The Amoraim

Who were the Amoraim in Judaism?

The Amoraim (from Heb. Amar = to interpret), in Judaism were special scholars in the rabbinic schools, predominantly at Caesarea and Tiberias in Palestine (220–375 A.D.) and in Babylonia (200–500 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.