Notes on the situation in Judaism after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70:
The scholars now reigned supreme within Palestinian Judaism. Family, social standing, and wealth no longer mattered. All that mattered was learning. Study, the scholars said, was even more important than keeping the commandments. They did not claim revelation themselves, and they did not recognize revelation to others. This is well illustrated by the excommunication of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, a conservative scholar who followed the earlier Rabbi Shammai and who, it seems, was something of an individualist. When the Sanhedrin ruled against him on a point relating to ritual purity, he nonetheless insisted that his interpretation was correct. He said he had received a revelation to this effect. So what? said the scholars. The Torah is “not in heaven,” they said, but has been given to man on earth and is to be interpreted by men. At the very time of Rabbi Eliezer’s excommunication, the leader of the Sanhedrin, the great rabbi Gamaliel, was on a ship at sea. A terrible storm arose, and Rabbi Gamaliel feared that he was about to be drowned. Realizing that he was being punished by God for the injury that he and his associates had inflicted upon Rabbi Eliezer, he still refused to back down. Jewish tradition represents him standing on the ship and arguing with the Almighty, contending that the treatment meted out to Rabbi Eliezer had not been done in his own self-interest, but “only for Thine honour, that there shall not be divisions in Israel.”
 Shmuel Safrai, in Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, 327.
 He is not to be confused with the Gamaliel of Acts 5:34-40, who had been dead for many years.
 Cited by Shmuel Safrai, in Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, 324.