Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

The Amoraim

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Who were the Amoraim in Judaism?

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe Amoraim (from Heb. Amar = to interpret), in Judaism were special scholars in the rabbinic schools, predominantly at Caesarea and Tiberias in Palestine (220375 A.D.) and in Babylonia (200500 A.D.), designated to interpret, explain, discuss, and harmonize the oral teachings (Mishna and other Tannaitic collections) with the Biblical text. They were active from the 3rd to 5th centuries A.D. and were largely responsible for the composition of the Talmud.

The Amoraim served as judges, communal administrators, teachers, and collectors of charity, they were quick to respond to contemporary problems. They also worked to replace the Temple order, and 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 non-legal or haggadic material that appears in the Talmud and in the Midrashim.

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Jewish Literature

Esther Scroll

John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."

Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D. the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D. were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around 200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by "expositors".

Introduction
Brief Historical Background

The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocrypha
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Mishnah
The Gemara
The Halakah
The Haggadah
The Midrash
The Zugoth
The Tannaim
The Amoraim
The Tosefta
The Baraitha
The Talmud
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud

The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart
Glossary
Timeline

Historical Timeline

The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
The Greek Period 331-167 B.C.
The Period of Independence 167-63 B.C.
The Roman Period 63 B.C. to the time of Christ
The Old Testament Canon
The Apocrypha
Other Writings
The Septuagint
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Targums
The Talmud
The Great Synagogue
The Sanhedrin
Synagogues
The Dispersion
Pharisees
Sadducees
Scribes
Preparation for Christ

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