By: S. Mendelsohn
Babylonian amora of the third century, disciple of Mar Samuel (Yeb. 83b, Ḳid. 39a), and contemporary of Rab Huna and Mar 'Uḳba II. (Ket. 69a). Anecdote and legend combine to illustrate Anan's renown for extreme conscientiousness in his capacity as judge in civil cases, as well as for his theosophic speculations. The books "Seder Eliyahu Rabbah" and "Seder Eliyahu Zuṭṭa," mysterious in more than one sense, are said to have been composed during visitations Anan received from the prophet Elijah (Ket. 106a). (See Tanna debe Eliyahu R.) Anan was prominent as a teacher of civil law and of ritual; and though R. Naḥman once criticized one of his arguments—remarking, "While attending Mar Samuel, you must have spent your time in playing at checkers" (or "chess," Iskundré, Ḳid. 21b)—he highly respected him, and addressed him with the title of Mar ("Master," Ḥul. 56a). R. Huna, on his part, did not consider Anan his equal; and when the latter once addressed to him a message, headed. "To Huna, our colleague, greetings," he felt himself depreciated and replied in a manner that greatly embarrassed Anan (Ket. 69a). In the field of the Haggadah, Anan rarely appears, and then only as the transmitter of observations of his predecessors. But many of his teachings were probably incorporated with those of the students of the school that bore his name, Debe Rab Anan (Suk. 49b; Ber. 30b; Shab. 119a; Yer. Shab. iii. 5c (compare Bab. Shab. 37a); 'Er. 74b; Yeb. 97a; Yer. Yeb. ix. 10b; Ket. 79a; Giṭ. 44b; Shebu'ot, 40b; Ḥul. 4b, 38a, 56a).