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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the Tanna sage of the 5th generation, see Judah haNasi (Judah I).
For the Amora sage of the 1st generation, see Judah II (Nesi'ah I).
For the Amora sage of the 6th generation, see Judah IV (Nesi'ah III).

Judah III (or Nesi'ah II; Hebrew: יהודה נשיאה; יודן נשיאה), Yudan Nesiah, was a prominent Jewish sage, who held the office of Nasi of the ancient Jewish Sanhedrin between about 290 and 320 CE (fourth generation of amoraim).


He was the son of Gamaliel IV, and grandson of Judah II.

It is often difficult to know when the Mishna and Talmud are referring to Judah II or Judah III; they do not clearly distinguish between them. Since the title "Nesi'ah" was borne by both, which of the two in any citation is meant by "Judah Nesi'ah" can be gathered only from internal evidence, especially from the names of the scholars mentioned in the context.

He was a pupil of R. Johanan bar Nappaha (d. 279). In a question regarding the time of the new moon, which he sent to Rav Ammi, he introduces a teaching taught to him by Johanan with the words: "Know that R. Johanan has taught us thus all his life long".[1]

Judah III commissioned Johanan's pupils Ammi and Assi, who directed the Academy of Tiberias in the Land of Israel, after Eleazar ben Pedat's death, to organize the schools for children in the Palestinian cities.[2] Ammi especially appears as his councilor in aggadic questions.[3] He also visited the baths of Gadara with Ammi.[4]

Ammi, however, protested against the number of fast-days which Judah set in times of trouble, saying that the community should not be overburdened.[5] Once Helbo, a pupil of the above-mentioned Samuel ben Nahman, requested Judah, who had absented himself from a fast-day service held in the public square of the city, to take part in the service, which would thereby become more efficacious.[6] The prominent amora Jeremiah is said to have reproached Judah in a letter for hating his friends and loving his enemies.[7]

Germanus, Judah's Roman slave, is mentioned several times.[8]

The most important event of Judah III's patriarchate was the visit of the emperor Diocletian to Palestine.[9] One Friday the patriarch was called upon hurriedly to visit Diocletian at Caesarea Philippi, and his extraordinarily quick journey to there from Tiberias gave rise to a legend in which the aged Samuel ben Nahman appears.[10] On the Church father Epiphanius' reference to the patriarch, see Grätz.[11]

When Judah III died (c. 320), Hiyya bar Abba compelled his colleague Zeira, who was of priestly descent, to ignore, in honor of the dead patriarch, the laws to be observed by kohanim.[12] This scene took place in the "synagogue of the vine" at Sepphoris; hence it is to be assumed that Judah III was buried at Sepphoris. He was succeeded by his son Hillel II.

Jewish tradition holds that Judah III was interred at Ovnit.[13]


  1. ^ Rosh Hashana 20a
  2. ^ Yerushalmi Hagigah 76c; Pesikta Rabbati 120b
  3. ^ Beitzah 27a; Mo'ed Katan 12b, 17a; Avodah Zarah 33b; Menachot 29a
  4. ^ Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah 42a, 45b
  5. ^ Ta'anit 14a,b
  6. ^ Yerushalmi Ta'anit 65a
  7. ^ Yerushalmi Megillah 74; compare II Samuel 19:6
  8. ^ Yerushalmi Shabbat 8c; Yerushalmi Yoma 45b; Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah 42a
  9. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia, Diocletian
  10. ^ Yerushalmi Terumot 8,end; Genesis Rabbah 63
  11. ^ Grätz, "Gesch." 2d ed., iv. 483.
  12. ^ Jerusalem Talmud (Berakhot 3:1); Berakhot 6b; Nazir 5b,c
  13. ^ Levi-Naḥum, Yehuda (1986). Sefer ṣohar le-ḥasifat ginzei teiman (in Hebrew). Ḥolon, Israel: Mifʻal ḥaśifat ginze Teman. p. 252. OCLC 15417732., chapter: Tombs of the forefathers and righteous [3]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Judah III". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

Preceded by
Gamliel IV
Succeeded by
Hillel II
This page was last edited on 3 April 2021, at 13:14
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