Peering through the conferenceshttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Bar Ilan University is having a major conference devoted to Rashbam, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir of Ramerupt or thereabouts, in memory of Eliezer Touito. Non-fancy schedule here. It amazes me, the amount of attention that scholars of medieval biblical exegesis lavish on a fairly limited corpus. I must admit that it also frustrates me that despite all this enthusiasm for studying Rashbam's biblical exegesis, his Talmudic commentaries and, to an even greater degree, his Halakhic writings have received virtually no attention whatsoever. Anyway, Hanna Liss has recently published a new book on Rashbam titled Creating Fictional Worlds. I haven't finished reading it, so I'll hold off on criticism, but the basic idea is that Rashbam was responding to the Christian culture surrounding him, but not in the way people like the late Touito thought. The real backdrop is not the scholastic biblical exegesis that was being written in Latin, but rather the romances being written in the vernacular (French). I look forward to being convinced of this intriguing suggestion.