rev. ed. 1991).

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As we will see, though amoraim exert an extraordinary scrupulousness in their attention to what we have seen Gadamer refer to as "the meaning" of the text (or what we might refer to more prosaically and controversially as what the tanna actually intended), the constructions of tannaitic sources vary widely and radically.
From another perspective, however, we might suggest that the two amoraim are really arguing about the relative importance of individual intentions in the context of the prohibition of squeezing on Shabbat.
As both Rav Nachman and Rava are amoraim, and neither of their readings will openly contradict the authoritative tannaitic sources, then their disagreement is characterized as a machloket of which we say, "These and these are the words of the living God" (16) Both positions are legitimate; both have efficacy; both remain faithful--in their difference--to the dictates of the law.
Since, as suggested at the outset, the relationship between rishonim and amoraim parallels the relationship between amoraim and tannaim, we Hill not be surprised to discover that the medieval commentators themselves construct different versions of the Talmud.
It should be clear then that just as the amoraic arguments produce different versions of tannaitic statements (Brava and Bnachman), so the arguments of rishonim necessarily constitute different versions of amoraim.
Our texts, in fact, are multiplying in front of our eyes: we thus not only have, in the renderings of Rashi and Rashba, two versions of the debate between our amoraim (Rava and Rav Nachman), but we have now four versions of our original tannaitic source: [rashi.
31) The amoraim (later tradents), as we noted earlier, located biblical "supports" for the rabbinic laws; reading-in was pursued less actively but was permissible as long as it did not violate the literary context of a given biblical text (Halivni's gloss on eyn mikra yotse midepeshuto).
that it was probably some time during the period of the Amoraim (Talmudic sages between the 3rd and 6th centuries, C.
This mystical-magical literature was a product of the Babylonian Amoraim, the sages that followed the Tannaim, between the 3rd and 6th Centurics, C.