Scholar and chief gatekeeper at the Temple in the last years of its existence (Tosef., Sheḳ. ii. 14); senior of Joshua b. Hananiah. He survived the destruction of Jerusalem, and was present at the memorable sessions of the Jabneh (Jamnia) Sanhedrin that laid the foundation of the Talmudic treatise 'Eduyot, and before which he gave certain "evidences" (Yeb. xiv. 2; Giṭ. v. 5; comp. 'Eduy. vii. 9). One rabbinical source makes of him a disciple of Gamaliel II. and an expert mathematician (Hor. 10a); but this evidently rests on an error, (= R. Johanan b. Nuri) having been mistaken for (= R. Johanan b. Gudgada). As it reads, the story is anachronistic, since Johanan was older than Joshua, who was the senior of Gamaliel. Of Johanan's life and work nothing more is known than that he gave the above-mentioned evidences (see also Ḥul. 55b), and that he was a Ḥaber (Ḥag. ii. 7).

Two of Johanan's grandsons, or nephews, are said to have lived in the days of Rabbi. They were deaf-mutes, but regularly attended Rabbi's lectures, and by the motions of their heads and lips appeared to follow and understand him (Ḥag. 3a). Now, as Johanan had reached the age of manhood prior to the destruction of the Temple (70 C.E.), it is chronologically incredible that his nephews, or even his grandsons, should have attended Rabbi's lectures in the last decades of the second century. It might therefore be assumed that here also was misread , were it not that another, more reliable source precludes that assumption. There it is said: "The sons of Johanan b. Gudgada were deaf-mutes; still they were entrusted with the direction of ritualistic matters in Jerusalem" (Tosef., Ter. i. 1; Yer. Ter. i. 40b). They were therefore contemporaries of Joshua; and accordingly it may be conjectured that in the Babylonian version the initial sign in (= R. Joshua) was converted into the letter ב; hence the erroneous name ("Rabbi").

  • Brüll, Mebo ha-Mishnah, i. 93;
  • Frankel, Darke ha-Mishnah, p. 99;
  • Heilprin, Seder ha-Dorot, ii., s.v.;
  • Weiss, Dor, ii. 122.
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