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According to Wikipedia, the Meiri was rediscovered in modern times. I assume that means in the 20th century or so.

However, Hebrewbooks has a copy of the Meiri from 1795. I don't know if that was the first print, but even that gives quite a few years for it to have found its way (or at least discussed) in "mainstream psak" (meaning not Chazon Ish generation but Rabbi Akiva Eiger/Chasam Sofer generation).

When was it actually discovered, where there any "early" discussion as to its validity and was it quoted by 19th century poskim?

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It is not true that the Meiri's Bet haBechirah was "rediscovered" in modern times. The work had never been missing, but was merely in manuscript form for some six hundred years, only being printed for the first time in the 18th century. My guess is that the anonymous author of the article you cite is using the phrase "modern times" to refer to this period, but the implication that the work was either unknown or unstudied before that point is entirely untrue. Obviously, with its publication in the 18th century, it came to be known and studied by a larger group of people.

If you wish to see a printed source for the foregoing, cf:

Menachem Elon, Jewish Law: History, Sources, Principles (4 vols; trans. Bernard Auerbach and Melvin J. Sykes; Jerusalem, 1994), IV:1126, n94.

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    And no "big Rabbi" saw it (or quoted it)? – Shmuel Brin Mar 11 '15 at 1:23
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    but the implication that the work was either unknown or unstudied before that point is entirely untrue. Obviously, with its publication in the 18th century, it came to be known and studied by a larger group of people. Who were those who studied it before printing and where is it quoted? – Shmuel Brin Mar 11 '15 at 2:35
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    @ShmuelBrin - I don't know where this idea came from, that nobody studied or quoted the Meiri before the 18th century, but I hear it again and again and it's completely untrue... For just one piece of evidence to the contrary, see the Shittah Mequbetzet on Bava Qama 113a, which was written in the 16th century: hebrewbooks.org/… (second paragraph of second column) – Shimon bM Mar 11 '15 at 2:41
  • The Chazon ish is the progenitor of this idea that the Meiri was not known of. And thus not in the mesorah of psak. But the biur halacha quotes him all the time so I don't understand see here: torahlearning.org/responsa/Meiri.htm – Shoel U'Meishiv Mar 11 '15 at 14:04
  • The Mishna Berurah constantly remarks 'now that we have the Meiri' etc. Seems it was not common beforehand. – user6591 Mar 11 '15 at 15:52
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Most of the works from the Meiri were printed for the first time in the 20th century. Shimon bM is correct in that the Beit ha-Beḥirah, the most famous work of the Meiri, was first printed in the 18th century, but there is now a corpus of the Meiri that is due to the work of 20th century scholarship. Here are some examples:

  • The Meiri wrote other commentaries to the Talmud besides his Beit ha-Beḥirah. The manuscripts are available in the scholarly world, but most have not been printed. His commentary to Beitzah, for example, was printed in 1956. His introduction to Avot was published in 1995, in a book called Seder ha-Kabbalah. Further publishing of his Talmudic commentaries is very contemporary.
  • The Meiri wrote a book on teshuva as a young man, called Ḥibbur ha-Teshuvah, printed in its entirety for the first time in 1950.
  • The Meiri's commentary to Tehillim was first published in 1936.
  • The Meiri wrote a book on the customs of the Jewish community in Provence, called Magen Avot, first printed in 1909.
  • Different collections from the Meiri's works, including those taken from unpublished manuscripts, have also been published. This includes a Meiri commentary on the Haggadah, first published in 1965, a book of mussar called Sefer ha-Middot published in 1966, and an anthology of drashot published in 1957.

It is in this sense that one might claim that the Meiri has been "rediscovered" in modern times. It is not that he was unknown before modern times, nor is "modernity" defined as the 18th century. Of course, the Meiri has been known and studied for much longer. His commentary to Kohelet was printed at the end of the 15th century and in subsequent Mikraot Gedolot. He was even known to the Jewish world during his lifetime (beyond the close communities who had access to the Beit ha-Beḥirah), particularly because of his involvement in R. Aderet's polemic against the Rambam. Nevertheless, it is the modern publications of the Meiri that has sparked more attention to his genius, and I would venture to guess has produced more interest in his classic Talmudic commentary.

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