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Collected EssaysVolume III$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113997

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.001.0001

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On Dating Sefer Ḥasidim

On Dating Sefer Ḥasidim

Chapter:
(p.70) Chapter Two On Dating Sefer Ḥasidim
Source:
Collected Essays
Author(s):

Haym Soloveitchik

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.003.0002

This chapter examines when Sefer Ḥasidim was written. German Pietism was not a mass but an elite movement, a group of spiritual virtuosi, small in numbers but still enough to constitute a movement. If Sefer Ḥasidim is the labor of writers that stretches on to the mid-fourteenth century, we are talking of a movement that lasted four or five generations, or, at the very least, that reflects ideas that gestated for decades and then developed into a movement of âmes d'élite. If, however, Sefer Ḥasidim is the product of the early thirteenth century, it would then appear to be a movement coeval with the lives of the two famous figures associated with it, for there is no mention of its existence at any later date. If so, the movement of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz — in contradistinction to some of the ideas it bequeathed to Ashkenazic Jewry — was a short-lived affair, lasting no more than a generation or two.

Keywords:   Sefer Ḥasidim, German Pietism, Ḥasidei Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jewry, elite movement

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