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Mystical Theology and Social DissentThe Life and Works of Judah Loew of Prague$
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Byron L. Sherwin

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780197100516

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780197100516.001.0001

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Judah Loew: Writings and Sources

Judah Loew: Writings and Sources

Chapter:
(p.38) 4 Judah Loew: Writings and Sources
Source:
Mystical Theology and Social Dissent
Author(s):

Byron L. Sherwin

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9780197100516.003.0004

This chapter explores the nature and the scope of Judah Loew's literary work. Rabbi Loew's first published work was the Gur Aryeh (The Lion's Whelp, 1578), a supercommentary on Solomon ben Isaac's (Rashi) eleventh-century commentary to the Pentateuch. In 1582, Loew's second published work appeared, entitled Gevurot Ha-Shem. At the end of the introduction to this work, Loew outlines the titles and contents of six projected works, which would discuss theological and, to a lesser extent, halakhic problems relating to the religious holidays of the Jewish yearly cycle. However, of the six projected works, only three survived, albeit with slightly changed titles. Loew also wrote two works on the moral and religious values of Judaism: Derekh Ha-Ḥayyim (1589) and Netivot Olam (1595). In 1600, Loew published a polemical defense of rabbinic literature, entitled Be'er Ha-Golah (Well of the Exile). In addition, five of Loew's sermons were also published. From what must have been extensive writings on Jewish religious law, only scanty documents have survived. From what must have been many responsa, only one has been preserved and published during Loew's lifetime, namely, the Responsum on the Deserted Wife. The chapter then considers the nature of the sources from which Rabbi Loew drew to compose his works and to help formulate his ideas.

Keywords:   Judah Loew, Gur Ayeh, Gevurot Ha-Shem, Jewish religious holidays, Judaism, rabbinic literature, sermons, Jewish religious law, responsa, Jewish yearly cycle

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