scribe (skrĪb) [key], Jewish scholar and teacher (called in Hebrew, Soferim ) of law as based upon the Old Testament and accumulated traditions. The work of the scribes laid the basis for the Oral Law, as distinct from the Written Law of the Torah. The period of their activity is in doubt. They may have been active from the time of Ezra (c.444 B.C.) to that of Simeon the Just. In Talmudic literature, the term may be applied to any interpreter of the Law from Moses to the period just before the compilation of the Mishna.