Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tanna Hananiah ben Teradion:
What did it mean to pronounce the Tetragrammaton
in the 2nd c. CE?
A testimony from the Talmud /

Τανά Ανανίας μπεν Τεράντιον:
Τι σήμαινε το να προφέρει κανείς το Τετραγράμματο
κατά τον 2ο αι. Κ.Χ.;
Μια μαρτυρία από το Ταλμούδ



Babylonian Talmud / Βαβυλωνιακό Ταλμούδ
‘Abodah Zarah (Παράξενη λατρεία) 17b, 18a:


X. Έφεραν τον Ραβί Ανίνα μπεν Τεράντιον και του είπαν: «Πώς έφτασες στο σημείο να αφιερωθείς στην Τορά
Y. Εκείνος τους είπε: «Ήταν σαν να μου έδωσε εντολή ο Κύριος ο Θεός μου».
Z. Πάραυτα εξέδωσαν το διάταγμα εκείνος να θανατωθεί στην πυρά, να σκοτώσουν τη γυναίκα του και να παραδοθεί σε πορνείο η κόρη του.
AA. Καταδικάστησε σε θάνατο στην πυρά, διότι είχε προφέρει το Θεϊκό Όνομα όπως είναι γραμμένο.
BB. Μα πώς είναι δυνατό να έκανε κάτι τέτοιο, και δεν έχουμε μάθει στη Μισνά: Όλοι οι Ισραηλίτες θα συμμετάσχουν στο ερχόμενο κόσμο, όπως λέγεται: «Όλοι από το λαό σου θα είναι δίκαιοι, θα κληρονομήσουν τη γη για πάντα· το κλαδί που φύτεψα, το έργο των χεριών μου, έτσι ώστε να δοξαστώ». (Ησ. 60:21) Και αυτοί είναι εκείνοι που δεν θα έχουν μερίδιο στον ερχόμενο κόσμο: (1) Εκείνος που λέει ότι η ανάσταση των νεκρών είναι διδασκαλία που δεν προέρχεται από την Τορά, (2) και ότι η Τορά δεν προέρχεται από τον Ουρανό· και (3) ο Επικούρειος. Ο Ραβί Ακίμπα λέει: «Επίσης: Εκείνος που διαβάζει αιρετικά βιβλία και εκείνος που ψιθυρίζει πάνω από ένα τραύμα και λέει: 'Δεν θα θέσω πάνω σου καμία από τις αρρώστιες τις οποίες έθεσα πάνω στους Αιγυπτίους, διότι εγώ είμαι ο Κύριος που σε θεραπεύει'. (Εξ. 15:26)» Ο Αββά Σαούλ λέει: «Επίσης: εκείνος που προφέρει το Θεϊκό Όνομα όπως γράφεται»! [Μ. Σανχ. 10:1A-G]
CC. Το έκανε για εξάσκηση. Διότι έτσι διδάσκεται από την ταναϊκή αυθεντία:
DD. «Δεν θα μάθετε να πράττετε σύμφωνα με τα βδελύγματα αυτών των εθνών» (Δευτ. 18:9) —αλλά μπορείτε να μαθαίνετε σχετικά με αυτά έτσι ώστε να κατανοήσετε και να διδάξετε τι είναι αυτά.
EE. Τότε γιατί υποβλήθηκε σε τιμωρία;
FF. Αυτό συνέβη επειδή επανέλαβε το Θεϊκό Όνομα δημόσια.
GG. Και γιατί η γυναίκα του καταδικάστηκε σε θάνατο;
HH. Επειδή δεν τον σταμάτησε.
II. Για αυτό το ζήτημα έχουν πει: Οποιοσδήποτε έχει τη δύναμη να αποτρέψει κάποιον από τη διάπραξη αμαρτίας και δεν το κάνει, ο ίδιος θα τιμωρείται για λογαριασμό του άλλου.
JJ. Και γιατί η κόρη του καταδικάστηκε σε πορνείο;
KK. Διότι είπε ο Ραβί Ιωχανάν: «Κάποτε η κόρη του περπατούσε ενώπιον των ανωτάτων αρχών της Ρώμης. Είπαν: 'Πόσο όμορφα είναι τα βήματα αυτής της παρθένας', και αυτή πάραυτα έγινε σχολαστική ως προς το περπάτημά της».


X. They brought R[abbi] Hanina b[en] Teradion and said to him, “How come you devoted yourself to the Torah?”
Y. He said to them, “It was as the Lord my God has commanded me.”
Z. Forthwith they made the decree that he was to be put to death by burning, his wife to be killed, and his daughter to be assigned to a whorehouse.
AA. He was sentenced to be burned to death, for he had pronounced the Divine Name as it is spelled out.
BB. But how could he have done such a thing, and have we not learned in the Mishnah: All Israelites have a share in the world to come, as it is said, “Your people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified” (Isa. 60:21). And these are the ones who have no portion in the world to come: (1) He who says, the resurrection of the dead is a teaching which does not derive from the Torah, (2) and the Torah does not come from Heaven; and (3) an Epicurean. R. Aqiba says, “Also: He who reads in heretical books, and he who whispers over a wound and says, ‘I will put none of the diseases upon you which I have put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you’ (Exo. 15:26).” Abba Saul says, “Also: he who pronounces the Divine Name as it is spelled out” [M. San. 10:1A-G]!
CC. He did it for practice. For so it has been taught on Tannaite authority:
DD. “You shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations” (Deu. 18: 9) — but you may learn about them so as to understand and to teach what they are.
EE. Then why was he subjected to punishment?
FF. It was because he repeated the Divine Name in public.
GG. And why was his wife sentenced to be put to death?
HH. Because she did not stop him.
II. On that account they have said: Whoever has the power to prevent someone from sinning and does not do so is punished on account of the other.
JJ. And why was his daughter sentenced to a whorehouse?
KK. For said R. Yohanan, “One time his daughter was walking before the great authorities of Rome. They said, ‘How beautiful are the steps of this maiden,’ and she forthwith became meticulous about her walk.”




They then brought up R[abbi] Hanina b[en] Teradion and asked him, 'Why hast thou occupied thyself with the Torah?'  He replied, 'Thus the Lord my God commanded me.' At once they sentenced him to be burnt, his wife to be slain, and his daughter to be consigned to a brothel.

(The punishment of being burnt came upon him because he pronounced the Name in its full spelling.  But how could he do so? Have we not learnt: The following have no portion in the world to come: He who says that the Torah is not from Heaven, or that the resurrection of the dead is not taught in the Torah. Abba Saul says: Also he who pronounces the Name in its full spelling?  — He did it in the course of practising, as we have learnt: Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations,  but thou mayest learn [about them] in order to understand and to teach. Why then was he punished? — Because he was pronouncing the Name in public. His wife was punished by being slain, because she did not prevent him [from doing it]. From this it was deduced: Any one who has the power to prevent [one from doing wrong] and does not prevent, is punished for him.  His daughter was consigned to a brothel, for R. Johanan related that once that daughter of his was walking in front of some great men of Rome who remarked, 'How beautiful are the steps of this maiden!' Whereupon she took particular care of her step.)

Soncino Babylonian Talmud (Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, 1934),
‘Abodah Zarah (Παράξενη λατρεία) 17b, 18a., [PDF]


Hanina b[en] Tradian was then brought before them and questioned why he occupied himself with the Torah, and he answered: Because I am so commanded by the Lord my God. The decree was then rendered that he should be burned, his wife killed, and his daughter to be taken to the house of prostitutes. [He to be burned, because he used to express the name Jehovah as it is written (and not Adonai as it is to be read instead), but why did he so? Did not Aba Shaul say (Sanhedrin, p. 265) that he who does so has no share in the world to come? He did so to learn which is allowed privately, but he did it also publicly. His wife to be killed, because she has not prevented his doing so by protesting; from this it is to be inferred that he who feels that his protests would effect and does not protest, is punished therefor. And his daughter to prostitution; because, according to R. Johanan, it happened once that she walked in the presence of the great people of Rome, and they exclaimed: How nice are the steps of this girl! And from that time she took care of her steps to please the spectators.]

–Talmud, New Edition (Michael L. Rodkinson, 1903),



g04 22/01 5

HANANIAH (Hanina) BEN TERADYON (second century C.E.), tanna during the Jabneh era, and martyr. Two halakhic precedents are brought in his name (Ta’an. 2:5; Tosef. Ta’anit 1:13), and a small number of explicit dicta in halakhah and aggadah are ascribed to him (Tosef. Mik. 6:3, cf. Men. 54a; Avot 3:2). A halakhic dispute between his son and his daughter is mentioned in the Tosefta (Kel. BK 4:17), and Sifre Deut. 307 briefly relates the story of his martyrdom, mentioning also his daughter. These traditions concerning his life, his family, and his martyrdom are further elaborated in the later talmudic aggadah. According to tradition, Hananiah was head of the yeshivah of Sikhnin in Galilee (Sanh. 32b). When the news of the martyrdom of Akiva at Caesarea reached Judah b. Bava and Hananiah, they said that his death was an omen that the land of Israel would soon be filled with corpses and the city councils (Boule) of Judea abrogated (cf. Sem. 8:9, Higger’s edition p. 154–5). This was apparently a reference to the destruction of Judea which followed the crushing of the Bar Kokhba revolt and to the ensuing religious persecution by Hadrian. Hananiah’s martyrdom was apparently also a part of these persecutions. He was sentenced to death for teaching the Torah and holding public gatherings in defiance of the prohibition against it, in order to foster Judaism. Unlike Eleazar b. Parta who was arrested with him, Hananiah, when interrogated, admitted that he had been teaching Torah, since it was a divine command. He was sentenced to be burnt at the stake, his wife to be executed, and his daughter sold to a brothel. All three accepted their fate with equanimity, justifying the way of God, except that Hananiah was distressed that he had devoted himself only to study and not to philanthropic activity. He was burnt at the stake wrapped in the Sefer Torah (which he had been holding when arrested). To prolong his agony tufts of wool soaked in water were placed over his heart so that he should not die quickly. In answer to the wonder of his daughter at the fortitude with which he bore his sufferings, he answered, “He who will have regard for the plight of the Sefer Torah, will also have regard for my plight.” It is stated that the executioner (quaestionarius), moved by his sufferings, removed the tufts and increased the heat of the fire, and when Hananiah expired he too jumped into the flames, whereupon a heavenly voice proclaimed that the two “are assigned to the world to come” (Av. Zar. 17b–18a; Sem. 8:12, D.T. Higger’s edition p. 157–9). His daughter, who had been consigned to a brothel, preserved her virtue, and was eventually ransomed by Meir who had married her sister, the learned Beruryah. It is also related that one of Hananiah’s sons associated with robbers (possibly the reference is to a group of political rebels) and when he was put to death, Hananiah would not permit him to be eulogized but applied to him censorious verses from the Bible (Lam. R. 3:16, No. 6; Sem. 12:13, Higger’s edition p. 199–200). In the stories of the Ten Martyrs in the heikhalot literature, the account of Hananiah’s martyrdom is further embellished with mystical additions.

* Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second edition, 2007,
Vol./Τόμ. 8, p./s. 316.


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