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"Savora" (Aramaic: סבורא, plural "Savora'im", "Sabora'im", סבוראים) 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 "Geonim" (around 700 CE). As a group they are also referred to as the Rabbeinu Sevorai or Rabanan 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.

Role in form of the Talmud

Much of classical rabbinic literature generally holds that the Babylonian Talmud was redacted into more or less its final form around 550 CE. [Oesterley, W. O. E. & Box, G. H. (1920) "A Short Survey of the Literature of Rabbinical and Mediæval Judaism", Burt Franklin:New York.] However, some statements within classical rabbinic literature, and later analysis thereof, have led many scholars to conclude that the Babylonian Talmud was smoothed over by the "Savora'im", although almost nothing was changed. ["Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah: Contributions and Limitations" Shalom Carmy, Ed. The Orthodox Forum Series, Jason Aronson, Inc.] Occasionally, multiple versions of the same legalistic discussion are included with minor variations. The text also states that various opinions emanated from various Talmudic academies.Berkovits E., "Savora'im". In: "Encyclopedia Judaica" (first edition) Keter Publishing, 1972] .

Sherira Gaon indicates that Rav Yose was the final member of the "Savora'im". Occasionally, specific "Savora'im" are mentioned by name in the Talmud itself, such as Rabbi Aha, who (according to later authority Rashbam) was a "Savora".

View of David Weiss Halivni

The role of the "Savoraim" in the redaction of the Talmud was reexamined in Jewish academia because of the work of formerly Conservative and subsequently Traditional Professor Rabbi David Weiss Halivni, author of "Mekorot u'Mesorot", a projected ten volume source-critical commentary on the Talmud.

Halivni terms the editors of the Talmud as "Stamma'im", a new term for rabbis that he places after the period of the "Tannaim" and "Amora'im", but before the Geonic period. He concludes that to a large extent, the "Stamma'im" essentially wrote the Gemara (the discussions in the Talmud about the Mishna). Halivni posits that during the time of Ravina and Rav Ashi, they compiled a Gemara that was much smaller than the Gemara known today, and which likely was similar to the Mishna and to the Tosefta. He sees this proto-Gemara as a compilation of rulings that probably had little record of discussions. Halivni also posits that the "Stamma'im" did not always fully understand the context and import of the statement of the "Tanna" or "Amora" when it was said. The methodology employed in his commentary, "Mekorot u' Mesorot", will attempt to give Halivni's analysis of the correct import and context and will demonstrate how the Talmud erred in its understanding of the original context. [David Weiss Halivni "Peshat and Drash: Plain and Applied Meaning in Rabbinic Exegesis" Oxford University Press, NY, 1991]

ee also

*Eras of history important in Jewish law

External links

* [ Sabora]


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