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Akiba ben Joseph

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Akiba ben Joseph: (c. 50-c.135 CE) Among the greatest of the Mishnaic sages. Unless otherwise stated, all Mishnayos are presumed to be in accordance with the Rabbi Akiva's view. He was the son of converts, and an unlearned shepherd. At the age of 40, at the insistence of his wife, he began studying Torah, under Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Joshua ben Hananiah, and Nahum Ish Gamzu ultimately attracting 24,000 students including Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Judah ben Ilai. He supported Bar Kochba's revolt. He was imprisoned and savagely murdered by the Romans for teaching Torah (he is one of the Ten Martyrs).
Two sages of the Talmud debate whether the Jews actually saw heavenly thunder at the giving of the Torah.
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