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As referenced here, the earliest source I've found for wearing one's tallit with two corners/tzitziyot in front and two back is Ba'al HaItur (c. mid-1100s). But, I'm left wondering where Ba'al HaItur brought this concept from — a concept that later posqim codified (e.g. Shulhhan Arukh, see above link).

In short, upon which source or tradition did Ba'al HaItur found his statement that one should wear one's tallit with two corners/tzitziyot in front and two in back?

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Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/40569/2091 – Lee Jun 22 '14 at 21:27
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36130/2091 – Lee Jun 22 '14 at 21:27
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/11695/2091 – Lee Jun 22 '14 at 21:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The בית יוסף in או"ח סימן ח quotes not only the בעל העיטור.

He also quotes the רוקח who brings a Medrash on the Pasuk in אז ישיר that states והמים להם חומה the water behind them was warned not to harm them as they would be wearing 2 ציצית behind them as well as the knot of their תפילין.

The בית יוסף also bring the הגהות מיימון at the end of the Rambam's הל' ציצית who quotes a ירושלמי that a child is not obligated to be taught about ציצית unless he can keep 2 in front and 2 behind.

We do not seem to have this Yerushalmi - but a Yerushalmi and a Medrash are early sources. (Besides for Mishna and Chumah you can't really get earlier sources.)

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