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Kuzari Argument Analysis

From exegesis and a light to the nations and kuzari argument we come to the conclusion that IFF a religious body can show continuity to the nation of Israel as depicted in the bible, that nation would de facto hold ultimate ecumenical authority in terms of doctrine.

The Torah-Linguistic Proof

Via the narrative of the bible it is possible to determine that Hebrew was the original language of creation. We also know that the biblical people of 1st century Judea were the people who continued the tradition of reading the Torah in Hebrew. However there are some issues we must address in all fairness; the remainder of this article will discuss specific proofs and attacks given on this topic.

En Gedi Leviticus Proof

What is clearly preserved in the master image is part of one sheet of a scripture scroll that contains 35 lines, of which 18 have been preserved and another 17 have been reconstructed. The lines contain 33 to 34 letters and spaces between letters; spaces between the words are indicated but are sometimes minimal. The two columns extracted from the scroll also exhibit an intercolumnar blank space, as well as a large blank space before the first column that is larger than the column of text. This large blank space leaves no doubt that what is preserved is the beginning of a scroll, in this case a Pentateuchal text: the book of Leviticus.


The text deciphered thus far is completely identical with the consonantal framework of the medieval text of the Hebrew Bible, traditionally named the Masoretic Text, and which is the text presented in most printed editions of the Hebrew Bible. On the other hand, one to two centuries earlier, the so-called proto-Masoretic text, as reflected in the Judean Desert texts from the first centuries of the Common era, still witnesses some textual fluidity. In addition, the En-Gedi scan revealed columns similar in length to those evidenced among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The indication above that the Leviticus scroll has been copied in accordance with the sofer's tradition indicates that all other parts of the scroll are intact. I.E. if significant parts of the text had been changed, then it is not possible for the fragments we have recovered to precisely match modern texts – the rows and columns would be “off”. Thus, we may rely on the idea that Leviticus 26 and all other ecumenical proofs (see: ecumenical authority) from leviticus were known and in-practice during the second temple era.

Historical Continuity

All of the above proofs depend on historical continuity. Historical continuity can be examined by noting that throughout the last 2,000 years, every group of Jewish people accepted the status of the group of Jewish people before them and after them. This represents a fluid transition between eras; thus, it can be shown that there is a historical continuity which carries the ecumenical authority of the previous generation into the present via implicit acceptance.

Biblical Narrative-Literalist Chronology

  • Adam to the Flood 4246—2590 BC
  • The Flood to Abram 2589—2211 BC
  • Abraham to Joseph 2198—1936 BC
  • Egypt to the Exodus 1914—1577 BC
  • The Wilderness Period to the Conquest of Canaan 1576—1505 BC
  • The Judges to the United Monarchy 1505—1018 BC
  • The Divided Monarchy (leading) to the Destruction of the Temple 982—587 BC

This timeline contains King David (1010-970 BCE) and ends during the first temple era.

Islam accepts the prophetic nature of King David and King Solomon's works; ex. Surah “[163] We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.”

In general continuity would be assumed because the ark of the covenant was said to be housed in Solomon's temple;

During the construction of Solomon's Temple, a special inner room, named Kodesh Hakodashim (Eng. Holy of Holies), was prepared to receive and house the Ark;[55] and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the original tablets of the Ten Commandments—was placed therein.[56] When the priests emerged from the holy place after placing the Ark there, the Temple was filled with a cloud, “for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord”.[57][58][59]

When Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, he caused her to dwell in a house outside Zion, as Zion was consecrated because it contained the Ark.[60] King Josiah also had the Ark returned to the Temple,[61] from which it appears to have been removed by one of his predecessors (cf. 2 Chron. 33-34 and 2 Kings 21-23).

[55] 1 Kings 6:19 [56] 1 Kings 8:6-9 [57] 1 Kings 8:10-11 [58] 2 Chron 5:13 [59] 2 Chron 14 [60] 2 Chron 8:11

Solomon and the First Temple Era

Islam considers Solomon the last prophet before Jesus. However, based on Genesis 49, which Islam holds as referring to their prophet (PBUH), Islam would be hard pressed to deny a historical break during the first temple era. All such criticism would then be levvied at the Ezra-Nehemiah era betwee the first and second temple eras; an era of 70 years. It is our position this is an incredulous argument for the reasons discussed previously in the Kuzari Argument.

10 lost tribes continuity

The Assyrian captivity which began in 722 BCE to 555 BCE. See section ten lost tribes and “Who are the Real Jews”.


To understand the nature of the Ezra-Nehemiah period as a period of transition between the first and second temples, it may help to place the time in-context. Let us first examine a timeline of events describing the first and second temple eras:

Date Event
833 BCE Solomon's Temple was built
827 BCE Solomon dedicated the Temple and all its contents.
796 BCE the country was divided into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south.
661 BCE the prophet Zechariah ben Jehoiada chastised the nation for their sins, warning them of the grave punishments that would befall them if they would not change their ways. Rather than accept his rebuke, the nation stoned Zechariah to death in the Temple courtyard. Incredibly, this occurred on Yom Kippur.
555 BCE Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, fell to the Assyrians. The people of the former Kingdom of Northern Israel were led into captivity. The Assyrians repopulated the land with exiles that had been uprooted from other countries, whose descendants came to be called the Samaritans or Kuttim. No trace has been found of the Ten Tribes.
463 BCE Beginning in 463 BCE, Jeremiah prophesied about the Babylonian threat and warned the Jews of the terrible devastation they would incur if they did not stop worshipping idols and mistreating each other.
434 BCE The Kingdom of Judah tries to form an alliance with Egypt, and in response Nebuchadnezzar pillages Jerusalem.
425 BCE King Zedekiah rebels against Babylon. In response Nebuchadnezzar lays seige to Jerusalem.
423 BCE Solomon's Temple was destroyed. (source)
371 BCE In 371 the Persian emperor Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Judah and rebuild the Temple, but the construction was halted the next year when the Samarians persuaded Cyrus to withdraw permission.
370 BCE Zerubabel and Joshua the High Priest began construction of the Second Temple, with permission from King Cyrus of Persia.
353 BCE Achashverosh II (of Purim fame) upheld the moratorium. Only in 353 (70 years after the first temple was destroyed) did the building of the Temple resume under Darius II.
349 BCE The Second Temple was completed in 349 BCE. (source)
348 BCE Ezra returns to Israel (source)
313 BCE The end of prophecy (source]) | | 190 BCE | Rome defeats Antiochus. ([[|source)
167 BCE Desecration of the temple. Maccabean revolt begins. (source)
140 BCE Hasmodean revolt (source) | | 63 BCE | Rome invades Jerusalem. ([[|source)
40 BCE Herod appointed King of Judea. (source)
20 BCE Herod expands the temple. (source)
4 BCE Herod dies. Herod Antipas becomes King.
6 CE The Roman province of Judaea was created with the Census of Quirinius.
39 CE Herod Antipas dies. Herod Agrippa becomes ruler of Galilee.
41 CE Herod Agrippa is promoted to rule all of Judea.
70 CE Roman forces destroy the Temple (source))
135 CE The Roman province of Judea was merged into Syria and was renamed “Syria-Palestina”.

Thus we may now see the absurdity of the Ezra-Nehemiah attack; there is a period of at most 75 years without a temple, but the lack of a temple is not the issue, rather the time. The claim is now that during this time every single torah scroll was lost and all of the law forgotten, from among all the Jewish communities of the time; both in Persia and in Jerusalem. This is an incredulous claim. Ezra was in fact a trained soferim and was the son of the last High Priest to serve in the First Temple. Thus the existance of Ezra is itself a statement of the continuity between the first and second temple eras.

Further, it is more than likely given the complete acceptance of Ezra's reforms, that people considered Ezra's reforms as contiguous with their practice as surely passed down by their fathers too. Surely

Chazal to Zugot

  • Moshe Rabbeinu
  • Aharon
  • Eleazar Ben Aharo
  • Pinchas
  • Abishua
  • Bukki
  • Uzzi
  • Zerahiah
  • Meroyios
  • Amaryo
  • Akhitov
  • Tzudok
  • Shallum
  • Khilkiyoh
  • Yirmiyoh Aleivo Sholom (Jeremiah)
  • ben Neriah
  • Ezra Aleivo Sholom (Ezra)
  • Shimon HaTzaddik (Pre-Zugot)
  • Ish Sokho (Pre-Zugot)
  • Yoezer (Zugot)
  • Ben Perachiah (Zugot)
  • Ben Shetach (Zugot)
  • Shmaya HaTanna (Zugot)
  • Hillel (Zugot)
  • Ben Hillel
  • Gamliel

Chazal: Soferim

Chazal are generally divided according to their era and the main writing done in that era:[1]

  • Soferim (“scribes”): Sages from before the era of Ezra the scribe until the Zugot era, including the men of the Great Assembly.[1] This era stretches from the Matan Torah (“giving of the Law”; Moses receiving the Torah on Biblical Mount Sinai), to the Halakha (“traditions”) era, including the times of Simeon the Just.

Zugot (170 BCE - 30 CE)

The Zugot /ˌzuːˈɡoʊt/ (Hebrew: הַזּוּגוֹת haz-zûghôth, “the Pairs”), also called Zugoth /ˈzuːɡɒθ/ or Zugos /ˌzuːˈɡoʊs/ in the Ashkenazi pronunciation, refers both to the two-hundred-year period (c. 170 BCE – 30 CE, Hebrew: תְּקוּפַת הַזּוּגוֹת təqhûphath haz-zûghôth, “Era of the Pairs”) during the time of the Second Temple in which the spiritual leadership of the Jews was in the hands of five successions of “pairs” of religious teachers, and to each of these pairs themselves.

List of teachers

  • Jose ben Joezer and Jose ben Jochanan
    • who flourished at the time of the Maccabean wars of independence
  • Joshua ben Perachiah and Nittai of Arbela,
    • at the time of John Hyrcanus
  • Judah ben Tabbai and Simeon ben Shetach,
    • at the time of Alexander Jannaeus and Salome Alexandra
  • Shmaya and Abtalion,
    • at the time of Hyrcanus II
  • Hillel the Elder and Shammai,
    • at the time of King Herod the Great


  • The En Gedi scroll dates, at the earliest, to this era.
  • We note that this era took place entirely within the Second Temple era; thus it carries a certain amount of weight in terms of credibility of continuity – all Abrahamic religions are forced to admit the authority of Zugot in the era of the Second Temple.
  • Due to the essentially required authority of Zugot, Chazal is essentially universally accepted, as well. “Chazal or Ḥazal (Hebrew: חז״ל), an acronym for the Hebrew “Ḥakhameinu Zikhronam Liv'rakha” (חכמינו זכרונם לברכה, “Our Sages, may their memory be blessed”), refers to all Jewish sages of the Mishna, Tosefta and Talmud eras, spanning from the times of the final 300 years of the Second Temple of Jerusalem until the 7th century CE, or c. 250 BCE – c. 625 CE.” This shows continuity between the second temple era and the formation of Islam during the lifetime of it's founder (570 CE – 8 June 632 CE), PBUH.
  • Rabbi Gamliel, mentioned in the Christian Scriptures as the head of the Pharisees, was the son of Simeon ben Hillel and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder. He died around 52 CE.
  • Shmaya Tannim compiled an extant oral history of traditions including stories such as Joseph and Aya(??)

Tannaim (10 - 220 CE)

Continuity is provided from the Zugot era for example, through successive presidents of the Sanhedrin and general continuity in the community; Hillel's son was Simeon Ben Hillel, and Simeon Ben Hillel's son was Gamliel I. Therefore there is a contiguous tradition from the Zugot to the Tannaim during and after the destruction of the second temple. Also see the section on Sanhedrin continuity below.

Tannaim (Aramaic: תנאים‎ [tanaˈ(ʔ)im], singular תנא [taˈna], Tanna “repeaters”, “teachers”[1]) were the rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 10-220 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 210 years. It came after the period of the Zugot (“pairs”), and was immediately followed by the period of the Amoraim (“interpreters”).[2]

The root tanna (תנא) is the Talmudic Aramaic equivalent for the Hebrew root shanah (שנה), which also is the root-word of Mishnah. The verb shanah (שנה) literally means “to repeat [what one was taught]” and is used to mean “to learn”.

The Mishnaic period is commonly divided up into five periods according to generations. There are approximately 120 known Tannaim.

The Tannaim lived in several areas of the Land of Israel. The spiritual center of Judaism at that time was Jerusalem, but after the destruction of the city and the Second Temple, Yohanan ben Zakkai and his students founded a new religious center in Yavne. Other places of Judaic learning were founded by his students in Lod and in Bnei Brak.

Oral Law/Mishnaic Continuity

The Tannaim, as teachers of the Oral Law, are said to be direct transmitters of an oral tradition passed from teacher to student that was written and codified as the basis for the Mishnah, Tosefta, and tannaitic teachings of the Talmud. According to rabbinic tradition, the Tannaim were the last generation in a long sequence of oral teachers that began with Moses.

“Early rabbinic Bible exegesis was preserved in tannaitic texts compiled in the second century CE or later, but is likely to contain much earlier material. It certainly contains some interpretations that can be traced back explicitly to the first century CE because of parallels with motifs found in the writings of Josephus or Philo, such as the legend of the extraordinary beauty of Moses as a child.”[4]
— Martin David Goodman, A History of Judaism (2018)

Generational Continuity

The Mishnaic period is commonly divided into five generations:

  • First Generation before and shortly after the Destruction of the Temple (c. 40 BCE-80 CE):
    • Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, Shimon ben Gamliel, Judah ben Baba
  • Second Generation between the destruction of the Temple and Bar Kokhba's revolt:
    • Rabban Gamaliel II of Yavneh, Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurcanus, the teachers of Rabbi Akiva, as well as Gamaliel of Yavne and Eleazar ben Arach
  • Third Generation, around Bar Kochba's revolt:
    • Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Tarfon, Ishmael ben Elisha, Eleazar ben Azariah, Jose the Galilean, Nathan the Babylonian, and Elisha ben Abuyah (the “Other” or apostate)
  • Fourth Generation after the revolt:
    • Shimon ben Gamliel of Yavne, Rabbi Meir, Shimon bar Yochai (who according to legend may have written the Zohar), Jose ben Halafta, Yehuda ben Ilai and Rabbi Nehemiah
  • Fifth Generation, the generation of Rabbi Judah haNasi, who compiled the Mishnah.
  • Sixth Generation, an interim generation between the Mishnah and the Talmud:
    • Rabbi Hiyya, Shimon ben Judah HaNasi and Yehoshua ben Levi.

Sanhedrin Continuity

The timeline of the Sanhedrin represents a continuity of the Zugot, Tannaim and Amoraim eras.

The Sanhedrin

Era President Term
Zugot Yose ben Yoezer 170 BCE - 140 BCE
Zugot Joshua ben Perachyah 140 BCE - 100 BCE
Zugot Simeon ben Shetach 100 BCE - 60 BCE
Zugot Shmaya 65 BCE - c. 31 BCE
Zugot Hillel the Elder c. 31 BCE - 9 CE
Z/T Rabban Shimon ben Hillel 9 - 30
Tannaim Rabban Gamaliel the Elder 30 - 50
Tannaim Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel 50 - 70
Tannaim Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai 70 - 80
Tannaim Rabban Gamaliel II of Yavne 80 - 118
Tannaim Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah 118 - 120
Tannaim Interregnum (Bar Kokhba revolt) 120 - 142
Tannaim Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel II 142 - 165
T/A Rabbi Judah I HaNasi (ThePresident) 165 - 220
Amoraim Gamaliel III 220 - 230
Amoraim Judah II Nesi'ah 230 - 270
Amoraim Gamaliel IV 270 - 290
Amoraim Judah III Nesi'ah 290 - 320
Amoraim Hillel II 320 - 365
Amoraim Gamaliel V 365 - 385
Amoraim Judah IV 385 - 400
Amoraim Gamaliel VI c. 400 - 425

This continuity of a single governing body spanning three eras shows cultural and religious continuity between the eras.


  • The En Gedi scroll dates, at the latest, to this era.
  • Rabbi Gamliel, mentioned in the Christian Scriptures as the head of the Pharisees, was the son of Simeon ben Hillel and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder. He died around 52 CE.

Critical Continuity during the destruction of Jerusalem

1. Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai and Vespasian

Vespasian's troops brutally conquered the north of Israel, eradicating all resistance. Meanwhile, the Jewish factions – now increasingly concentrated in Jerusalem – moved beyond power struggles into open civil war. While Vespasian merely watched from a distance, various factions of Zealots and Sicarii fought each other bitterly, even those that had common goals. They killed those advocating surrender. Thousands of Jews died at the hands of other Jews in just a few years.

Long before, the residents of Jerusalem had stored provisions in case of a Roman siege. Three wealthy men had donated huge storehouses of flour, oil, and wood—enough supplies to survive a siege of 21 years.

The Zealots, however, wanted all-out war. They were unhappy with the attitude of the Sages, who proposed sending a peace delegation to the Romans. In order to brings things to a head and force their fellow Jews to fight, groups of militia set fire to the city's food stores, condemning its population to starvation. They also imposed an internal siege on Jerusalem, not letting their fellow Jews in or out.

The greatest Jewish sage of the time was Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. He wisely foresaw that Jerusalem was doomed and understood the need to transplant the center of Torah scholarship to another location, to ensure the survival of Torah study after Jerusalem's destruction. He devised a plan that would allow him to leave Jerusalem, despite the Zealots' blockade. He feigned death so that he could be carried out of the city. His disciples carried the coffin out of the city's walls, and Rabbi Yochanan proceeded directly to Vespasian's tent. He entered the tent and addressed Vespasian as “Your Majesty.”

“You are deserving of death on two accounts,” said Vespasian. “First of all, I am not the emperor, only his general. Secondly, if I am indeed emperor, why did you not come to me until now?”

Rabbi Yochanan answered: “You are an emperor, because otherwise the Holy Temple would not be delivered in your hands.… And as for your second question, the reckless Zealots would not allow me to leave the city.”

While they were speaking, a messenger came and told Vespasian that Nero was dead and he had been appointed the new Roman emperor. Vespasian was so impressed with Rabbi Yochanan's wisdom that he offered to grant Rabbi Yochanan anything he wanted as a reward. Rabbi Yochanan made three requests.1 The primary request was that Vespasian spare Yavne – which would become the new home of the Sanhedrin – and its Torah sages.

Rabbi Yochanan thus ensured the continuation of Jewish scholarship after the fall of Jerusalem. Even though they would no longer have a Temple or a homeland, the Jews would always have a spiritual center in the Torah.

In 69 CE, Vespasian returned to Rome to serve as emperor, but first he appointed his son, Titus, to carry on in his stead. In 70 CE, Titus came towards Jerusalem with an army of 80,000 soldiers.

Ashkenazi and Sephardim


The two largest communities, or “denominations” of Judaism are the Sephardim and Ashkenazim (Sephardic Jews and Ashkenazi Jews).

Today's Sephardim (Sephardic Jews) are the descendants of the Jews who arrived on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) after the Babylonian exile (597 BCE) and Roman (70 CE) exiles. Thus, “Sephardic” is the name given to the Jews who settled in that area over long periods of time.

After the Alhambra Decree (31 Mar. 1492), when the Jews were expelled from Spain, these Sephardic Jews fled to Southern Europe, the Balkans and North Africa. This record of the Sephardic people is not contested.

The Ashkenazi

In contrast to the Sephardim, the Ashkenazi are the descendants of the Jews that arrived in the Danube Valley and Rhineland areas (Germany, France) with some accounts dating as early as 321 CE.

However, in contrast to the Sephardic record, this record is often contested. The most common form this takes is the Khazar conspiracy theory.

The Khazar Conspiracy

In 1883, Ernest Renan was the first person in history to theorize that Ashkenazi Jews were not “real Jews” because they had all come from Khazar people and therefore were not “ethnically Jewish”. The theory was not widely accepted at the time, but in 1976 Arthut Koestler published the now-debunked book “The Thirteenth Tribe”. Notably, Arthur Koestler himself

This claim was made and widely accepted despite

  • the extremely late proposition of the theory (no such theory existed for 1,000 years after the event was claimed to have occurrec),
  • Clear evidence of an Ashkenazi people in the area for hundreds of years prior to the Khazar conversion story,
  • The problem that if Sephardic Jews converted them the conversion would be valid
  • The problem that all Sephardic and Mizrachi (etc.) Jews accept the Ashkenazi as Jewish
  • The fact that modern genetic evidence (ex. DNA evidence) clearly shows links between the Ashkenazi, Sephardim and Mizrachi stretching back to 1st century Judea
  • The fact that Judaism has very little to do with bloodline in the first place

The theory states that in the 8th century the Khazar ruling class converted en masse to Judaism. So then these Jews would not have emigrated from Judea and Babylonia, but from modern-day Russia and Ukraine.

Debunking the Khazar Conspiracy Theory

In addition to the problems raised in the previous section, it is a historical fact that the country of Khazaria was destroyed between 960CE and 1000CE. After this event there is no record of Jews anywhere near the Ukraine or Belarus is over 400 years later. Thus, it is impossible that Jews emigrated from Khazaria to Ukraine/Russia/Belarus and then later to France and Germany, because there was no such nation as Khazaria for them to emigrate from, and there were no such Jews in existance such that they could have emigrated in the first place.

Second, the facts are that DNA tests and genetic studies have shown a close relationship between the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, as well as other Middle-eastern people – while at the same time showing no connection between the Ashkenazi Jews and the Khazars.

A 2005 study by Nebel et al., based on Y chromosome polymorphic markers, showed that Ashkenazi Jews are more closely related to other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than to the populations among whom they lived in Europe. However, 11.5% of male Ashkenazim were found to belong to Haplogroup R1a, the dominant Y chromosome haplogroup in Eastern Europeans, suggesting possible gene flow. Referencing The Thirteenth Tribe, the study's authors note that “Some authors argue that after the fall of their kingdom in the second half of the 10th century CE, the Khazar converts were absorbed by the emerging Ashkenazi Jewish community in Eastern Europe.” They conclude: “However, if the R-M17 chromosomes in Ashkenazi Jews do indeed represent the vestiges of the mysterious Khazars then, according to our data, this contribution was limited to either a single founder or a few closely related men, and does not exceed ~ 12% of the present-day Ashkenazim”.

Writing in Science, Michael Balter states Koestler's thesis “clash[es] with several recent studies suggesting that Jewishness, including the Ashkenazi version, has deep genetic roots.” He refers to a 2010 study by geneticist Harry Ostrer which found that Ashkenazi Jews “clustered more closely with Middle Eastern and Sephardic Jews, a finding the researchers say is inconsistent with the Khazar hypothesis” and concludes “that all three Jewish groups—Middle Eastern, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi—share genomewide genetic markers that distinguish them from other worldwide populations”. Geneticist Noah Rosenberg asserts that although recent DNA studies “do not appear to support” the Khazar hypothesis, they do not “entirely eliminate it either.”

The Khazar Conspiracy Theory is DOA on the linguistic front as well. The main langauge of the Ashkenazi Jews, Yiddish, shows no trace of Turkic origin – clearly being based on High German.

Family records also show that the names and surnames of Jews in eastern europe during the last six centuries (1400CE to 2000CE) – as the Yiddish language as a whole – does not contain any link to Khazaria.

Koestler's Intent

Koestler was trying to eradicate Anti-semitism.

His official biography, written by Michael Scammell, specifically quotes him on why he wrote “The Thirteenth Tribe.” His argument was that if he could persuade people that a non-Jewish “Khazar” heritage formed the basis of modern Jews, then this would be a weapon against European racially based anti-Semitism.“Should this theory be confirmed, the term ‘anti-Semitism’ would become void of meaning,” he said.According to Scammell, Koestler told French biologist Pierre Debray-Ritzen he“was convinced that if he could prove that the bulk of Eastern European Jews were descended from the Khazars, the racial basis for anti-Semitism would be removed and anti-Semitism itself could disappear.”Scammell, Michael. Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic, Random House, 2009, ISBN 978-0-394-57630-5, p. 546.

Amoraim (200 - 500 CE)

Amoraim (Aramaic: plural אמוראים ʔamoraˈʔim, singular Amora or Amoray אמורא ʔamoˈʁa; “those who say” or “those who speak over the people”, or “spokesmen”)[1] refers to Jewish scholars of the period from about 200 to 500 CE, who “said” or “told over” the teachings of the Oral Torah. They were primarily located in Babylonia and the Land of Israel. Their legal discussions and debates were eventually codified in the Gemara. The Amoraim followed the Tannaim in the sequence of ancient Jewish scholars. The Tannaim were direct transmitters of uncodified oral tradition; the Amoraim expounded upon and clarified the oral law after its initial codification.

Savora (500 - 600 CE)

A Savora (Hebrew: [savoˈʁa]; Aramaic: סבורא, “a reasoner”, plural Savora'im, Sabora'im [savoʁaˈ(ʔ)im], סבוראים) is a term used in Jewish law and history to signify one among the leading rabbis living from the end of period of the Amoraim (around 500 CE) to the beginning of the Geonim (around 600 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 plural term Stammaim (Hebrew; “closed, vague or unattributed sources”) for the authors of unattributed statements in the Gemara.


  • The end of this period coincides with the foundation of Islam in approx. 613 CE.

Geonim (589 - 1038 CE)

Geonim (Hebrew: גאונים; Hebrew: [ɡe(ʔ)oˈnim]; also transliterated Gaonim- singular Gaon) were the presidents of the two great Babylonian Talmudic Academies of Sura and Pumbedita,[1] in the Abbasid Caliphate, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community worldwide in the early medieval era, in contrast to the Resh Galuta (Exilarch) who wielded secular authority over the Jews in Islamic lands.

Geonim is the plural of גאון (Gaon') [ɡaˈ(ʔ)on], which means “pride” or “splendor” in Biblical Hebrew and since the 19th century “genius” as in modern Hebrew. As a title of a Babylonian college president it meant something like “His Excellency”.

The Geonim played a prominent and decisive role in the transmission and teaching of Torah and Jewish law. They taught Talmud and decided on issues on which no ruling had been rendered during the period of the Talmud. The Geonim were also spiritual leaders of the Jewish community of their time.


  • The start of this period coincides with the growth of Islam starting in approx. 613 CE.

Prominent Geonim

  • Yehudai Gaon (Gaon 757-761)
  • Sar Shalom Ben Boaz (Gaon 838-848)
  • Natronai II, Gaon of Sura (Gaon to 857)
  • Amram Gaon, Gaon of Sura (Gaon 857-875)
  • Saadia Gaon (882/892 – 942)
  • Zemah ben Hayyim (Gaon 889–895)
  • Sherira Gaon (906–1006)
  • Samuel ben Hofni (died 1034)
  • Hai Gaon (939–1038)
  • Nissim Gaon (990-1062)

Continuity of Geonim Era

Here is a list of rabbis in rough chronological order spanning from the Amoraim era through the Savora, Geonim, and Rishonin eras. Obviously not complete but intended to show rough continuity

Era Name Born-Died Notes
Amoraim Ravina II (?–499)
Geviha of Argiza (Git. 7a)
Samuel b. Abbahu (Rabbah; Ḥul. 59b)
Savora Abdullah ibn Salam (550 - 630) rabbi, converted to Islam and was a companion of Islam's founder, Muhammad
S/G Hanan of Iskiya (Asikia) or Hanan of Iskya, or Hanan of Ishqiya) 589-608 was rector of the Talmudical academy at Pumbedita, 589-608.
S/G Eleazar Kalir (c.570–c.640) early Talmudic liturgist and poet
Geonim Mari ben R. Dimi (609)
Geonim Ka'ab al-Ahbar, Iṣḥaq Ka‘b ben Mati (?– 652/653) was a prominent rabbi from Yemen who was one of the earliest important Jewish converts to Islam.
Geonim Abdullah ibn Saba', 7th century Rabbi convert to Islam, considered central figure in the configuration of Shia Islam.
Geonim Amram Gaon (?–875) 9th-century organizer of the siddur (prayer book)
Geonim Saadia Gaon, (Emunoth ve-Deoth ; Siddur) (c.882–942) 10th-century exilarch and leader of Babylonian Jewry
Geonim Dunash ben Labrat (920–990) 10th-century grammarian and poet
G/R Rabbenu Gershom (c.960–c.1040) 11th-century German Talmudist and legalist
G/R Bahya ibn Paquda, (Hovot ha-Levavot) 11th-century Spanish philosopher and moralist
G/R Chananel Ben Chushiel (Rabbeinu Chananel) (990–1053) 10th-century Tunisian Talmudist
G/R Nissim Ben Jacob (Rav Nissim Gaon) (990–1062) 10th-century Tunisian Talmudist
G/R Isaac Alfasi, (the Rif) (1013–1103) 12th-century North African and Spanish Talmudist and Halakhist; author of “Sefer Ha-halachot”
Rishonim Rashi, (Solomon ben Yitzchak) (1040–1105) 11th-century Talmudist, primary commentator of the Talmud
Rishonim Meir ben Samuel (c. 1060–1135) known by the Hebrew acronym (RaM) was a French rabbi and tosafist,
Rishonim Joseph ibn Migash (1077–1141) 12th-century Spanish Talmudist and rosh yeshiva; teacher of Maimon, father of Maimonides
Rishonim Eliezer ben Nathan (1090–1170) 12th-century poet and pietist
Rishonim Eleazar of Worms (Sefer HaRokeach) (1176–1238) 12th-century German rabbinic scholar
Rishonim Rashbam, (Samuel ben Meir) (1085–1158) French Tosafist and grandson of Shlomo Yitzhaki, “Rashi”
Rishonim Abraham ibn Ezra, (Even Ezra) (1089–1164) 12th-century Spanish-North African biblical commentator
Rishonim Maimonides, Moshe Ben Maimon, (Rambam) (1138–1204) 12th-century Spanish-North African Talmudist, philosopher, and law codifier
Rishonim Abraham ben David of Posquières, (c. 1125–1198) 12th century, France
Rishonim Samuel ben Judah ibn Tibbon (c. 1150–c.1230) 12th–13th-century French Maimonidean philosopher and translator
Rishonim Abraham ibn Daud, (Sefer HaKabbalah) (c. 1110–c.1180) 12th-century Spanish philosopher
Rishonim Tosafists, (Tosfot) ? 11th, 12th and 13th-century Talmudic scholars in France and Germany
Rishonim Yehuda Halevi, (Kuzari) (c. 1175–1241) 12th-century Spanish philosopher and poet devoted to Zion
Rishonim Nahmanides, Moshe ben Nahman, (Ramban) (1194–1270) 13th-century Spanish and Holy Land mystic and Talmudist
Rishonim Mordecai ben Hillel, (The Mordechai) (c. 1250–1298) 13th-century German Halakhist
Rishonim Asher ben Jehiel, (Rosh) (c. 1259–1327) 13th-century German-Spanish Talmudist
Rishonim Jacob ben Asher, (Baal ha-Turim ; Arbaah Turim) (c. 1269–c.1343) 14th-century German-Spanish Halakhist
Rishonim Gersonides, Levi ben Gershom, (Ralbag) (1288–1344) 14th-century French Talmudist and philosopher
Rishonim Hillel ben Eliakim, (Rabbeinu Hillel) ? 12th-century Talmudist and disciple of Rashi
Rishonim Ibn Tibbon 12th-13th century a family of 12th and 13th-century Spanish and French scholars, translators, and leaders.
Rishonim Nissim of Gerona, (RaN) (1320–1376) 14th-century Halakhist and Talmudist
Rishonim Hasdai Crescas, (Or Hashem) (c. 1370–c.1411) 14th-century Talmudist and philosopher
Rishonim Joseph Albo, (Sefer Ikkarim) (c. 1380–1444) 15th-century Spain
Rishonim Abba Mari, (Minhat Kenaot) 13th-century French Talmudist
Rishonim Don Isaac Abravanel, (Abarbanel) (1437–1508) 15th-century philosopher, Talmudist and Torah commentator. Also a court advisor and in charge of Finance to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain.
Rishonim Obadiah ben Abraham of Bertinoro, (Bartenura) (c. 1445–c.1515) 15th-century commentator on the Mishnah
R/A Jacob Berab (1474–1546) 15th–16th-century proponent of Semichah (Ordination)
R/A David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (1479–1573) also called Radbaz, born in Spain, was a leading posek, rosh yeshiva and chief rabbi
R/A Judah ben Joseph ibn Bulat (c. 1500 - 1550) Spanish Talmudist and rabbi

Rishonim (1039 - 1536 CE)

Rishonim (Hebrew: [ʁiʃoˈnim]; Hebrew: ראשונים‎; sing. Hebrew: ראשון‎, Rishon, “the first ones”) were the leading rabbis and poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך‎, “Set Table”, a common printed code of Jewish law, 1563 CE) and following the Geonim (589-1038 CE). Rabbinic scholars subsequent to the Shulkhan Arukh are generally known as acharonim (“the latter ones”).

The distinction between the rishonim and the geonim is meaningful historically; in halakha (Jewish Law) the distinction is less important. According to a widely held view in Orthodox Judaism, the acharonim generally cannot dispute the rulings of rabbis of previous eras unless they find support from other rabbis in previous eras. On the other hand, this view is not formally a part of halakha itself, and according to some rabbis is a violation of the halakhic system.[1] In The Principles of Jewish Law, Orthodox rabbi Menachem Elon writes that:

“The Principles of Jewish Law — [such a view] “inherently violates the precept of Hilkheta Ke-Vatra'ei, that is, the law is according to the later scholars. This rule dates from the Geonic period. It laid down that until the time of Rabbis Abbaye and Rava (4th century) the halakha was to be decided according to the views of the earlier scholars, but from that time onward, the halakhic opinions of post-talmudic scholars would prevail over the contrary opinions of a previous generation. See Piskei Ha'Rosh, Bava Metzia 3:10, 4:21, Shabbat 23:1”


  • Rambam (1135/1138 - 1204) of Spain was a prominent Rishonim.

Acharonim (1536 CE - today)

Acharonim (Hebrew: [(ʔ)aχ(a)ʁoˈnim]; Hebrew: אחרונים Aḥaronim; sing. אחרון, Aḥaron; lit. “last ones”) in Jewish law and history, are the leading rabbis and poskim (Jewish legal decisors) living from roughly the 16th century to the present, and more specifically since the writing of the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, “Set Table”, a code of Jewish law) in 1563 CE.

The Acharonim follow the Rishonim, the “first ones”—the rabbinic scholars between the 11th and the 16th century following the Geonim and preceding the Shulchan Aruch. The publication of the Shulchan Aruch thus marks the transition from the era of Rishonim to that of Acharonim.

Example Chains

Let us examine what the exact chains are according to the Torah, etc.

Primary Chain A: Torah/Canon

Primary chain A shows a line of transmission that was recorded or may be drawn out of the Torah or other sources directly pertaining to the Torah.

  • God (Mt. Sinai ,= 1312 B.C.E.)
  • Moses (1272 B.C.E.)
  • Joshua (1245 B.C.E.)
  • Pinchus
  • Eli (929 B.C.E.)
  • Samuel (889 B.C.E.)
  • David (876 B.C.E.)
  • Achiah (800 B.C.E.)
  • Elijah (726 B.C.E.)
  • Elishah (717 B.C.E.)
  • Yehoyada (695 B.C.E.)
  • Zechariah (680 B.C.E.)
  • Hoshea (575 B.C.E.)
  • Amos (560 B.C.E.)
  • Isaiah (548 B.C.E.)
  • Michah (560 B.C.E.)
  • Yoel (510 B.C.E.)
  • Nachum (510 B.C.E.)
  • Chavakuk (510 B.C.E.)
  • Tzafaniah (460 B.C.E.)
  • Jeremiah (462 B.C.E.)
  • Baruch (347 B.C.E.)
  • Ezra (348 B.C.E.)

Chain B: Post Canon Sanhedrin

This represents the chain which existed from the beginning of the second temple period until the end of the Sanhedrin. It continues directly from Chain A:

  • Ezra (348 B.C.E.)
  • Shimon Hatzadik (310 B.C.E.)
  • Antignus of Socho (305 B.C.E.)
  • Yosi ben Yoezer and Yosef ben Yochanon (280 B.C.E.) (Start of Zugort era
  • Yehoshua ben Prachya and Nitai of Arbel (243 B.C.E.)
  • Yehuda ben Tabai and Shimon ben Shetach (198 B.C.E.)
  • Shmaya & Avtalyon (140 B.C.E.)
  • Hillel & Shammai (40 B.C.E.)
  • Rabban Shimon (10 B.C.E.)
  • Rabban Gamliel Hazaken (20 C.E.)
  • Rav Shimon ben Gamliel (50)
  • Rabban Gamliel (90) (appears in Acts)
  • Rabban Shimon (140)
  • Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi (180)
  • Rav, Shmuel, and Rabbi Yochanon (230)
  • Rav Huna (270)
  • Rabbah (310)
  • Rava (340)
  • Rav Ashi (420)
  • Rafram (443)
  • Rav Sam a B’rei d’Rava (476)
  • Rav Yosi (514)
  • Rav Simonia Rav Ravoi Me-Rov (589)
  • Mar Chanan Me-Ashkaya (608)

Chain C: Pre-Rashi

From the end of the Sanhendrin until Rashi.

  • Rav Mari
  • Rav Chana Gaon
  • Mar Rav Rava
  • Rav Busai (689)
  • Mar Rav Huna Mari
  • Mar Rav Chiyah Me-Mishan
  • Mar Ravyah
  • Mar Rav Natronai
  • Mar Rav Yehuda (739)
  • Mar Rav Yosef (748)
  • Mar Rav Shmuel
  • Mar Rav Natroi Kahana
  • Mar Rav Avrohom Kahana (761)
  • Mar Rav Dodai
  • Rav Chananya (771)
  • Rav Maika (773)
  • Mar Rav Rava
  • Mar Rav Shinoi (782)
  • Mar Rav Chaninah Gaon Kahana (785)
  • Mar Rav Huna Mar Halevi (788)
  • Mar Rav Menasheh (796)
  • Mar Rav Yeshaya Halevi (804)
  • Mar Rav Kahanah Gaon (797)
  • Mar Rav Yosef
  • Mar Rav Ibomai Gaon (814)
  • Mar Rav Yosef
  • Mar Rav Avrohom
  • Mar Rav Yosef (834)
  • Mar Rav Yitzchak (839)
  • Mar Rav Yosef (841)
  • Mar Rav Poltoi (858)
  • Mar Rav Achai Kahana
  • Mar Rav Menachem (860)
  • Mar Rav Matisyahu (869)
  • Rav Mar Abba
  • Mar Rav Tzemach Gaon (891)
  • Mar Rav Hai Gaon (897)
  • Mar Rav Kimoi Gaon (905)
  • Mar Rav Yehuda (917)
  • Mar Rav Mevasser Kahana Gaon (926)
  • Rav Kohen Tzedek (935)
  • Mar Rav Tzemach Gaon (937)
  • Rav Chaninah Gaon (943)
  • Mar Rav Aharon Hacohen (959)
  • Mar Rav Nechemiah (968)
  • Rav Sherirah Gaon (1006)
  • Meshulam Hagadol
  • Rav Gershom Meor Hagolah (1040)
  • Rav Yaakov ben Yakar (1064)
  • Rav Shlomo Yitzchaki - ‘“Rashi’” (1105)

Chain D Rashi to ...

  • Rav Shlomo Yitzchaki - ‘“Rashi’” (1105)
  • R’ Shmuel ben Meir (Rashbam) (1174)
  • R’ Yaakov ben Meir (Rabbenu Tam) (1171)
  • Eliezer Me-Metz (1175)
  • Rokeach (1238)
  • R’ Yitzchak of Vienna (Ohr Zaruah)
  • Rav Meir of Rothenberg (1293)
  • R’ Yitzchak of Duren (Shaarei Durah)
  • R’ Alexander Zusiein Hakohen (Agudah) (1348)
  • Meir Bar Baruch Halevi (1390)
  • R’ Sholom of Neustadt
  • R’ Yaakov Moelin (Maharil) (1427)
  • R’ Yisroel Isserlein (Trumas Hadeshen) (1460)
  • R’ Tavoli
  • Rabbi Yaakov Margolies (1501)
  • Rabbi Yaakov Pollak (1530)
  • Rabbi Sholom Shachna (1558)
  • Rabbi Moshe Isserles ‘“Rama’” (1572)
  • Rabbi Yehoshua Falk Katz (1614)
  • Rabbi Naftoli Hirsch ben Pesachya (1650)
  • Rabbi Moshe Rivkas - ‘“Be’er Hagolah’” (1671)
  • Rabbi Avraham Gombiner (1682)
  • Rabbi Moshe Kramer (1688)
  • Rabbi Eliyahu Chasid (1710)
  • Rabbi Yissachar Ber (1740)
  • Rabbi Shlomo Zalman (1765)
  • Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer - ‘“Vilna Gaon’” (1797)
  • Rabbi Chaim Voloziner (1821)
  • Rabbi Zundel of Salant (1866)
  • Rabbi Yisroel Salanter (1883)
  • Rabbi Simcha Zissel of Kelm (1888)
  • Rabbi Yerucham Lebovitz (1936)

Other (Misc)

Yeruchom Levovitz (Hebrew: ירוחם ליבוביץ‎; ca. 1873-1936), also known by his hundreds of students simply as The Mashgiach, was a famous mashgiach ruchani and baal mussar (Jewish Ethics) at the Mir yeshiva in Belarus. Contents

Yeruchom Levovitz was born in 1873 (5633 in the Jewish calendar) in Lyuban, Minsk Voblast, Belarus (near Slutsk) to Avraham and Chasya Levovitz. He received his education in the yeshivas of Slobodka and Kelm.[1]

He was a disciple of Nosson Tzvi Finkel, and Simcha Zissel Ziv of Kelm.

Levovitz was the spiritual leader of the Mir Yeshiva in Belarus until his death in 1936. His disciples were said to have followed his every word, never doing anything that they “felt” he would not want them to do. Most of the leaders of the yeshivas of inter-war Poland were Levovits's disciples. They would come on occasion to visit him and seek his advice.

After World War II, much of orthodox Jewry in Europe was wiped out, along with their many yeshivas (Jewish schools of higher learning). One of the only yeshivas to survive as a whole body was the Mir Yeshiva, which managed to escape to Shanghai, China, and then on to America. Disciples

Some of Levovitz's better known disciples include Shlomo Wolbe, Chaim Shmuelevitz, Aryeh Leib Malin, Dovid Povarsky, Abba Berman, Zelik Epstein and Shimon Schwab.

His many discourses and lectures are preserved for posterity in the following sefarim: “Daas Torah,” “Daas Chochma U'Mussar,” “Shvivai Daas,” and “Sifsai Daas on Pirkei Avos” which are a staple of many yeshiva libraries today, as well as many Orthodox Jewish households.

He died on the 18th of Sivan in the year 1936 at the age of sixty-three. He is buried in the town of Mir, Belarus. His grave site (recently rebuilt by his family) is a common destination for the many Jewish tourists who visit the decimated cities of pre-war eastern Europe.

Why was this information added? To show that the same or more amount of information exists and is known for every member of this chain! This means we can verify the chain. It's real.


Shimon Hatzadik (310 B.C.E.)

Some say that we are unaware of who this Shimon was. From the Islamic point of view, they do not know who to attribute this person to.


  • Ezra (348 B.C.E.)
  • Shimon Hatzadik (310 B.C.E.)
  • Antignus of Socho (305 B.C.E.)
  • Yosi ben Yoezer and Yosef ben Yochanon (280 B.C.E.)

Now see: Simeon the Just Wikipedia Local Copy

Ok so the problem seems to be A and B:

A. We know such a person existed and was a member of the great assembly; “He is (also) referred to in the Mishnah, where he is described as one of the last members of the Great Assembly.[1]” The [1] here is Pirkei Avot 1:2 where it is written “Shimon the Righteous was one of the last of the men of the great assembly. He used to say: the world stands upon three things: the Torah, the Temple service, and the practice of acts of piety.”

B. (from the Biographys section on Wikipedia); Simeon the Righteous is either Simon I (310–291 or 300–273 BCE), son of Onias I, and grandson of Jaddua, or Simon II (219–199 BCE), son of Onias II. Many statements concerning him are variously ascribed by scholars, ancient and modern, to four different persons who bore the same name: Simeon I (by Fränkel and Grätz); Simeon II (by Krochmal in the 18th century, Brüll in the 19th, and Moore and Zeitlin in the 20th); Simon Maccabeus (by Löw); or Simeon the son of Gamaliel (by Weiss). The scholarly consensus of the late 20th century has fallen on Simon II.[2] (emphasis added)

However, we are not interested in a scholarly opinion, as if there was no extant religious (i.e. authorized) tradition. Rationale is Deu 29:29 ““The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. …”

For Shimon the Righteous was one of the last of the men of the great assembly. He used to say: the world stands upon three things: the Torah, the Temple service, and the practice of acts of piety.

The Talmud, Josephus (who identifies him as Simon I), Sirach and the Second Book of Maccabees all contain accounts of him. He was termed “the Righteous” because of the piety of his life and his benevolence toward his compatriots.[3] He was deeply interested in the spiritual and material development of the nation. According to Sirach, he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, which had been torn down by Ptolemy Soter, and repaired the damage done to the Temple in Jerusalem, raising the foundation-walls of its court and enlarging the cistern into a pool.[4]

According to the Talmud, when Alexander the Great marched through Land of Israel in the year 332 BCE, Simeon the Just, dressed in his priestly garments went to Antipatris to meet him[5] although Josephus[6] states that Alexander himself came to Jerusalem. As soon as Alexander saw him, he descended from his chariot and bowed respectfully before him. When Alexander's courtiers criticized this act, he replied that it had been intentional, since he had had a vision in which he had seen the high priest, who had predicted his victory. Alexander demanded that a statue of himself be placed in the Temple, but the high priest explained that this was impossible. He promised instead that all the sons born of priests in that year would be named Alexander.[7] Josephus relates the same story, but identifies the high priest in the story as Jaddua rather than Simon.[8] This story appears to be identical with 3 Maccabees 2, where Seleucus (Kasgalgas) is mentioned.[9]

In his views, Simeon was midway between the Hasmoneans and the Hellenists. He was an opponent of the Nazirites and ate of the sacrifice offered by that sect only on a single occasion. Once a youth with flowing hair came to him and wished to have his head shorn. When asked his motive, the youth replied that he had seen his own face reflected in a spring and it had pleased him so that he feared his beauty might become an idol to him. He therefore wished to offer up his hair to God, and Simeon then partook of the sin-offering which he brought.[10]

kuzari_argument_analysis.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/25 07:56 by appledog