||A biography of the amora, Abba Areka, called Rab, d. 247. Abba Areka (or Arika) , who was a celebrated Babylonian amora and founder of the Academy of Sura; flourished in third century; died at Sura in 247. His surname, "Arika", he owed to his height, which exceeded that of his contemporaries. Others, reading "Areka," consider it an honorary title, "Lecturer" . In the traditional literature he is referred to almost exclusively as Rab the Master (both his contemporaries and posterity recognizing in him a master). He is called Rabbi Abba only in the tannaitic literature (for instance, Tosefta, Be'ah, i. 7), where a number of his sayings are preserved. He occupies a middle position between the Tannaim and the Amoraim, and is accorded the right, rarely conceded to one who is only an amora, of disputing the opinion of a tanna (B. B. 42a and elsewhere).
Rab was a descendant of a distinguished Babylonian family which claimed to trace its origin to Shimei, brother of King David (Sanh. 5a; Ket. 62b). His father, Aibo, was a brother of Ḥiyya, who lived in Palestine, and was a highly esteemed scholar in the collegiate circle of the patriarch Judah I. From his associations in the house of his uncle, and later as his uncle's disciple and as a member of the academy at Sepphoris, Rab acquired such an extraordinary knowledge of traditional lore as to make him its foremost exponent in his native land. While Judah I. was still living, Rab, having been duly ordained as teacher, returned to Babylonia, where he at once began a career that was destined to mark an epoch in the development of Babylonian Judaism.