Tannaim [Aram. tannā ’ ‘teacher’, ‘scholar’] – Jewish sages, rabbis, who explained and commented on the Hebrew Bible, particularly the Written Law (Torah), adopting its rules to the changing conditions of life; it is assumed that the period of their activity lasted from the year 70 (after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem) to 220; T. were supposed to continue the tradition of explaining and applying the Torah, initiated by Jewish scholars of the so-called Great Assembly (Great Synagogue), existing probably until the beginning of the 2nd century BC; those statements formed a part of the Talmud called Mishnah and the Tosefta and Baraita; the most famous t. are, among others: Yohanan ben Zakkai, Gamaliel II, Akiva ben Joseph (who was the author of the first compilation of the Mishnah), Simeon bar Yochai and i Judah the Prince (the last of the main t., the author of the final compilation of the Mishnah).

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