Was Hebrew Bible Canonized at Jamnia?
Jamnia or Yavneh (יַבְנֶה) in the 1st century AD was a small town located along Israel’s southern coastal plain between Jaffa and Ashdod. It is believed that Jamnia hosted the discussions pertaining to the establishment of the Jewish canon and Hebrew Bible was canonized in Jamnia. According to rabbinic sources, when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD, Yochanan ben Zakkai (a leading Pharisaic proto-rabbinic leader who opposed the Saddusaic leadership) established a center of learning in Jamnia. This attracted proto-rabbinic scholars to this area.
Since the late nineteenth century, many scholars have believed that in approximately 90 AD a religious council convened in Jammia and closed the boundaries of what eventually became the Jewish canon. According to the Talmud, after the Temple’s destruction, Jamnia gradually became a new spiritual center in Israel. Israel’s legislative body (the Great Beit Din later referred to as the Sanhedrin) relocated to Jamnia (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 31a). Other names often associated with Jamnia are Gamliel II, the leader of Bet Din, and Akiva ben Joseph, a charismatic leader from the days of Bar Kochba Revolt.