This bothers me a lot - the idea of using anonymous "Chachamim" in arguments. I don't understand why is it important or useful to hide their names.

The Mishnah uses it extensively and makes it very difficult to trace Rabbis' opinions. I understand that it started in the Torah as Rashi says: "why didn't the Torah specify their names? To say that every Sanhedrin and its Sages counts".

But the Zkenim of Dor Hamidbar were all secondary to Moses, as opposed to Mishnaic Machlokot.

What is the point of letting the Sages stay anonymous in important Halachic arguments?

  • 3
    I always assumed that it means "almost everyone else". When the Gemara asks מאן חכמים, it tries to identify what other rulings this position to be associated with, but it doesn't mean that that was the only person involved. – Heshy Sep 25 '19 at 17:38
  • Weren't there some Sadducees in the Sanhedrin? If so, while their halachic arguments might have been sound at times, the Pharisees who wrote the Talmud did not want to publicize their names -- much like Elisha ben Abuyah whose opinions are frequently credited to a fictional 'Acher'. – Maurice Mizrahi Sep 25 '19 at 21:39

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