Who were the leaders of the Jewish religion between Ezra and the 1st Zugot ?

Do we have a list for that ?


2 Answers 2


The first chapter of Pirkei Avot lists the leaders of the Jewish people between the time of Ezra and the Tannaim:

  • Anshei Knesset Hagdolah, which included Ezra as well as other prominent figures such as Mordechai Bilshan, Nechemyah, etc.
  • Shimon HaTzaddik, the last surviving member of the Anshei Knesset Hagdolah.
  • Antigonos Ish Socho

Then come the Zugot:

  • Yosei ben Yoezer and Yosei ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalayim
  • Yehoshua ben Perachyah and Nitai of Arbel
  • Yehudah ben Tabai and Shimon ben Shatach
  • Shemayah and Avtalyon
  • Hillel and Shammai

Then the Tannaim are listed.

Hope this answers your question.

  • 2
    The Anshei Keneses Hagedolah is the vague connection here. We don't really know who was in it when and how long it lasted. Shimon Hatzaddik's great great great great great [great great] grandfather was a Kohein Gadol who came back with Ezra, and he's essentially the next named link.
    – Double AA
    Jul 26, 2018 at 11:30
  • While not necessarily leaders, I recommend adding Geviha ben Pesisa (Sanhedrin 91a) and the sages of the Negev (Tamid 31b), who were contemporaries of Shimon Hatzaddik (all lived during the time of Alexander the Great). Choni Hame'agel was a contemporary of Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach (Taanit 23a) and Akavya ben Mahalalel was possibly a contemporary of Hillel and Shammai (Wikipedia per Mishnah Eduyot 5:6).
    – Harel13
    Mar 29, 2021 at 19:22

Rambam in his introduction to Mishneh Torah lists the transmission from Moshe through R. Ashi. The part relevant to the period from Ezra through the Zugot reads as follows:

בית דינו של עזרא הם הנקראים אנשי כנסת הגדולה והם חגי זכריה ומלאכי דניאל וחנניה ומישאל ועזריה ונחמיה בן חכליה ומרדכי בלשן וזרובבל והרבה חכמים עמהם תשלום מאה ועשרים זקנים האחרון מהם הוא שמעון הצדיק והוא היה מכלל המאה ועשרים וקיבל תורה שבעל פה מכולם והוא היה כהן גדול אחר עזרא

[The members of] Ezra's court are referred to as Anshei K'nesset Hagedolah (the men of the great assembly). They included Chaggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael, Azariah, Nechemiah ben Chakaliah, Mordechai the linguist, Zerubavel and many other sages - 120 elders in all.

The last [surviving] member of this group was Shimon the Just. He was included among the 120 elders and received the Oral Law from all of them. He served as the High Priest after Ezra. (Chabad.org)

אנטיגנוס איש סוכו ובית דינו קיבלו משמעון הצדיק ובית דינו ויוסי בן יועזר איש צרידה ויוסף בן יוחנן איש ירושלים ובית דינם קיבלו מאנטיגנוס ובית דינו ויהושע בן פרחיה ונתאי הארבלי ובית דינם קבלו מיוסי בן יועזר ויוסף בן יוחנן ובית דינם ויהודה בן טבאי ושמעון בן שטח ובית דינם קבלו מיהושע בן פרחיה ונתאי הארבלי ובית דינם שמעיה ואבטליון גרי הצדק ובית דינם קבלו מיהודה ושמעון ובית דינם הלל ושמאי ובית דינם קבלו משמעיה ואבטליון ובית דינם ורבן יוחנן בן זכאי ורבן שמעון בנו של הלל הזקן קבלו מהלל וב"ד

Antignos of Socho and his court received the tradition from Shimon the Just and his court.

Yosse ben Yo'ezer of Tzreidah and Yosef ben Yochanan of Jerusalem and their court received the tradition from Antignos and his court. Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nittai of Arbel and their court received the tradition from Yosse ben Yo'ezer and Yosef ben Perachiah and their court. Yehudah ben Tabbai and Shimon ben Shatach and their court received the tradition from Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nittai of Arbel and their court. Shemayah and Avtalion, who were righteous converts, and their court received the tradition from Yehudah and Shimon and their court.

Hillel and Shammai and their court received the tradition from Shemayah and Avtalion and their court. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai and Rabbi Shimon, the son of Hillel the elder, received the tradition from Hillel [and Shammai] and his [their] court[s].(Chabad.org)

  • How is this answer different from mine? It's the same information.
    – ezra
    Jul 26, 2018 at 5:37
  • @ezra Most of the information is the same. However, it is a different source, it is a direct quote of a source as opposed to a summary, and there are minor differences.
    – Alex
    Jul 26, 2018 at 5:41
  • I could have quoted the entire first half of the first chapter of Avot, but I decided that might be too much text, so I summarized instead.
    – ezra
    Jul 26, 2018 at 6:01
  • 1
    @ezra I'm not saying you did anything wrong; I'm just explaining how it's not the sae answer.
    – Alex
    Jul 26, 2018 at 6:19

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