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Shammai ha-Zaken/School of Shammai
(292 words)

[German Version]

Shammai, called “the Elder,” lived around the turn of the eras. According to the chain of tradition in m. ’Abot 1:1ff., he and Hillel formed one of the so-called pairs who received and handed on the Torah revealed to Moses. The rabbinic texts that mention him are highly stylized and must be considered literary constructs with little basis in historical reality. He is rarely mentioned in isolation (Mek. ŠbY on Exod 20:8 [ed. Epstein & Melamed, 148]). Usually he serves as a foil to Hillel (b. Šabb. 30b–31a: Hillel’s patience in contrast with Shammai’s testiness; thei…

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Reeg, Gottfried, “Shammai ha-Zaken/School of Shammai”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 27 November 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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