Jewish Commentators — Their Lives and Works
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Hebrew Name(s): רבא; רבא בן יוסף בר חמא
Other Names: Ben Joseph ben Ḥama, Rava, Raba, Abba ben Joseph, Abba ben Joseph bar Ḥama, Raba ben Joseph ben Ḥama
Period: Amoraim — 4th Century
Dates: 280–350 CE
Abba ben Joseph (Rava) was a Fourth Generation Babylonian Amora and a Talmudist. He studied first in Sura under R. Ḥisda and Rami b. Ḥama and later R. Joseph Rabbah and R. Naḥman ben Joseph at the academy at Pumbedita. When the head of the academy, Rabbah bar Naḥmani, retired and the position went to Abaye, his study companion, Abba ben Joseph established a yeshivah at Mahuza (Babylonia). After Abaye died many of his disciples moved to Mahuza where the yeshivah had become one of the intellectual centers of the Jewish community.
Abba ben Joseph is regularly cited in the Talmud where the debates between Abba ben Joseph and Abaye are considered classic examples of Talmudic logic. Of the very many disputes recorded, all but six were decided in favor of Abba ben Joseph.
The son of a wealthy scholar, Rava was known as a kindly person. He died in 350 CE.
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