II. THE TANAIM ptcro or TEACHERS OF THE LAW.
i. Name and date of the Tanaim.—The appella tion Tanaim is Aramaic (nm, sing. 'NM, fre quentative of the Chaldee ron = Hebrew MV, to repeat), and literally denotes Repeaters of the La-w,1 or Teachers of the Law. The Hebrew equivalent this class of teachers are denominated voptoStocto- tcaXoL (Luke v. 17 ; Acts v. 34). These teachers of the law are also called the Sages, the Wise (msnmri, o-o0o1), elders (Inpi, rpeo-flUsEpoi, Succa, 46 ; Sab bath, 64), and in later times Rabbanan (P11) = our Teacher, Rabbani (= 'Pappoupt, Mark x. ; John xx. 16), Rabbon, and Rabbi [RABBI]. lt is only rarely that the great doctors of this period are called VIVID, Scribes (comp. Kelim, 13 b). The period of the Tanaim begins with the famous Antigonus of Soho (B. c. 20o), and terminates with Gamaliel III. b. Jehudah I. (A.D. 220), in whose presidency the Sanhedrim, and with it the college, were transferred from Jabne to Tiberias, thus ex tending over 420 years.
ii. The work of the Tanaim.—The labours and tenets of these doctors of the law are of the greatest interest to the Christian student of the N. T., in asmuch as it was in their midst that our Saviour appeared ; and as both Christ and his apostles frequently refer to the teachings, and often employ the very language of the Tanaim. The chief aim of the doctors of the law during this period was- 1. To fix and formularise the views and expositions of their predecessors, the Sopherim, and to pass them as laws. Thus fixed and established, these views were termed Halachoth (n.on) = laws : they are composed in Hebrew and expressed in laconic and often enigmatical formulm. The for mularising of these Halachoth was especially needed, since the successive ascendency of the Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, and Romans, over Palestine greatly influenced the habits and conduct of the Jewish people ; and since the Scribes themselves, as we have seen, did not set forth their opinions as final. The relation which the work of the Ta naim or the vobcoStbdo-Kallot in this department bears to that of the Scribes will be better understood by an example. The Scribes deduced from the words, [Wien thou liest dows and when thou risest up' rin)p) lnDwz, Dent. vi. 7), that it is the duty of every Israelite to repeat both morning and even ing the sections of the law (i.e. Deut. vi. 4-9 ; xi.
13-21) which proclaim the unity of God, without specifying the hours during which the passages are to be recited. Whilst the voimatacio-KaXoc, accepting this deduction of the Scribes as law (r1r1), fixed the time when this declaration about the unity of God is to be made by every Israelite, without mentioning the length of the section to be recited, or that it is a duty to do so, because they founded it upon the interpretation of the Sopherim Wishna Berachoth, 1-5). 2. The Tanaim compiled exe getical rules (rim) to show how these opinions of the Scribes, as well as the expansion of these views by doctors of the law, are to be deduced from the Scriptures. These rules are given in the articles HILI,EL I. and ISHMAEL 13. ELISA in this Cyclo pzedia. The study of the connection between the opinions of the Scribes formularised into .Halachoth and the Bible was called the Illidrash, or exposi tion of the Scriptures p31T1Zil CrIln). 3. They developed the ritual and judicial questions hinted at in the Pentateuch in accordance with the re quirements of the time and the ever-changing cir cumstances of the nation. As the period over which the work of these teachers of the law extended was very long, and as the older doctors of this period expressed their definitions of the Halachoth in extremely concise and sometimes in obscure formulm, many of these Halachoth, like the Scrip tures, needed further elucidation, and became the object of study and discussion among the later Tanainz. These discussions, as well as the differ ent modes of exposition whereby the sundry Hala cholh were connected with the Bible, which reflect the mental characteristics and idiosyncrasies of the particular teachers and schools, were gradually col lected and rubricated, and now constitute the con tents of the Mirhiza, and the commentaries on the Pentateuch entitled Mechiltha, Siphra, and Si/5hr/, a description of which is given in the article MID RASH. For the other work of the most distin guished among these doctors of the law we must refer to the article SANHEDR1M in this Cyclopedia. It must be remembered that this supreme court and chief seat of learning dates from the com mencement of the Tanaim period.