This article demonstrates the existence of a hierarchical rabbinical court system in northern France in the twelfth century. In the second half of the century this system was headed by the court of Rabbenu Tam, active in Ramerupt, near Troyes. This 'appellate court' cancelled the rulings of other courts, including those of the central court in Paris. Most of the appeals that were directed to the Ramerupt court concerned divorces, while it did not review civil law cases. I suggest that this discrepancy was caused by Rabbenu Tam's desire to establish uniform halakhah and practice throughout France in the realm of divorce law. As regards civil law, however, he tended to reinforce the authority of the local courts, whose members came from the scholarly elite, at the expense of the traditional communal leadership.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Religious studies
- Literature and Literary Theory