1286 R. Meir ben Barukh (Maharam) of Rothenburg, the leading rabbinic figure of his day, is arrested in Lombardy and delivered to Rudolph of Habsburg
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The arrest, imprisonment, and death (in 1293) of R. Meir of Rothenburg signaled the end of the tosafist era. For close to two hundred years, rabbinic scholars in Ashkenaz (northern France and Germany) had been engaged in talmudic and legal (halakhahic) studies that were grounded in a dialectical method that revolutionized the nature of rabbinic interpretation. The study of rabbinic literature in the twelfth century was marked by sustained intellectual creativity, a hallmark of the larger twelfth-century renaissance that changed the face of scholarship in Christian Europe. Almost every section of the Talmud was subjected to close, critical analysis and compared with or contrasted to other relevant talmudic and rabbinic texts. Crucial to this process was the work of R. Solomon b. Isaac (Rashi) of Troyes (1040-1105 ), who attended the academies at both Mainz and Worms, the two major yeshivot of the pre-Crusade period. Rashi's running commentary to most tractates of the Talmud enabled his successors to apply new strategics·of interpretation. The comments produced by Rashi's descendents and other students became known as Tosafot, or addenda. Given their wide scope on the one hand, and their attention to textual detail and nuance on the other, the comments were intended to complement or supplement the talmudic text itself as much as they were meant to probe or to enhance Rashi's commentaries. The scholars who composed the Tosafot were known as ba'alei ha-Tosafot (tosafists).
Kanarfogel, E. (1997). 1286 R. Meir ben Barukh (Maharam) of Rothenburg, the leading rabbinic figure of his day, is arrested in Lombardy and delivered to Rudolph of Habsburg. In Sander L. Gillman and Jack Zipes (eds.), "The Yale Companion to Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture, 1096-1996" (pp. 27-34). New Haven: Yale UP.
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