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“La'Avodat Bor"O”: The Body In The Shulhan Arukh Of R. Joseph Caro

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses upon the Shulḥan Arukh in its primary meaning: the small, apodictic code that R. Joseph Caro published in 15651566. This deceptively lean book can, in turn, be approached from two different directions, each of which is accompanied by different methodological considerations and questions. Caro declared that he regarded the Shulḥan Arukh as a précis of his larger, more monumental code, Bet Yosef. This approach is the more appropriate one if it seeks to understand the authors direct imprint upon the work, alongside its intellectual and cultural Sitz im Leben. The alternative approach is equally important, and could be viewed as even more consequential. It concentrates upon the literary integrity, character and fate of the Shulḥan Arukh, per se. It examines some salient themes concerning the body and its place in Jewish religious life and practice, as they appear in the Shulḥan Arukh, as a whole.

Keywords: apodictic code; Bet Yosef; body; Jewish religious life; R. Joseph Caro; Shulḥan Arukh; Sitz im Leben

10.1163/ej.9789004167186.i-490.30
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