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Collected Essays: v. 2$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113980

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113980.001.0001

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(p.219) Introduction
Collected Essays: v. 2

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

AS NOTED IN THE PREFACE, both my article on Iggeret ha-Shemad, which I wrote as an undergraduate, and that on martyrdom in Ashkenaz, composed a decade or so ago, employ the same criterion of ‘measurable deflection’ to discern whether something extraneous to the halakhic system is impinging upon the thought of a halakhist. That is to say, in order to avoid a simplistic sociology of law that attributes, with little ado, legal conclusions to personal inclinations or some social or economic need, one must be able to point to some uncharacteristic flaw, or, at the very least, some measurable swerve in the line of argument that would indicate the operation of a force deflecting the author’s analysis from its normal course and leading him to unexpected conclusions. Unsurprisingly, this yardstick plays a significant role in other studies of mine published in the intervening years, such as ‘Can Halakhic Texts Talk History?’ and ‘Pawnbroking: A Study in ...

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