Tannaim (tänäˈĭm) [key] [plural of Aramaic tanna, = one who studies or teaches], Jewish sages of the period from Hillel to the compilation of the Mishna. They functioned as both scholars and teachers, educating those in the synagogues as well as in the academies. Their opinions are found either in the Mishna or as collected in the Tosefta. After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (A.D. 70), Johanan ben Zakkai reconstituted the academy at Jabneh (see Jamnia), where the work of the Tannaim flourished. Akiba ben Joseph was among their disciples. The final compilation and redaction of the opinions and rulings of the tannaim was carried out c.200 under the administration of Judah ha-Nasi, and resulted in the Mishna, which is accorded canonical status and forms the basis for all subsequent rabbinic discussions. The Tannaim were succeeded by the Amoraim.
See H. L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1931, repr. 1969).