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Avraham Grossman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113898

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113898.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 July 2021

Between Innovation and Conservatism

Between Innovation and Conservatism

(p.289) Chapter Eleven Between Innovation and Conservatism

Avraham Grossman

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the innovations that Rashi introduced. There is a degree of innovation in the attention Rashi devoted to interpreting the Bible and liturgical poems, in the breadth of his interpretative effort, and in the very transformation of the interpretative genre into the central intellectual activity within the Jewish society of his time—at first in France and Germany and ultimately beyond them. However, Rashi's four most important innovations are in the area of education. First is the openness and willingness to accept Torah teachings from all the Jewish centres in Europe and the Muslim lands, including Babylonia, the Land of Israel, Italy, Germany, Provence, and Spain. Second is critical analysis, while the third is Rashi's encouragement of literary production by students while they were still students. Fourth is his attitude to custom. In his willingness to abrogate some customs, Rashi took an independent path at odds with those of his contemporary Ashkenazi sages. The chapter then considers how Rashi attained his historic status.

Keywords:   Rashi, innovation, biblical interpretation, interpretative genre, Jewish society, education, Torah teachings, Jewish centres, literary production, customs

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