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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