On the Nuances of Reading Tosafist Literature and Other Medieval Rabbinic Texts for Trends in Religious Observance
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In recent years, historical scholarship has increasingly turned to the literature of the Tosafists and other medieval talmudists and halakhists in order to establish or support trends in religious observance among the laity. However, the extraction of accurate societal patterns from these rabbinic writings, which is a most welcome development, must take into account the often complex thought processes, methods, and proclivities of the authors, along with the precise textual histories and scope of the literature itself. This methodological study provides examples of the possible pitfalls that can emerge if interpretive strategies, textual provenance, and breadth of erudition are not fully considered.
Kanarfogel, E. (2017). On the Nuances of Reading Tosafist Literature and Other Medieval Rabbinic Texts for Trends in Religious Observance. Jewish History, 31(1/2), 83-102, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10835-017-9276-y .
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