Page 175 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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KANARFOGEL / ON THE ASSESSMENT OF NAHMANIDES
167
Nahmanides viewed the road toward human perfection in terms
of mystical constructs,32his role in the Maimonidean controversy
was not primarily motivated by anti-philosophical animus.33
Nahmanides is regarded as the leading Spanish talmudist of
the thirteenth century. Already in his student days, however,
he came into contact with the teachings and method of the
Tosaflsts of no rthern France, as well as with Provencal
halakhah.34 The basic methodology employed by Nahmanides
in his talmudic commentaries is Tosafist dialectic. At the same
time, Ramban placed even greater emphasis than the Tosafists
did on reaching and rendering halakhic conclusions as an out­
growth of the exegetical or analytical process.35In terms of style,
Nahmanides’ commentaries conformed to the medieval Spanish
model. As opposed to Tosafist commentaries and halakhic
works, Nahmanides’ students did not play any apparent role
in the written version of his novellae, neither in the discussion,
nor in the formulation and recording.36 Moreover, the other
kinds of halakhic writing that Nahmanides did, such as his mo­
32. On asceticism and
devekut
as components of Ramban’s program for human
perfection, see B. Safran, “R. Azriel and Nahmanides on the Fall of Man,”
esp. p. 84, n. 44; Ritva,
Sefer ha-Zikkaron,
pp. 91-92; C. Henoch,
Ha-Ramban
ke-Hoker u’khe-Mekubbal,
pp. 131-36; and my “Nezirut ve-Nidrei Issur be-
Mishnatam shel ha-Rambam veha-Ramban,”
Hadarom
50 (1990): 79-84. [On
Ramban’s atittude toward the spirituality of women, see Naftali Wieder,
“Al ha-Berakhot Goy-Eved-Ishah,”
Sinai
85 (1979): 111, n. 69, and Chavel’s
response in
Sinai
86 (1980): 96.]
33. Ramban expressed no reservations about
Sefer ha-Madda
and did not wish
to limit access to it in any way. Cf. Septimus,
Hispano-Jewish Culture in Tran­
sition,
pp. 99-102. Regarding Ramban’s stance on
Moreh Nevukhim,
note
the variant readings in Nahmanides’ letter to the rabbis of northern France.
See Chavel,
Kitvei ha-Ramban,
v.l (3rd rev. ed., Jerusalem, 1968), p. 349,
and cf. J. Dan (above, n.16), pp. 36-41.
34. See E.E. Urbach,
Ba’alei ha-Tosafot
(Jerusalem, 1980), pp. 26, 263-64, 479,
586, and Avraham Grossman, “Ha-Kesharim Bein Yahadut Sefarad le-
Yahadut Ashkenaz Bimei ha-Benayim,”
Moreshet Sefarad,
ed. H. Beinart,
pp. 179-82. See also below, n. 50.
35. See I. Unna,
R. Mosheh ben Nahman,
pp. 23-27, and I. Ta-Shema,
“Nahmanides: As Halakhist,”
Encyclopedia Judaica
12:778-79.
36. Mordechai Breuer, “Le-Heker ha-Tippologiyyah shel Yeshivot ha-Ma’arav
Bimei ha-Benayim,”
Studies in the History ofJewish Society in the Middle Ages
and in the Modem Period,
ed. E. Etkes and Y. Salmon (Jerusalem, 1980),
pp. 45-48, and A. Grossman, “Yetziratam ha-Hilkhatit shel Hakhmei
Sefarad,”
Moreshet Sefarad,
pp. 158-60.