Menachem Mendel

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Abelard, the Tosafot and This Blog

I decided to change around the template of this blog. I will try and do a few more changes in the coming weeks. As to the quote in the header, “Dubitando quippe ad inquisitionem venimus; inquirendo veritatem percipimus”, it is from Abelard’s introduction to his Sic et Non. Its translation is “Therefore, by doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry, we grasp truth.” The entire translation of his introduction can be found here. Jose Faur in his important essay on the Tosafot, “The Legal Thinking of Tosafot,” in Dine Israel 6 (1975), quotes extensively from this introduction of Abelard and compares it to the hermeneutical methods of the Tosafot. E.E. Urbach is very critical of Faur for what he claims is Faur’s opinion that the methodologies which the Tosafot used to study Talmud were taken from the Scholastics and Glossators (see Baalei HaTosafot, p. 87, n. 9). I.M. Ta-Shema correctly points out that this is not what Faur said, rather Faur claimed that “similar historical circumstances naturally create similar responses.” In my opinion there is still much to researched and written about this question.


I.M. Ta-Shema, “Halakha and Reality-The Tosafist Experience” in Rashi et la culture juive en France du Nord au moyen âge“, pp. 313-329. For more on the question see Ephraim Kanarfogel, Jewish Education and Society in the High Middle Ages, esp. ch. 5.

2 Responses to “Abelard, the Tosafot and This Blog”

  1. 1
    Menachem Mendel:

    Jose Faur is brilliant but his mtehod is ‘leshitoso’. As is known, it requires drawing far-flung connections and then using high quality rhetoric to make them look reasonable.

    I agree that more work needs to be done on this idea. What it does not explain is how this method became so strongly ingrained in talmudic study to this day and did not dissappear with the glossators. This fact suggests that it is indigenous and organic to Talmudic study and not an external import.
    avakesh | Homepage | 01.05.07 – 12:02 pm | #

  2. 2
    studying bible:

    Hrmm that is weird, my remark got swallowed. Anywho I want to to express it’s nice to learn that someone else also discussed this as I had trouble simply finding the same info in other places. This became the very first place which helped me understand why. Thank you.




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