scribes

[scribe] (Hebrew: Sopherim, lawyers)

In Jewish polity, men of letters, versed in the law of Moses. In 2 Kings 8, the scribe Josaphat was official recorder or secretary pf David, and thus passim in the historical books. In 4 Kings 25, the man who had charge of the military muster is called a Sopher or scribe. The chief meaning of the term, however, is a man of letters whose office it was to explain the law of Moses. In this sense Esdras is called "scribe of the law of the God of heaven" (1 Esdras 7). The Talmud declares that the scribes as counselors assisted the judges in their official acts. Their social status was eminent; they received great homage from the people. The most celebrated of the scribes were Aillel, Schammai, and Gamaliel the teacher of Saint Paul the Apostle. The scribes were closely associated with the Pharisees, and served them as their lawyers. They shared the Pharisees' hatred of Christ, and were imbued with a high degree of Pharisaic hypocrisy and venality.

New Catholic Dictionary

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