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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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The Riddle of Me’iri’s Recent Popularity

The Riddle of Me’iri’s Recent Popularity

(p.394) Chapter Fifteen The Riddle of Me’iri’s Recent Popularity
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the recent popularity of R. Menaḥem ha Me'iri of Perpignan. It is commonly thought that the works of R. Menaḥem ha Me'iri were first published in the twentieth century. This is correct if one is referring to the series of Me'iri publications that Avraham Sofer produced from the huge, six-volume manuscript in the Parma Palatina Library, and which contains the Bet ha-Beḥirah on most of the tractates of the Talmud. However, a glance at any bibliography will immediately reveal that the Bet ha-Beḥirah on many tractates was already published in the eighteenth century. Some parts of it were printed in the eighteenth century, a few more in the nineteenth; but they were swiftly forgotten. In fact, the revival of his work did not begin in the 1930s: initially Sofer's publications had little impact. Only in the latter half of the twentieth century did they become popular, and various scholars moved quickly to put out the Bet ha-Beḥirah on other tractates of the Talmud and to publish new editions of the works that Sofer had already published, and these editions have been repeatedly reprinted. Why the centuries-long indifference and why the revival of the past sixty years? The chapter answers these questions.

Keywords:   Menaḥem ha-Me'iri, Avraham Sofer, Bet ha-Beḥirah, Talmud, tractates

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