Tractate Sanhedrin, Herbert Danby tr. , at sacred-texts.com
M.2. "The elder who defies the court: "it is written, IF A MATTER BE TOO DIFFICULT FOR THEE TO JUDGE, BETWEEN BLOOD AND BLOOD, AND BETWEEN PLEA AND PLEA, 4 etc. There were three courts: one at the gate of the Temple yard, one at the door of the Temple Mount, and one in the Hewn Chamber. They come to the court at the gate of the Temple Mount, and he (the accused elder) says, "Thus have I expounded, and thus have my colleagues expounded; such and such have I pleaded, and such and such have my colleagues pleaded." 5 Then if they (of the
M.court of the Temple Mount) had heard any tradition (bearing on the point) they told it. If not, they come to the court which is at the gate of the Temple yard, and he (the aforesaid elder) says, "Thus have I expounded, and thus have my colleagues expounded; such and such have I pleaded, and such and such have my colleagues pleaded." Then if they (of the gate of the Temple yard) had any tradition, they told it. If not, both courts went to the Great Court in the Hewn Chamber, whence the Law goes out to all Israel, as it is written, FROM THAT PLACE WHICH THE LORD SHALL CHOOSE. 1 Then, if the accused elder return to his city, and expound and plead as he was wont to teach, 2 he is innocent; but if he direct the judgment to be carried out, he is guilty, for it is written, THE MAN THAT DOETH PRESUMPTUOUSLY, 3 etc.;--he is not guilty until he direct the carrying out of the judgment. A mere disciple 4 who should direct the carrying out of the judgment is innocent; hence what appears to be severity against him is found to be leniency.
3. It is more serious to offend against decrees of the Scribes than against decrees of the Law. 5 One
M.who says, "There should be no phylacteries," thereby transgressing against the words of the Law, 1 is innocent; but he who says, "There should be five 2 passages of Scripture in them," adding to what the Scribes ordain, is guilty.
The defiant elder was not put to death by the court of his own city nor by that in Jabne, but was brought up to the Great Court in Jerusalem, kept in prison till a festival, and put to death on a festival, for it is written, ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL HEAR AND FEAR, 3--so R. Akiba; but R. Jehuda says, "His case should not be delayed, 4 but he should be put to death at once, while they write, despatching the news everywhere: N. son of N. has been condemned to death by the Court."
137:4 Deut. 17. 8-13.
137:5 The whole of this sentence has dropped out of C by error.
138:1 Deut. 17. 10.
138:2 Not in accordance with the instructions of the supreme Sanhedrin. The mere teaching does not carry with it criminal liability.
138:3 Deut. 17. 12.
138:4 One who has not been co-opted to any court as judge, and has, therefore, no right to utter decisions, much less to carry them into practice. Though this may be a disability, the fact that he cannot suffer the penalty of the defiant elder must be regarded as a counterbalancing gain.
138:5 Because, to decide a matter in opposition to the written Law carries with it its own condemnation; whereas, to oppose the oral p. 139 tradition (of equal authority with the Law of Moses; see Pirke Aboth I. 1 ff.) does not, to the same degree, stand self-condemned; and is, therefore, the more pernicious. Cf. Matt. 15. 6; Mark 7. 8.
139:1 Deut. 6. 8.
139:2 The Scribes ordain four; Exod. 13. 1-10; 11-16; Deut. 6. 4-9; 11. 13-21.
139:3 Deut. 17. 13.
139:4 For reasons which he gives in Tosefta XI. 7.