Amoraim

Amoraim (Aramaic: plural אמוראיםʔamoraˈʔim, singular Amora אמוראʔamoˈʁa or Amoray; "those who say" or "those who speak over the people", or "spokesmen")[1] refers to Jewish scholars of the period from about 200 to 500 CE, who "said" or "told over" the teachings of the Oral Torah. They were primarily located 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.

The first Babylonian Amoraim were Abba Arika, respectfully referred to as Rav, and his contemporary and frequent debate partner, Shmuel. Among the earliest Amoraim in Israel were Johanan bar Nappaha and Shimon ben Lakish. Traditionally, the Amoraic period is reckoned as seven or eight generations (depending on where one begins and ends). The last Amoraim are generally considered to be Ravina I and Rav Ashi, and Ravina II, nephew of Ravina I, who codified the Babylonian Talmud around 500 CE. In total, 761 amoraim are mentioned by name in the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. 367 of them were active in the land of Israel from around 200-350 CE, while the other 394 lived in Babylonia during 200-500 CE.[2]

In the Talmud itself, the singular amora generally refers to a lecturer's assistant; the lecturer would state his thoughts briefly, and the amora would then repeat them aloud for the public's benefit, adding translation and clarification where needed.

The following is an abbreviated listing of the most prominent of the (hundreds of) Amoraim mentioned in the Talmud. More complete listings may be provided by some of the external links below. See also List of rabbis.

The Stammaim is a term used by some modern scholars, such as David Weiss Halivni, for the rabbis who composed the anonymous (stam) statements and arguments in the Talmud, some of whom may have worked during the period of the Amoraim, but who mostly made their contributions after the amoraic period.[3] See also Savoraim.