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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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Ravad of Posquières: A Programmatic Essay

Ravad of Posquières: A Programmatic Essay

(p.253) Chapter Ten Ravad of Posquières: A Programmatic Essay
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Ravad of Posquières, 'the greatest of Maimonidean critics'. Ravad's Hassagot were a sparsely disseminated work. Throughout the medieval period, when Ravad's influence was both massive and decisive, his glosses on the Mishneh Torah were little known and of less influence. It was Ravad's commentaries that first broke free from the geonic moorings, and it was these exegetical works that heralded the intellectual independence of Europe. His work was less definitive than Rashi's and far less comprehensive, but more original. It was his almost unparalleled capacity to confront talmudic texts unaided, to wrest their meaning single-handedly, that allowed Ravad to penetrate into those areas where no commentarial tradition was available — halakhic midrashim, tractates Kinnim, and 'Eduyot — and to range far and wide over the Yerushalmi and the Tosefta.

Keywords:   Ravad of Posquières, Hassagot, Maimonidean critic, Mishneh Torah, intellectual independence, commentaries, talmudic texts, halakhic midrashim, tractates Kinnim, 'Eduyot

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