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Zugot ~ The Pairs

Tanaim ~ The Teachers

Amoraim ~ The Sages
Zugot (Hebrew: pairs) refers to the period during the time of the Second Temple (515 BC - 70 AD), in which the spiritual leadership of the Jewish people was in the hands of five successive generations of zugot ('pairs') of religious teachers.   The Tannaim (Hebrew: singular Tanna) were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years. It came after the period of the Zugot  ('pairs'), and was immediately followed by the period of Amoraim. root 'tanna' is Talmudic Aramaic equivalent for Hebrew 'shanah', which also is the root-word of Mishnah. The verb 'shanah' literally means 'to repeat [what one was taught]' and is used here to mean 'to learn'.   Amora (Aramaic: plural Amora'im; 'those who say' or 'those who tell over'), were renowned Jewish scholars who 'said' or 'told over' the teachings of Oral Law, from about 200 to 500 c.e. in Babylonia and the Land of Israel.  Their legal discussions and debates were eventually codified in the Gemara. The Amoraim followed the Tannaim in the sequence of ancient Jewish scholars. The Tannaim were direct transmitters of uncodified oral tradition; the Amoraim expounded upon and clarified the oral law after its initial codification.
Israel   Israel   Babylonia / Israel
Savoraim ~ Babylonian Sages   Gaonim ~ The Geniuses   Rishonim ~ Early Scholars
Savora (Aramaic: plural Savora'im, Sabora'im) is a term used in Jewish law and history to signify the leading rabbis living from the end of period of the Amoraim (around 500 CE) to the beginning of the Gaonim (around 700 CE). As a group they are also referred to as the Rabbeinu Sevorai or Rabannan Saborai, and may have played a large role in giving the Talmud its current structure. Modern scholars also use the term Stammaim (Hebrew = closed, vague or an unattributed source) for the authors of unattributed statements in the Gemara.   Gaonim (Hebrew: also transliterated Geonim) were the presidents of the two great rabbinical colleges of Sura and Pumbedita, in Babylonia, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community world wide in the early medieval era, in contrast to the 'Resh Galuta' (Exilarch) who wielded secular authority over the Jews in Islamic lands. 'Gaonim' is the plural of 'Gaon', which means 'pride' or 'splendour' in Biblical Hebrew and since the 1800's defined as 'genius' in modern Hebrew. As a title of a Babylonian Academy/Yeshiva President it meant something like 'His Excellency.' The Gaonim played a prominent and decisive role in the transmission and teaching of Torah and Jewish law. They taught Talmud and decided on issues on which no ruling had been rendered during the period of the Talmud.   Rishonim (Hebrew: singular Rishon, 'the former ones,') were the leading Rabbis and 'Poskim' (Jewish legal decisors) who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch and following the Gaonim. Rabbinic scholars subsequent to the Shulchan Aruch are known as 'Acharonim  the latter ones'.
Babylonia   Babylonia / Israel   Europe/Middle East/Africa
Acharonim ~ Latter Scholars   Jewish History Sites
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Acharonim (Hebrew: singular Acharon; lit. 'last ones') is a term used in Jewish law and history, to signify the leading rabbis and 'poskim' (Jewish legal decisors) living from roughly the 16th century to the present. The Acharonim follow the Rishonim, the 'first ones' - the Rabbinic scholars between the 11th and the 16th century following the Gaonim and preceding the Shulchan Aruch. The publication of the Shulchan Aruch thus marks the transition from the era of Rishonim to that of Acharonim.   Collection of Jewish History sites & links   Jewish resources, organizations, charities, community
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