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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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Piety, Pietism, and German Pietism: Sefer Ḥasidim I and the Influence of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz

Piety, Pietism, and German Pietism: Sefer Ḥasidim I and the Influence of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz

(p.79) Chapter Three Piety, Pietism, and German Pietism: Sefer Ḥasidim I and the Influence of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter investigates the the differences between Sefer Ḥasidim I (sections 1–152) and Sefer Ḥasidim. No less striking than the absence of retson ha-Borè (the Will of the Creator), asceticism, and other defining themes of the Pietist movement is the parallel absence in SH I of exempla, which abound in the other sections of Sefer Ḥasidim. Over the course of time, different editors appended SH I to various collections of material of Sefer Ḥasidim, always taking care that SH I opened the collection, ensuring that the reader would first encounter not the startling tenets of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz but rather page after page of conventional pietistic discourse on love of God, fear of God, humility, and so on. It is remarkable to what extent SH I and those passages in Sefer Ḥasidim that were in the spirit of SH I shaped the historical image of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz. Study of the influence of Sefer Ḥasidim on the subsequent literature of Ashkenaz, whether halakhic or ethical, shows that not only were the new ritual world of retson ha-Borè or the book's radical social teachings wholly without influence, but also that they went literally unnoted.

Keywords:   Sefer Ḥasidim, Sefer Ḥasidim I, retson ha-Borè, Pietist movement, Ḥasidei Ashkenaz, German Pietism

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