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HANANIAH (Hanina ), nephew of Joshua b. Hananiah (second century c.e.), tanna. Some are of the opinion that Hananiah was the son of Judah b. Hananiah who is mentioned in a single source as the author of an aggadic statement (Sif. Deut. 306), but there is no doubt that his teacher was his uncle *Joshua b. Hananiah (Nid. 24b), and probably for this reason he is usually referred to as "Hananiah, nephew of Joshua b. Hananiah." The Talmud tells that when in Simonia, he gave a ruling without having authority to do so. R. Gamaliel expressed his displeasure until Joshua sent him a message, "It was on my instructions that Hananiah gave the ruling" (Nid. 24b). It also relates that on one occasion Hananiah went to Babylon during the lifetime of his uncle and then returned to Ereẓ Israel (Suk. 20b). This tradition may be connected to the incident described in a tannaitic Midrash, which states that while on their journey: "they remembered Israel … and they burst into tears and rent their garments… and returned to their place, saying: 'Dwelling in Israel is equivalent to all the precepts of the Torah'"(Sif. Deut. 80). For a reason that is not clear (Eccles. R. 1:8, 4), it seems that he returned to Babylonia where he remained until his death. In the well-known baraita that enumerates those scholars to whose locality it is worth going to study, he is mentioned: "After Hananiah, the nephew of Joshua, to the exile" (Sanh. 32b). According to the Talmud, Hananiah was the greatest of the scholars in Ereẓ Israel at the time of the Hadrianic persecutions which followed the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135, and with his departure the power of the Sanhedrin was diminished. As a result Hananiah permitted himself "to intercalate the years and to fix the new moons" in exile, in conformity with the halakhah that the greatest among the ordained scholars of the generation may do so outside Ereẓ Israel if he has not left his equal in the land. He continued to do so after the persecutions abated and Ereẓ Israel again became the center of Torah, because he regarded himself as the outstanding scholar of the generation and the scholars of Ereẓ Israel as inferior to him. The Jews of Babylonia followed his calendar, and in consequence the scholars of Ereẓ Israel took vigorous steps against him. Representatives were sent from Ereẓ Israel to Babylonia, but even after *Judah b. Bathyra of Nisibis demanded that the authority of the center in Ereẓ Israel be accepted, Hananiah refused to obey (tj, Ned. 6:8; tb, Ber. 63a–b). Probably the most famous halakhah associated with the name Hananiah is the dictum quoted in tb Shab. 12a, 20a, et al. However, it has recently been questioned whether this halakhah, in the form in which it is brought in the Babylonian Talmud, can be of tannaitic origin (Friedman). In line with this, it has been suggested that behind this halakhah, ascribed in the Babylonian Talmud to the tanna Hananiah, lies a tradition ascribed in the Jerusalem Talmud to the amora Hananiah (Hanina) "comrade of the Rabbis" (Wald).


Halevy, Dorot, pt. 2 (1923), 190–205; Hyman, Toledot, s.v.; Allon, Toledot, 1 (1958), 151–2; 2 (1961), 75–6; A. Burstein, in: Sinai, 38 (1956), 32–7; 40 (1957), 387–8. add. bibliography: S. Friedman, in: Sidra, 14 (1998), 77–91 (Heb.); S. Wald, in: Sidra, 19 (2004), 47–75 (Heb.).

[Zvi Kaplan]

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