EVENT: Legal Knowledge and Everyday Practice in Medieval Ashkenaz (March 15)

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25th Annual Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Lecture in Judaic Studies

Featuring Elisheva Baumgarten, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Tuesday, March 15, 2022   5:00pm ET  |  Zoom

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Jewish legal texts are an important source for social history, and scholars have looked to rabbinic responsa and halakhic codes that detail how the law should be observed in order to better understand how daily life was actually lived. Yet, to what extent do these legal sources reflect the lives of all members of the communities within which they were written? Perhaps they convey only the priorities of the elite learned men who penned them. This talk will ask what kind of legal knowledge everyday Jewish men and women had, and ask to what extent the average Jew in medieval Ashkenaz attempted to observe the halakhah of the rabbinic elite.


Organized by the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and cosponsored by the Department of History and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.