The two foremost teachers of the early third century ce in Babylon, belonging to the first generation of Amoraim (see TANNAIM AND AMORAIM). Both Rav (whose personal name was Abba but who was called ‘Rav’ [Rabbi par excellence] in respect for his great learning) and Samuel were born in Babylon but studied in the land of Israel under Rabbi Judah the Prince. On Rav's return to Babylon he settled in the town of Sura where he served as teacher of the law and spiritual guide. Samuel settled in the town of Nehardea where a centre of learning had existed from much earlier times and in which he took the leading role on his return. After Samuel's death, his pupil Rabbi Judah ben Ezekiel settled in Pumbedita. Thus the colleges of Sura and Pumbedita in the period of the Geonim traced their descent from the early third century.
Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.