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Collected Essays: v. 1$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113973

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113973.001.0001

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Catastrophe and Halakhic Creativity

Catastrophe and Halakhic Creativity

Ashkenaz—1096, 1242, 1306, and 1298

(p.11) Chapter Two Catastrophe and Halakhic Creativity
Collected Essays: v. 1

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the author's essay which surveys the Franco-German Tosafists, titled “Catastrophe and Halakhic Creativity.” The study assumed the form that it did as the author sought to rectify a growing misconception that the massacres of the First Crusade precipitated an intellectual crisis. The events of 1096 were certainly traumatic; psychological shock, however, is not the same as intellectual decline or stagnation. The author found the notion of either of these consequences without foundation, indeed, contrary to everything known about the tosafist movement of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and its immortal achievements. The essay then explores the famous tosafist movement. To broaden the scope of the study, it addresses four crises of the Ashkenazic community in the high Middle Ages and their significance in its intellectual history.

Keywords:   Franco-German Tosafists, halakhic creativity, First Crusade, intellectual crisis, tosafist movement, Ashkenazic community, intellectual history

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