The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz
Expanding Horizons and Innovating Traditions
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wayne State University Press
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While talmudic studies certainly constituted the primary area of scholaarly endeavor in Ashkenaz during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the goal of this book is to put forward disciplinary and interdisciplinary treatmments and methodologies that will lead, for the first time, to an assessment of the intellectual proclivities of Ashkenazic rabbinic culture as a whole. ...
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Researching and writing this book has proven to be both an exhilarating and daunting task, given its wide disciplinary range and the vast amount of material found in manuscript. Over the years I have been privileged to “sit at the feet” of four leading Jerusalem scholars whose remarkable knowledge and complete mastery of both manuscript and printed texts ...
List of Abbreviations
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Introduction: Regnant Perceptions and Empirical Evidence
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Modern appreciations of the intellectual history of medieval Ashkenazic Jewry during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries have typically focused on the protean achievements of Ashkenazic rabbinic scholars in the realms of talmudic and halakhic studies. It is fair to say that the Tosafists of northern France and Germany revolutionized the study of the Talmud ...
1. Talmudic and Halakhic Studies: Internal Organization and Societal Models
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The Tosafists, best known for their brief yet incisive analytical and compparative comments (Tosafot) to the text of the Talmud as interpreted by Rashi, revolutionized and forever changed the study of the Talmud and the formulation of halakhah through their methods of close reading and wideranging dialectic. ...
2. Tosafist Biblical Exegesis in Northern France at the End of the Twelfth Century: Between Peshat and Derash
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On a certain level we would expect the Tosafists and other leading rabbbinic scholars in medieval Ashkenaz to offer interpretations of biblical verses, since this traditional intellectual endeavor was fully consonant with their central mission as interpreters of the Talmud. ...
3. The Contours of Biblical Interpretation during the Early Thirteenth Century
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The Torah commentary that R. Judah b. Samuel he-Ḥasid (d. 1217) developed and shared with other members of his circle in Regensburg (includiing R. Isaac [b. Ezekiel mi-Morat] of Russia and R. Mordekhai of Poland),1 and which he transmitted to his son R. Moses Zal(t)man (who transcribed it in a form of reportatio), ...
4. Interpretations for a Varied Audience through the Thirteenth Century
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As the thirteenth century unfolds, the first of the so-called Tosafist Torah compilations begin to appear. Included among these are the collection attribuuted to the study hall (or to the students) of Rabbenu Tam (found in ms. Paris 167 and ms. Moscow 322, which contains some later names as well);1 ...
5. Genres and Strategies of Piyyut Composition among the Tosafists
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In his seminal study on the Tosafists, E. E. Urbach refers to some fourteen Tosafists who composed piyyutim, evenly divided between those who hailed from northern France and those who were from Germany. This is not a very large number when measured against the total number of Tosafists known to us, ...
6. Magic and Mysticism in Tosafist Literature and Thought
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As I have demonstrated at length in a book that appeared more than a decade ago, a significant group of northern French and German Tosafists and other rabbinic scholars were involved in the study of Jewish magic and mysticism.1 Interest in these areas was typically combined with a tendency toward asceticism or perishut, ...
7. Tosafist Approaches to Matters of Belief and the Implications for Popular Culture
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Although there has been some renewed discussion about the extent to which medieval Ashkenazic rabbinic scholars were familiar with scientific knowledge and rationalistic modes of thought, the Tosafists surely did not study philosophy as a formal discipline, away from the pages of the Talmmud or the verses of the Bible.1 ...
Conclusion: Ashkenazic Rabbinic Culture in Its Plenitude
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More than a quarter-century ago, Ivan Marcus published a suggestive article in which he maintained that the intellectual history of medieval Spanish or Sefardic Jewry has received a disproportionate share of scholarly attention as compared to the learned endeavors within Ashkenazic society.1 ...
Index of Manuscript References
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Page Count: 496
Publication Year: 2012
Volume Title: N/a