Responsa literature (sheelot u-teshuvot in Hebrew, "questions and answers") is a traditional rabbinical genre, with a history of over 1,000 years. Responsa are decisions and rulings written by rabbis to specific questions addressed to them, on topics ranging from everyday practical matters of Jewish law to theoretical issues in philosophy, ethics, history, astronomy, business, etc.
For the title of the present volume, we have deliberately reversed the order of the words of the Hebrew term to Teshuvot u-sheelot ("answers and questions") to express that the answers written by rabbis of all generations raise a number of questions for the modern reader, in fields such as history and historiography, linguistics and sociolinguistics, literature, and anthropology. The studies contained in this volume, written by scholars affiliated with the Center of Jewish Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, attempt to analyze responsa literature from this perspective.
Table of Contents
1. Terse Analogical Reasoning in Responsa Literature: Four Medieval Examples - Tamás Turán
2. Wine Produced and Handled by Converts: The Rulings of the Ribash, the Tashbez and the Rashbash - Dóra Zsom
3. Fight for a Dowry in Buda, 1686: A Responsum from the Reverse - Géza Komoróczy
4. The Responsa of Ezekiel Landau as Source Material for the History of Hungarian Jewry - Viktória Bányai
5. Language Assimilation and Dissimilation in the Works of R. Hillel Lichtenstein - Szonja Ráhel Komorócy
6. Halakhah and Micro-History: Anti Jewish Legislation in Hungary (1938-1944) as Reflected in the Responsa Literature - Judit Kónya
7. Rescuing Jews during the Holocaust with the Help of Aryan Papers: A Rabbinic Perspective - Yehuda Friedlander
8. Memorial Books and Responsa Literature: Merging Genres in Rabbinic Literature in the Aftermath of the Holocaust - Kinga Frojimovics