Rabban Gamaliel

Also “Gamliel.” Rabban Gamaliel of Yavneh (also referred to as Gamaliel II) was a great-great grandson of Hillel. His father, Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel, was the leader of the Jewish scholars of Jerusalem (Josephus, Vita, 38) and died resisting Rome during the revolt which led to the destruction of the Temple and city of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. His grandfather, Rabban Gamaliel I, is the Gamaliel favorably mentioned in the Christian Bible as having successfully advocated sparing the life of the early Christian leader, Peter (Acts 5:34), and as having been a teacher of the Christian Bible author Paul (Acts 22:3). The title “Rabban” designates one as being the official leader of the rabbinic community.

Rabban Gamaliel II accompanied Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai (Bavli, Gitten, 56b) when the latter founded the rabbinic community in Yavneh (also “Jabneh”). It is not clear how or precisely when Gamaliel assumed leadership from the Yohanan ben Zakkai. He is not included in the list of Yohanan ben Zakkai’s students found in Pirke Avot 2:10.

Rabban Gamaliel II is depicted in the texts on this site as having been wealthy and powerful. These texts have been selected to reveal something of the nature of Gamaliel’s political philosophy, leadership style, approach to early Christianity, and relationships with his colleagues. Each of the texts available on Seventy Faces of the Talmud that feature Rabban Gamaliel II also feature or refer to one or more of his colleagues. These texts may be found under:

 

Dispute over the calendar

The Deposing of Rabban Gamaliel

Tanur shel Achnai (“Oven of Achnai”)

The donkey and the lamp

 

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