Savora

Savora

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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. 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. 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..

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.

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