[b-hebrew] MICHAEL Re: Sanhedrin

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Sun Sep 3 15:18:46 EDT 2006

No, this passage is to teach us that Yehoshafat included priests and 
Levites into the court system - not that the court system had ceased 
to exist.

Re your question would the Sanhedrin have made decisions on those 
prophets who were living in other nations?  What prophets did not 
BEGIN their ministries IN Israel?

The record of how the tradition was handed down, is in the beginning 
of Pirkei Avot.


Before anyone takes objection to this question, I would like to point
out that 2 Chronicles 19:8 states that Jehoshaphat appointed a court to
handle just these matters. This implies that a court of this nature did
not exist continuously from the time of Moses.

I apologize if anyone has answered the other questions I posed but I
haven't seen a reply and I would like to hear from you on this:
Would the Sanhedrin have made a decision on those prophets who were
living in other nations such as Israel during the divided kingdom or
Daniel in Babylon?

  Were those judgments recorded in any surviving documents or would they
only be known in oral traditions? If they were known in oral traditions,
do you apply any historical methodology to determine which traditions
are authentic? Or is the assumption that any tradition not accepted by
modern Judaism is a false tradition?
My reason for asking these questions is that I see what appear to be
differing traditions within the Oral Law. At least, that is the
conclusion I come to when I read the opposing viewpoints presented in
the Mishna. Further, we know that the both the Essenes and Sadducees had
rather different interpretations of the Law. We do have a written record
of what the Essenes believed, at least on some matters. The disadvantage
to an oral tradition is that it is difficult to establish when it began.
I hope you understand that there is a distinction between historical
truth and truth. Your claims may be completely valid without being
capable being verified by any historical proof. You may conclude as a
matter of faith that it has been accurately handed down from Moses.
Since I don't share your faith, I need evidence that allows me to
evaluate the claim. I do respect you for your faith but I don't share
your background.
Michael Abernathy

Shoshanna Walker wrote:
> What problem did Jewish Encyclopedia have, I forget.
> Numbers 35 is talking about a court.  It doesn't say if it is a local
> court or the supreme court, but we KNOW it was a lesser Sanhedrin, or
> local court, because:
> There were local courts, and there was the supreme court which met in
> the Beit HaMikdash.  Great and lesser Sanhedrins.
> The function of the Lesser Sanhedrins was SPECIFICALLY to judge
> capital cases (except for capital punishment for high officials -
> that goes to the Great Sanhedrin) - the judges of the Lesser
> Sanhedrin only hear cases where the accused faces the death penalty.
> It has no legislative, executive or administrative functions (but
> they didn't have this authority if the Great Sanhedrin did not meet
> in the Lishkat haGazit).  Unlike the singular Great Sanhedrin there
> are numerous Lesser Sanhedrins, one for each city that has a
> population of at least 120 men.
> That is how they knew that the court in these verses is the Lesser
> Sanhedrin - there is no after the fact anything - this is where they
> learned how many should sit in the lesser Sanhedrins.
> Additionally there are two special Lesser Sanhedrins, one of which
> meets at the entrance to the Holy Temple and the other which meets at
> the entrance to the Temple mount.  These last two courts serve a
> special function in determining the law.
> Why do you say "after the fact" - do you think that we didn't need
> judges and courts "before the fact"?  Anyway, what fact are you
> talking about?   And you didn't answer all my questions - do you
> think that the Talmud and Mishna just made things up?  Even peoples'
> names?
> Shoshanna
> HH: I am having the same problem the Jewish Encyclopedia was having.
>> Or a disbelief in the historic records that the Mishna and Talmud
>> recorded for us, including the records of where it was moved to,
>> under whose leadership, who were the heads, some of whom were Judges,
>> when the heads were "pairs" - nesiim and avot beit din, etc.
>> We even know the NAMES of who headed various Sanhedrins.
>> King David, by the way, WAS a prophet, and ALSO the head of the
>> Sanhedrin of his time.
>> What, do you think any, all or some of  these facts were made up?
>> Translated from the Talmud:
>> http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/sanhedrin1.html
>> The Great (Sanhedrin) consisted of seventy-one, and the small of
>> twenty-three. Whence do we deduce that the great council must be of
>> seventy-one? From [Num. xi. 16]: "Gather unto me seventy men." And
>> add Moses, who was the head of them--hence seventy-one? And whence do
>> we deduce that a small one, must be twenty-three? From [ibid. xxxv.
>> 24 and 25]: "The congregation shall judge"; "And the congregation
>> shall save." 1 We see that one congregation judges, and the other
>> congregation saves-hence there are twenty; as a congregation consists
>> of no less than ten persons, and this is deduced from [ibid. xiv.
>> 27], "To this evil congregation," which was of the ten spies, except
>> Joshua and Caleb. And whence do we deduce that three more are needed?
>> From [Ex. xxiii. 2]: Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do
>> evil"--from which we infer that you shall follow them to do good. But
>> if so, why is it written at the end of the same verse, "Incline after
>> the majority, to wrest judgment"? 2 This means, the inclination to
>> free the man must not be similar to the inclination to condemn; as to
>> condemn a majority of two is needed, while to free, the majority of
>> one suffices. And a court must not consist of an even number, as, if
>> their opinion is halved, no verdict can be established; therefore one
>> more must be added. Hence it is of twenty-three.
> HH: This is one of the reasons I don't automatically trust the Talmud.
> Numbers 35:24-25 is not talking about two different judicial bodies. The
> rabbis often use Scripture to support their own ideas. This looks like
> an after-the-fact attempt to give a rationale for the composition of
> Sanhedrin that existed at a much later time, perhaps the first or second
> century of the common era.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
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