"Peering Through the Lattices"
Mystical, Magical, and Pietistic Dimensions in the Tosafist Period
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: Wayne State University Press
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As often occurs in scholarship, findings and pathways that are chanced uponinitially can ultimately yield significant results. After the completion of myJewish Education and Society in the High Middle Ages, which focused primarily onthe societal and curricular structures of education and rabbinic learning inmedieval Ashkenaz, I began, mainly for a change of pace, to reread and to...
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The completion of a book represents an opportunity for appropriaterecognition of those who contributed to its development and formulation, aswell as to those who enhanced the author's intellectual, professional, andpersonal well-being. Unfortunately, I must begin by noting the untimely deathof a lifelong mentor, Rabbi Hirsh Fishman z"l- I take some consolation in the...
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Introduction: Perceptions of Tosafist Spirituality&
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The tosafists did not inherit a philosophical tradition, nor did they have accessto or interest in the developments and changes regarding philosophy andreligious thought that were occurring throughout contemporary Christiansociety1 Scholars who have studied the creativity and literature of the tosafistshave assigned them a very limited role in mystical or esoteric studies as well....
1 Asceticism, Pietism, and Perishut
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The German Pietists combined their interest in esoteric studies with anextensive program of pietistic behaviors and outlooks. These includedmanifestations of asceticism and perishut such as acts of self-denial (beyondthose observances mandated by Jewish law), the professing of extreme humilitybordering on self-humiliation, and sustained or pronounced stringency in...
2 Pietistic Tendencies in Prayer and Ritual
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There were a number of rabbinic figures and tosafists in medieval Ashkenazwho subscribed to and worked with the exoteric biblical interpretations of theGerman Pietists, including the Pietists' particular usages of techniques such asgematria and notariqon, and their interpretation of patterns or anomalies withinthe masoretic text (tecamim shel Torah/HumasK)} Moreover, there were those...
3 Mysticism and Magic: Pre-Crusade Traditions and the Reaction of Early Tosafists
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There was substantial interest in torat ha-sod on the part of rabbinic scholars inpre-Crusade Germany, but it existed almost exclusively in Mainz and, withinMainz, among members of the Abun and Qalonymus families.1 R. Simeon b.1Sodot that circulated in Italy (and France) during the late ninth and early tenthcenturies were brought to the Rhineland by migrating Qalonymides, members of the...
4 Between Tosafists and German Pietists
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The dialectical method pioneered by Rabbenu Tarn and other early tosafistsheld sway in northern France and Germany throughout the twelfth andthirteenth centuries.1 The influence of these scholars is perhaps also evident inthose Tosafot texts that appear to downplay or modify mystical or magicalinterpretations proposed by Rashi and others.2 At the same time, however,...
5 Integration and Expansion during the Thirteenth Century
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Two of the most important thirteenth-century tosafist halakhists, R. Isaac b.Moses Or Zarucf of Vienna (d.c.1250) and R. Meir of Rothenburg (d.1293,who studied in his youth with R. Isaac), represent German rabbinic traditions.Nonetheless, they also spent considerable time studying with leading rabbinicscholars in northern France and should be considered, on balance, as the heirs...
6 Conclusions and Implications
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The data assembled and presented in this study suggest that ascetic practicesand mystical and magical teachings were a recognizable part of the spirituallives of a number of twelfth- and thirteenth-century tosafists. Although thebcfalei ha-Tosafot were known primarily for their achievements and advance-ments in the realm of talmudic studies, many of them were familiar with both...
Appendix: Ashkenazic Rabbinic Scholars
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Index of Manuscript References
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Index of Names and Subjects
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2000