HaMapah: Mapping and Quantifying a Rabbinic Oligarchy of Letters

Speaker: Elli Fischer , Tel Aviv University

Date: Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Time: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Public: Yes

Location: 32-D463 (Star)

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Host: Daniel Jackson Hosts: Daniel Jackson (CSAIL) and Ezra Zuckerman Sivan (Sloan)

Contact: Maria Rebelo, 617-253-5895, mr@csail.mit.edu

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Reminders to: seminars@csail.mit.edu

Reminder Subject: TALK: HaMapah: Mapping and Quantifying a Rabbinic Oligarchy of Letters

HaMapah began with a series of questions about how to understand and quantify the emergence of rabbinic authority within a competitive social environment: How do sub-elites decide who to ask, and how do the prospective elites project themselves in ways that produce confidence, trust, and the aura of expertise? To help study these questions, we are mapping the metadata of "responsa" - the written answers of rabbis to legalistic questions. The names, places, and dates that appear in these correspondences outline the sphere of authority of a particular rabbi, both over time and across space. To date we have mapped c. 20,000 responsa from about a dozen authors, but we have barely scratched the surface. This presentation will introduce our methods and some of our representations and findings, and we hope to garner some important feedback from people who study similar phenomena in other contexts.

Rabbi Elli Fischer is a translator, editor, writer, and graduate student in Jewish History at Tel Aviv University. He co-created HaMapah with Moshe Schorr in 2018.

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Created by Maria Rebelo Email at Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 1:43 PM.