Isaac ben Avdimi

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ISAAC BEN AVDIMI (late third–early fourth century c.e.), Babylonian amora. Almost all Isaac's sayings in the Babylonian Talmud are in the sphere of biblical exegesis and aggadic or halakhic Midrash. His interpretations were regarded as so authoritative that in the following generation *Rava stated that "any biblical verse not explained by Isaac b. Avdimi remains unelucidated" (Zev. 43b). Most of his statements and his discussions on biblical exegesis are given together with the differing view of *Ḥisda (Sanh. 56b) on the verse under discussion. The main figures of the following generation, such as *Abbaye and Rava, transmit his sayings (Zev. 28a, 43b). It would therefore appear that Isaac went from Sura, where Ḥisda lived, to Pumbedita, to the academy of Rabbah, and there Abbaye and Rava heard him. Abbaye introduces the statements of Isaac with the words: "When Isaac b. Avdimi came, he said" etc. (Zev. 28a). The usual meaning of this wording is that he came from Ereẓ Israel to Babylonia, but it cannot have this meaning in this instance since his name is found neither in the Palestinian sources nor in connection with Palestinian scholars. The reference must be to his arrival in Pumbedita from Sura.


Hyman, Toledot, 786; Ḥ. Albeck, Mavo la-Talmudim, 1 (1969), 294f.

[Shmuel Safrai]

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Isaac ben Avdimi

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