Sacred Leaves Graduate Symposium Collection
Do Halakhic texts talk history? The medieval legal Hebrew text Or zaruʻa as a primary historical source
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Or zaruʻa ("light is sown," Psalms 97:11) is one of the most important medieval Jewish legal (halakhic) codes, written by Isaac ben Moses of Vienna (ca. 1180-1250). Only two medieval manuscripts of Or zaruʻa have survived. One is kept in the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, the Jewish Special Collection of the Library of the University of Amsterdam; the other is in the British Library in London. Or zaruʻa represents a sophisticated interweave of Talmudic texts, halakhic responsa, discussions of customs of medieval German and French Jewries, historical events and contemporary science. Besides, it contains unique information on the daily contacts between medieval Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. This presentation addresses the text of Or zaruʻa as a primary historical source. This approach is innovative though not entirely unproblematic, since rabbinic legal codes were never intended to record actual historical events.
Sacred books, History and criticism
Symposia (conferences); Video recordings
Saelemaekers, Monika, "Do Halakhic texts talk history? The medieval legal Hebrew text Or zaruʻa as a primary historical source" (2008). Sacred Leaves Graduate Symposium Collection. 5.