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Responsa

[ri-spon-suh] /rɪˈspɒn sə/
noun
1.
the branch of rabbinical literature comprised of authoritative replies in letter form made by noted rabbis or Jewish scholars to questions sent to them concerning Jewish law.
Origin
1895-1900
1895-1900; < Neo-Latin; plural of responsum

responsum

[ri-spon-suh m] /rɪˈspɒn səm/
noun, plural responsa
[ri-spon-suh] /rɪˈspɒn sə/ (Show IPA)
1.
the reply of a noted rabbi or Jewish scholar as rendered in the Responsa.
Origin
1895-1900; < Neo-Latin, Latin respōnsum a reply; see response
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Responsa

responsa

/rɪˈspɒnsə/
noun (Judaism)
1.
the plural of responsum
2.
that part of rabbinic literature concerned with written rulings in answer to questions

responsum

/rɪˈspɒnsəm/
noun (pl) -sa (-sə)
1.
(Judaism) a written answer from a rabbinic authority to a question submitted
Word Origin
Latin, literally: reply, response
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for Responsa

responsa

("questions and answers"), replies made by rabbinic scholars in answer to submitted questions about Jewish law. These replies began to be written in the 6th century after final redaction of the Talmud and are still being formulated. Estimates of the total number of published responsa, which range in length from a few words to lengthy monographs and compendia, vary from 250,000 to 500,000. These would probably fill more than 1,000 volumes if collected together. Responsa constitute a distinctive body of Jewish religious literature.

Learn more about responsa with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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