Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

The Tannaim


Who were the Tannaim in Judaism?

Jerusalem Temple CoinTannaim was a term used for the teachers of the Mishnah. Tannaim (plural of Aramaic tanna, = one who studies or teaches). They were Pharasaic Rabbis or Jewish sages of the period from Hillel to the compilation of the Mishnah. They were considered as both scholars and teachers, educating those in the synagogues as well as in the academies. Their opinions are found either in the Mishnah or as collected in the Tosefta. After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (70 A.D.), Johanan ben Zakkai reconstituted the academy at Jabneh, where the work of the Tannaim flourished. Akiba ben Joseph was among their disciples. The final compilation and redaction of the opinions and rulings of the tannaim was carried out (200 A.D.) under the administration of Judah ha-Nasi, and resulted in the Mishnah, which is accorded canonical status and forms the basis for all later rabbinic discussions. The Tannaim were succeeded by the Amoraim.


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".

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

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
The Dispersion
Preparation for Christ




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