Movement, Geography, and Rabbinic Culture in High Medieval Northern Europe

Tzafrir Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the distance between their different communities and the difficulties of medieval travel, the Jews of northern Europe developed typical common legal and communal traditions. Rabbinic students traveled hundreds of kilometers to study with famous rabbis, rabbis themselves often relocated from one community to another, and questions were regularly sent to faraway rabbinic authorities and were quickly answered. This article sheds light on the movement and communication patterns of medieval Jewish scholars as a social group. It includes three sections; the first focuses on the movement patterns of prominent rabbis, the second on their forms of communication, and the third on the way these practices were reflected in the organization of larger communal structures. Overall, the article highlights the major role that networks of movement and communication played in the intellectual culture of the rabbinic elite (and other Jews as well) in high medieval northern Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the author.


  • Jews
  • Middle Ages
  • communication
  • geography
  • movement
  • northern Europe
  • rabbinic culture
  • rivers
  • travel


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