Rabbinic Literature in the Middle Ages 1000–1492

Israel Ta-Shma

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780199280322
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577260 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Rabbinic Literature in the Middle Ages 1000–1492

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This article deals with rabbinic literature, considering what rabbis wrote in the context of performing their rabbinic functions: halachic literature in all its aspects — talmudic commentary, books of legal decisions, responsa, halachic monographs, works on prayer and liturgy, the holidays, and customs. The corpus of medieval rabbinic texts, which is today witnessing a renaissance, constitutes the basis of what is called mishpat ivri (Jewish law). It is possible to describe this literature according to four different categories: geography, chronology, content, and literary genre. The description here is related to content and literary genre, while taking note of geographical and chronological divisions. The books were mostly from European countries — Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Provence. Rabbinic literature began to be produced in all the European regions more or less at the beginning of the eleventh century.

Keywords: halachic literature; rabbis; talmudic commentary; Jewish law; Germany; Provence

Article.  9698 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies ; History of Religion

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