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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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Mishneh Torah: Polemic and Art

Mishneh Torah: Polemic and Art

(p.378) Chapter Fifteen Mishneh Torah: Polemic and Art
Collected Essays: v. 2

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter suggests solutions to the problems raised in the previous chapter. It also attempts to show whether its resolution yields any deeper insights into the nature of Mishneh Torah. It first discusses the Karaite challenge. In doing so, the chapter argues for an anti-Karaite dimension in the structure of ‘Hilkhot Shabbat’. It contends that this other dimension reveals afresh the nature of Mishneh Torah. The chapter then turns to a new perspective on Mishneh Torah by taking a detour — moving to a different vantage point and returning only later to the initial point of departure. The Ba'alei ha-Tosafot generally ignored Maimonides just as they ignored the developments in Provence. Like most revolutionaries, they operated on the assumption that neither the past, in the form of the Geonim, nor the present, in the shape of non-Tosafists, had much to teach them, nor could they help them solve the new problems which they had uncovered.

Keywords:   Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Karaites, Hilkhot Shabbat, Ba'alei ha-Tosafot, Sabbath

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