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Book Notes: Tosafoth Chachmei Anglia (5 vols.)

A. Schischa

<plain_text><page sequence="1">TOSAFOTH CHACHMEI ANGLIA ;kspx? Naa md? Vin n^no? na?? Vs? &gt; sprnp rooa *?sn n?ra naon , mt miar roo&amp; Vs;&gt; ;rmmo ddd? , ? ? ? nsno amax a*m :orD -T ann nsio omaa am :idio -y-xa-in nsno omaa ann :-idio -t2? ?? k ann 1. E. D. Pines (editor), Tosfoth Chachmei Anglia, Gittin, Jerusalem, 1968, 8?, 12, 100 pp., 4 facs. 2. Abraham Schreiber (ed.), Sanhedrin, Jerusalem, 1968, 8?, 16, 124 [4] pp., 5 facs. 3. E. D. Pines (ed.), Pesachim, Baba Mezia, Jerusalem, 1969, 88, 182 pp., 5 facs. 4. Abraham Schreiber and Shlomo Sopher (eds), Betzah, Kidushin and Megillah, Jerusalem, 1970, 8?, 12, inc. 4 facs., 152 [4] pp. 5. Abraham Schreiber and Shlomo Sopher (eds), Nidah and Avoda ^arah, Jerusalem, 1971, 8?, 16, inc. 4 facs., 184 [4] pp.</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes 223 The manuscript on which this five-volume edition is based forms part of the I. B. de Rossi collection in the Biblioteca Palatina at Parma. The original owner, De Rossi, described the Codex in his MSS Codices Hebraici Bibliotheca I. B. de Rossi, etc., Parma, 1803. He identified the contents of the MS erroneously as a copy of the p"&amp;0 = pp TVnS? ISO. It was not until a microfilm of the MS came into the possession of the Institute of Hebrew Manu? scripts, Jerusalem, and that the learned Direc? tor of the Institute, Dr. E. F. Kupfer, had an opportunity to investigate it that the true subject-matter became apparent?it is a hitherto unknown Tosafoth compilation, con? taining commentaries to no fewer than ten Tractates of the Talmud. The Codex also contains a number of excerpts of the j?"ftO which in themselves are of little value,1 and an addendum to Tosafoth Gittin, a concise summary of the Laws of Divorce as summarised by Rabbi Berahyah of Nicole = Lincoln.2 Fragments of this short treatise were known before, but Dr. E. F. Kupfer published it in full for the first time.3 Dr. Kupfer passed his discovery for further examination to Professor E. E. Urbach,4 who came to the conclusion that these Tosafoth are the compilation of, alas, an unidentifiable Anglo-Jewish savant, and that its date cannot be later than 1284. His conclusions were reached mainly on internal evidence: the many 1 These excerpts coming at the beginning of the volume might have been the cause of De Rossi's mistake. 2 It is interesting that Rabbi Jacob Hazan of London records in his D^TI f 57&gt; Vol. 2, Jerusalem, p. 179, a ruling in a matter of Get orally expressed to him by Rabbi Berahyah of Nicole = Lincoln. 3 T h)3 ^2p&gt; Vol. 16, pt. 1, pp. 140-142. It was reprinted from the MS by Rabbi E. D. Pines in Tosafoth Gittin, pp. 79-87. Fragments of this treatise were discovered by Dr. Cecil Roth in a Bodleian MS and published by him in the Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 1, No. 2, p. 76, and from there (with due acknowledgment) by Rabbi M. Y. L. Sacks in VpODl ttmrfrtt irrVtf lim tP1TS&gt; Jerusalem, 1956, pp. 164-165. 4 Professor E. E. Urbach is the author of (among much else) DmirPfl DHTinVin DIDOU"! ^2 DriD^lj Jerusalem, 1955 (and reprinted since), which is the standard work on the subject. scholars cited by name who were residents of London, Cambridge, Lincoln, Norwich, and Northampton. Some of these were known as Rabbis and scholars from previously published sources, but of others we hear for the first time in these Tosafoth. They were versed in the whole range of Talmudic literature, and had intimate knowledge of the work of the French Tosafists. Their contribution to the subject is original and profound.5 It is due to Professor Urbach's dissertation and even more to his initiative that this Codex was brought to the attention of Rabbi Abraham Schreiber-Sopher. The octogenarian Rabbi Schreiber has dedicated a lifetime to editing an almost countless number of volumes of mediaeval commentaries to the Talmud? the ideal editor for the difficult MS of our Tosafist. So as to speed up its publication he asked his son, Rabbi Avi Ad Sar Shalom Sopher, and Rabbi E. D. Pines, of Lugano (a relative by marriage), to collaborate with him. They worked on separate Tractates, and the result of this somewhat loose co-operation is that this very difficult text has been published in this magnificent five-volume edition6 within the short span of three years. It should be added that it was a purely 'private-enterprise' venture. The text is most carefully edited and annotated, quotations from Talmud and codes are checked and references correctly given, and wherever variants were found they are pointed out and explained. Corroborative 5 See Professor Urbach's contribution to the Festschrift dedicated to Sir Israel Brodie, Hebrew part, nnKDD London, 1967, pp. 1-56; ?riTin ^dVb rrV?a ???sn bv wmna. Professor Urbach collected everything that is quoted in the names of Anglo-Jewish Rabbis and printed it with exhaustive annotations. 6 The only commentary in this codex not pub? lished in this edition is the Tosafoth of Rabbi Yehuda Sir Leon to Berahoth. But that text had already been published in Warsaw, 1862. (Is it just a curious coincidence that this volume should also contain the Tosafoth of Rabbi Yehuda Sir Leon, or does it give some support to Joseph Jacobs's very tenuous theory that R. Yehuda Sir Leon was one of the scholars who spent many years in Angevin England? See Joseph Jacobs: Jews in Angevin England, London, 1893, pp. 406-416.)</page><page sequence="3">224 Book Notes literature is drawn upon in full, in particular the whole Tosaflst literature of the period. Each volume is prefaced by the respective editor, and has good indexes. Rabbi Schreiber, in some of his findings, disagrees with those of Professor Urbach?e.g., Professor Urbach is of the opinion that the MS is the unidentified compiler's autograph;7 Rabbi Schreiber reasons that this assumption is untenable, and he is of the opinion that it is the work of a copyist.8 One of the indexes is a list of all the French (Norman?) words which the Tosafist used in that particular volume to explain difficult Aramaic terms,9 alas, without their transcrip? tion into roman characters. Our knowledge of the vocabulary used by pre-expulsion Jewry in their domestic life is very scanty?the language of the Shetaroth and other documents is the formal language of the era used by Jews and non-Jews alike. A list of the words in these five volumes in conjunction with similar lists culled from the three volumes of the D^fl fS710 could be the start of a study in this respect. Indeed, is it just the language spoken by the 7 Professor Urbach, ibid., p. 2. He suggests that the scribe should be identified with the one who wrote the Norwich Sh'tar published in facsimile in Dr. A. S. N. Birnbaum's The Hebrew Script, Plate Volume, London, 1954-57, Plate No. 322. If that were correct, of course, one could place the origin of this codex to Norwich in or around 1280, the date of that Sh'tar. However, a cursory comparison of the said plate with the various facsimiles in the five volumes (which are admittedly reduced in size and far from good) must raise doubts about the validity of this assumption. 8 Introduction to vol. Gittin, p. 4. This view is also shared by Rabbi Pines and Rabbi Shlomo Sopher. 9 One word I found translated into English; see vol. Nidah, p. 118: ? ND*?W [-S-rfO seems to be 'planks', i.e., a door made of one single planed plank. (See Jastrow, A Dictionary, etc., under ND*^ p. 1565 of Ghoreb edition.) Incidentally, this is a further proof, if any were needed, that Professor Urbach's identification is correct. Were it not compiled in England by an English-speaking scholar, what purpose would there be in translating a word into English? (It would be interesting to know why the author found it necessary to translate just this word into French and English.) 10 Vol. 3, pp. 328-331. Jews of Normandy and Angevin England or is there something specifically English about it ? Our knowledge of the history of pre-1292 Jewry is based on the massive work done by some of the finest mediaevalists of Anglo Jewish historiography. To mention just some, Myer Davis, Joseph Jacobs, Stokes, Rich, Michael Adler, Dr. Herbert Loewe, Richard? son, and Dr. V. D. Lipman. And thanks to the sustained effort of the Jewish Historical Society of England since its foundation to publish every record of medieval Jewry, a massive corpus of published primary source material is available for the historian to evaluate. How? ever, this vast quantity of documents presents a one-sided story, i.e., that of a community immersed in commerce and finance, with all its corollary manifestations. The only indica? tion of some intellectual life is in the occasional appellation to some personages of Magister, Arch-Presbyter, or suchlike, suggesting faintly some form of communal organisation and spiritual leadership.11 This picture has under? gone a gradual change over the last three decades with the publication of the works of Rabbi Elijah of London,12 the three-volume edition of D^fl fS?,13 and the republishing of the Poems of Rabbi Meir of Norwich.14 In this context mention should also be made 11 See Professor Cecil Roth's various articles on this subject and in particular his 'The intellectual activities of medieval English Jewry', The British Academy, London, Oxford, 1949. 12 See Professor J. N. Epstein's detailed study of the MS commentary to Tractate Berahoth and to Mishnah order Seraim in HT7n,,n *,S?"7D&gt; vol. 1, Jerusalem, 1926, pp. 51-71: in1'1?? 130H tfsnn irona1? ?pmii1?? tod Yn oma- The MS was published by Rabbi M. Y. L. Sacks: JTSnt H?b Um?} ITT1?? 131*1 ^pOD, Jerusalem, 1941, and VpDDl t^mil1?? irT7K 13m P1TD? Jerusalem, 1956. The commentary to the Hagada was published from an Upsala MS by Dr. J. D. Wilhelm in *pmn&gt; vol. 22, pp. 46-52 (also off printed), and reprinted in Rabbi M. Y. L. Sacks's 2nd vol., pp. 150-158 (fully annotated). ?3 3 vols. Edited by the Chief Rabbi, Sir Israel Brodie, Jerusalem, 1962-1964-1967. 14 Edited and annotated by Professor A. M. Hab ermann, Jerusalem, and printed in Dr. V. D. Lipman's The Jews hi Medieval Norwich, J.H.S.E., London, 1967.</page><page sequence="4">Book Notes 225 of the very important Cabbalistic text pub? lished by Prof. G. Vajda (Paris) from MS. sources by another hitherto hardly known pre expulsion scholar. It is one version of the eso? teric commentary of Rabbi Elhanan Isaac ben Yakar to HTIT *1D0.15 The five volumes of Tosafoth, if correctly evaluated (in conjunction with the other works mentioned), will redress the position and present a completely different angle indeed. Angevin Jewry can now be seen as a virile community, staunch in observance and well endowed with learned men, spread across almost the whole area of known Jewish settlement. A. Schischa is Prof. G. Vajda, T Vi? f2p, vol. 16, pt. 1, pp. 145-197, under the heading ]1P*nn WITS iddV jnnVa np* p prw pnVx . JIT'S1' There are still further writings of Rabbi Elhanan Isaac awaiting publication.</page></plain_text>

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