Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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In rabbinic literature different terms were used to denote Torah scholars (Law/Decalogue/Torah). They might be called “sages” (ḥakhamim), “disciples of sages” (talmidei ḥakhamin), “sons of sages” (bene hakhamim), Abba (“father”), or rabbi. Sage was a general term for the generic “wise man” (sophos) and rabbi was a polite way of addressing a sage or teacher and came to be used as the standard title of a Torah scholar accredited in the rabbinic movement and generally not used before 70 CE (Hezser, …

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Schwartz, Joshua, “Tannaim”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 02 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2022

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