This volume brings together sixteen of Professor Israel M. Ta-Shma’s outstanding studies that were originally written in English, four of which are being published here for the first time. Set in Germany, northern France, Italy, Poland, and Spain, these essays focus on leading rabbinic scholars and their writings, as well as important issues of Jewish intellectual history, such as the nature of halakhah and aggadah; kabbalah and spirituality; childhood; and popular religion. The richness of these studies is seen not only in their meticulous and innovative textual scholarship but also in the fascinating insights and unanticipated connections that typify all of Ta-Shma’s published work.
The late Israel Ta-Shma was a prolific and gifted writer. He fused a profound knowledge of Jewish legal sources with the latest theories in European history, plumbing the arcane depths of medieval Hebrew manuscripts and obscure historical periods with an ease that allows the reader to enjoy the excitement of the chase. This volume gathers sixteen of his English articles, most of which appeared over the course of the past two decades. For the interested layman, it is an opportunity to discover the richness of Jewish intellectual history during the ‘Dark Ages.’
Israel M. Ta-Shma was Professor Emeritus at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.