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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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A Note on Deviance in Eleventh-Century Ashkenaz

A Note on Deviance in Eleventh-Century Ashkenaz

(p.278) Chapter Eleven A Note on Deviance in Eleventh-Century Ashkenaz
Collected Essays: v. 1

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the author's essay which challenges Avraham Grossman's portrait of Ashkenaz in the eleventh century. Avraham Grossman has argued that the traditional picture of a deeply observant Ashkenazic community in the eleventh century is an exaggeration, for the responsa literature of that era shows that the community was constantly contending with criminals and violent men. The evidence he adduces may be entered under four headings. The first heading relates to repeated instances throughout the eleventh century of resistance to communal ordinances. The second heading concerns the need of communities to impose fines and excommunication to control their members. The third heading deals with recourse by individuals to Gentile courts. Finally, the fourth heading concerns references in responsa to thieves, perjurers, and occasional strong-arm tactics. The essay analyses each phenomenon in detail.

Keywords:   Avraham Grossman, Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic community, criminals, communal ordinances, excommunication, Gentile courts, thieves, perjurers, strong-arm tactics

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