Dostai ben Judah

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DOSTAI BEN JUDAH (second century c.e.), tanna of the fifth generation. He is not mentioned in the Mishnah, but is quoted a number of times in the Tosefta and the tannaitic midrashim. In Tosef. Ḥul. 8:19 he transmits a halakhah in the name of R. Simeon. The tradition found in the printed editions of Bavli Mak. 7a, according to which a tanna by the name of Judah b. Dostai transmitted in the name of Simeon b. Shetaḥ.

A legal rule stating that a sentence passed by a Palestinian court over a person who later escaped abroad is not set aside for a new hearing, but in the case of a person who escaped to Palestine the sentence is set aside, is almost certainly a corruption of the reading found in the manuscripts "Dostai b. Judah said in the name of R. Simeon" (cf. Tosef. Ḥullin), as is confirmed by Tosef. Sanh 3:11, where the reading is "Dostai b. Judah said." Other occurrences of the name "Judah b. Dostai," as in bk 83b Vatican 116 and in Pesaḥim 70b Vatican 134 (both versus the readings of the majority of manuscripts) are also certainly scribal errors, e.g. in Pesahim 70b where the correct reading "Judah b. Dortai" was corrupted in various ways in several manuscripts (Friedman, Baraitot, 235 note 135). Therefore the "first century tanna" by the name of "Judah b. Dostai" should be removed from the lists of talmudic sages.


Hyman, Toledot, 559; R. Rabinowitz, Didqduqe Soferim, Makkot 7a; S. Friedman, "Baraitot in the Babylonian Talmud: the Case of 'ben Tema' and 'ben Dortai'" (Hebrew), in: Netiotle-David, Festschrift in Honor of David Weiss Halivni (2004).

[Stephen G. Wald (2nd ed.)]