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It seems Ashkenazi Jews of the time - including the Tosafists - lacked formal secular knowledge. Rabbi Prof. Ephraim Kanarfogel wrote in the essay "The Tosafist Oeuvre and Torah u-Madda": "The Ba'alei ha-Tosafot flourished in northern France and Germany (Ashkenaz) during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. While the Jewish communities of ...


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