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Judah III

JUDAH III (Judah Nesiah II), nasi from 290 to 320. Judah III was the son of Gamaliel IV and the grandson of Judah Nesiah. It is sometimes difficult to determine from the sources whether a reference is to Judah II or III. Judah III was a pupil of Johanan (see RH 20a). He was especially intimate with *Ammi and *Assi, who headed the academy of Tiberias after the death of Johanan. Halakhic problems raised by him with Ammi are mentioned (Av. Zar. 33b; Beẓah 27a), and it is also related that Ammi was particularly insistent that Judah should conduct himself beyond that which was required by the strict letter of the law, as was befitting for "a prominent person" (MK 12b). These two scholars were sent by Judah to found schools for children throughout the land of Israel (TJ, Hag. 1:7, 76c). Although the status of the office of nasi had deteriorated greatly in his time, dignity was preserved internally and the people obeyed his directives. Judah was himself a scholar and Zera established halakhah from his conduct (TJ, Beẓah 1:9, 60d). He was in contact with the scholars of his time (see TJ, Shab. 6:9), and there is a suggestion of a dispute between him and Jeremiah and of a letter of appeasement sent by the latter (TJ, Meg. 3:2, 74a). It is stated that he imposed 13 fasts upon the community in a time of drought (Ta'an. 14a), and mention is made of his slave, Germanius, a member of the Gothic guard, presented to him by the government (TJ, Shab., 6:9; TJ, Yoma 8:5; et al.). During his time the Roman emperor *Diocletian stayed in Tiberias while waging war against the Persians, and the aggadah describes a meeting between the two at the invitation of the emperor, embellishing the account with miraculous details (TJ, Ter. 8:10, 46b–c; Gen. R. 63:8).


Hyman, Toledot, 612–5; Alon, Meḥkarim, 2 (1958), 16–17.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.