The Tannaim

Who were the Tannaim in Judaism?

Tannaim 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.