HASIDISM: THE PRESENT STATE OF RESEARCH AND SOME DESIRABLE PRIORITIES ZEEV GRIES (Sequeo The major expressions of Hasidic literary activity during its early generations are reperesented by various types of musar literature: homiletic discourses (derush), conduct literature (hanhagot), let- ters, and hagiography (shevahim). A still unresearched pheno- menon is the single exceptional example of halakhic literature, the Shulhan Arukh ha-Rav of R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady. 15 The student is amazed at the lack of a primary study defining the scope of each type of musar literature, its relationship to the other types of musar literature and to Jewish literature in general. 16 Such a study would enable determination of the use of the various literary types men- tioned above, and the specific Hasidic contribution to the Jewish world of beliefs. It is almost superfluous to point out again that musar literature, common throughout the Middle Ages and at the beginning of the modern period, had as its purpose guiding the Jew in the proper mode of conduct, in both worldly and heavenly matters-in other words, the strengthening of halakhic observance. Thus, whoever made use of the musar genus was not necessarily concealing his ignorance by adoption of
Numen – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1987
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