Judah ha-Nasi

Judah ha-Nasi
/hah nah see"/
A.D. c135-c210, Jewish rabbi and scholar.
Also, Judah Hanasi. Also called Judah I.

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born AD 135
died с 220

Palestinian Jewish scholar.

A descendant of the great sage Hillel, he was patriarch of the Jewish community in Palestine and head of its Sanhedrin, and he became an important figure in early rabbinic Judaism. He spent over 50 years studying the oral law and is said to have compiled it into six sections divided by subject matter, thus creating the Mishna. His exact role in the Mishna's redaction is not known; other scholars such as Meïr and Akiba ben Joseph were probably also involved.

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▪ Jewish scholar

born AD 135
died c. 220

      one of the last of the tannaim (tanna), the small group of Palestinian masters of the Jewish Oral Law, parts of which he collected as the Mishna (Teaching). The Mishna became the subject of interpretation in the Talmud, the fundamental rabbinic compendium of law, lore, and commentary. Because of his holiness, learning, and eminence, Judah was variously called ha-Nasi (“the prince”), rabbi (“teacher”), rabbenu (“our teacher”), and rabbenu ha-qadosh (“our saintly teacher”). A descendant of the great sage Hillel, Judah succeeded his father, Simeon ben Gamaliel II, as patriarch (head) of the Jewish community in Palestine and, consequently, of the sanhedrin as well, at that time chiefly a legislative body (in earlier times, the Sanhedrin had been primarily a court). As patriarch at Bet Sheʿarim and later at Sepphoris (both located in Galilee, a Palestinian region of historic importance), he maintained a liaison with the Roman authorities and, according to the Talmud, was a friend of one of the Antonine emperors (either Antoninus Pius or Marcus Aurelius), with whom he discussed such philosophic questions as the nature of reward and punishment. When Judah died, he was buried at Bet Sheʿarim.

      Because the Written Law of the Jews (found in the Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses) could not cover all exigencies, over the centuries a body of Oral Law had developed. In order to preserve this tradition, Judah spent some 50 years in Bet Sheʿarim sifting the Oral Law, which he then compiled into six orders dealing with laws related to agriculture, festivals, marriage, civil law, the temple service, and ritual purity. His purpose was not only to preserve a storehouse of tradition and learning but also to decide which statement of Halakhot (laws) was normative. Although he edited the six orders of the Mishna by subject matter, according to the method of two earlier tannaim, Rabbi Akiba and Akiba's pupil Rabbi Meïr, Judah made profound contributions of his own. He determined which rabbinic opinions were authoritative, at the same time carefully preserving minority opinions in case laws should be changed in the future and a precedent for these changes be required. On the other hand, he omitted laws that were obsolete or otherwise lacking in authority. The Mishna became the subject for commentaries by subsequent sages in Palestine and Babylonia called amoraim; (amora) these commentaries became known as the Gemara (Completion), which, along with the Mishna, make up the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds (Talmud and Midrash). (The term Talmud is also used alternatively for the commentaries, instead of Gemara.)

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Judah ha-Nasi — /hah nah see / A.D. c135 c210, Jewish rabbi and scholar. Also, Judah Hanasi. Also called Judah I …   Useful english dictionary

  • Judah ha-Nasi — (fl. c.2nd 3rd cent)    Palestinian communal leader, son of Simeon ben Gamaliel II. He lived most of his life in Galilee, first at Bet Shearim and then at Sepphoris. He was known as Rabbenu ha Kadosh (our holy teacher), and is referred to in… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Judah ha-Nasi — /dʒuda ha naˈsi/ (say joohdah hah nah see) noun AD 135?–220?, rabbi and patriarch of the Palestinian Jewish community, who compiled the Mishnah …  

  • SIMEON BEN JUDAH HA-NASI — (first half of the third century C.E.), the younger son of judah ha nasi . The Talmud tells that Simeon transmitted traditions to such outstanding contemporary scholars as Ḥiyya , levi , bar kappara , although they apparently did not regard… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • JUDAH BAR ILAI — (mid–second century C.E.), tanna. He is the R. Judah mentioned in the Talmud and tannaitic literature without patronymic. Judah came from Usha in Galilee (see Song R. 2:5 n. 2). He studied under his father, who was a pupil of eliezer b. hyrcanus… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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