Page 83 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

Basic HTML Version

R. Moses b. Nahman
they held.31 In suggesting to the Rabbis of Northern France,
ostensibly as a compromise, that
Moreh Nevukhim
be sanctioned
for study only by small groups of capable students, Nahmanides
was perhaps arguing for what he himself believed to be the best
policy in any event. Although 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 Tosafists
of northern France, as well as with Provencal halakhah.34 The
basic methodology employed by Nahmanides in his talmudic com­
mentaries is Tosafist dialectic. At the same time, Ramban placed
even greater emphasis than the Tosafists did on reaching and
rendering halakhic conclusions as an outgrowth of the exegetical
or analytical process.35In terms of style, Nahmanides’ commentar­
ies 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
either in the discussion or in the formulation and recording.36
31. See, e.g., Kahana’s introduction to
Sefer ha-Zikkaron,
pp. 16 -17 .
32. On asceticism and
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. 13 1 -36 ; and my “Nezirut ve-Nidrei Issur be-Mishnatam
shel ha-Rambam veha-Ramban,”
50 (1990): 79 -84 . [On Ramban’s
attitude toward the spirituality of women, see Naftali Wieder, “Al ha-Berakhot
85 (1979): 111 , n. 69, and Chavel’s response in
(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
pp. 99 -102 . Regarding Ramban’s stance on
Moreh Nevukhim,
the variant readings in Nahmanides’ letter to the rabbis o f northern France. See
Kitvei ha-Ramban,
v. 1 (3rd rev. ed., Jerusalem, 1968), p. 349, and cf. J.
Dan (above, n. 16), pp. 36-41.
34. See E.E. Urbach,
Balalei ha-Tosafot
(Jerusalem, 1980), pp. 256, 263-34 ,
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. 51.
35. See I. Unna, R. Mosheh ben Nahman, pp. 23 -27 , and I. Ta-Shma,
“Nahmanides: As Halakhist
36. Mordechai Breuer, “Le-Heker ha-Tippologiyyah shel Yeshivot ha-