Debtor (Ron) on the Great Assembly

shella shella at cswnet.com
Thu Nov 4 14:57:43 EST 1999


Dear Brothers and sisters, please let me know which of these points can be demonstrated as
incorrect.  Thank you very much for your kind and valued help, debtor (Ron Pound).
In addition, Dr. Horne states very nearly the same things in his work I have given
references unto before.

Gleanings from

The Jewish Encyclopedia, Ktav Edition;

Article:  The Great Synagogue;  PPS. 640-

1) According to the Mishnah the Great Synagogue or Great Assembly was those elders or
representatives of the Jewish Elders who knew the Law and who occupied a place in the chain
of tradition between the prophets and the earliest scholars known by name; p. 640;
2) The number who made up the great 'Synagogue was about 120 including  both Elders and
prophets, it comes from Neh. 10:2-29;
3) The addition of the prophets speaks of those who took part in the sealing of the
Covenant, Neh. 6:7, 14;
4) This suggests that there were other prophets preaching in Israel other than Haggai,
Zechariah, and Malachi; p. 641;
5) The Great Assembly was so called because it gave the Divine Attributes  their Ancient
greatness and dignity;
6) The authors of the prayers restored the Triad of the divine attributes introduced by
Moses, Deut. 10:17, even though Jeremiah (Jer. 32:18) and Daniel (10:17) each had omitted
one of the 3 attributes from their prayers;  p. 641;
7) The Great Assembly or Great Synagogue covered the one generation of  Ezra; p. 641;
8) It appears to have been made up of leaders of Israel who had returned from Exile and laid
the foundations of the New policy connected with the Second Temple;
9) They were still active when the reign of Alexander the Great commenced, p. 642;
10) According to Tannaitic chronology Simon the Just, the last member of the G. S., was the
High Priest who met Alexander the Great and received much honor from him, and not Simon's
Grandfather, Jaddua;
11) According to the tradition of the Tannaim and the Amoraim, the activity of this assembly
was confined to the period of the Persian rule, the first 34 years of the Second Temple;
12) In addition to fixing the ritual observations for the first 2 quarters of the day, Neh.
9:3, it also engaged in legislative proceedings and making of laws,  Neh. 10:32;
13) Ezra was the great scribe and leader of the Great Synagogue, the members all had active
parts in the institutions enacted by the members of the G. S.
14) These men placed the Books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther and the 12 Later  or Minor
Prophets into the Biblical Canon; p. 642;
15) Ezra and Nehemiah, men of the G. S. are mentioned as the last Biblical  Writers; p. 642;

16) According to the Introduction in the Second Book of the Maccabees, 2:13; Nehemiah also
collected a number of the Books of the Bible, p. 642;
17) King Hezekiah and his Council, including the Prophet Isaiah, canonized  the 3 Books of
Solomon and the Book of Isaiah, p. 642;
18) It is claimed that they introduced the 3-fold classification of the oral Law, dividing
the study of the Mishnah into the 3 branches of Midrach, Halakot and Haggadot;
19) But R. Jonah denied this, he lived in the fourth century and declared that  R. Akiba was
the founder of the 3 fold division of Oral Law; p. 642;
20) NOTE:  It is claimed that the men of the Great Synagogue not only completed the Biblical
Canon, but also introduced the Scientific treatment of  Tradition, p. 643; (this is doubtful
REP);
21) They introduced the Feast of Parim and determined the days on which it  should be
celebrated;
22) They introduced the "Shemoneh Esreh" as well as the Benediction and other prayers;
23) According to tradition, the synagogual prayers as well as the entire ritual of the
synagogue were put into definite shape by the men of the Great Synagogue (This too is
doubtful REP);
24) The men of the Great Synagogue are supposed to have made rulings on  traditions which
were brought from the Babylonian Captivity and these  traditions became Holy, p. 643;
25) Some of the Traditions were:
 a) A List of the Biblical personages who would have no part in the future world;
b) A Haggadic ruling on Biblical stories beginning with the phrase  "And it came to pass in
those days;"
 c) They made certain provisions or all time for the making of copies of the Bible;
26) It is according to the traditions of the Palestine Schools who designated who the men of
the Great Synagogue were and what they did, rather that real fact; p. 643;
27) These three points were established as rules to live by, by the members of the G. S.:
 a) Caution in pronouncing legal sentences;
 b) Watchfulness over the schools and the training of Pupils;
c) Assurances of the observance of the Law by the enforcement of protective measures and
rulings for those who would live by the Law;  p. 643.
28) Their program was carried out by the Pharisees; p. 643.

CONCLUDING POINTS:

1. The primary leaders of the G. S. or G. A. were Ezra, Nehemiah, Malachi, Zecheriah and
Simon the Just, High Priest, although it included many more Elders in Israel;
2. Their main work was to supervise the establishment of Israel under the Beginning of the
Time of Building the Second Temple;
 3. They finalized or completed the Old Testament Canon;
4. Palestine tradition claims that they introduced the "Scientific Treatment of Tradition;"
5. Under the leadership of Ezra these men were supposed to have enacted many things into the
Hebrew religions Tradition which are only older Babylonian habits;
6. The additions of Babylonian Tradition as Hebrew religious tradition are dignified by
claiming their origins from the men of the Great Synagogue or the Great Assembly;
7. However, most of  the Babylonian Traditions have been argued to come about later and can
be questioned if they did, in fact, come from the men of the G. S.
 8. The important role of the Great Synagogue was 2-fold:
a. They supervised the building of the Second Temple and its rules and laws of worship and
service;
  b. they completed the O. T. Canon.
    End of These Notes

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