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.

1895–1900; < Neo-Latin; plural of responsum Unabridged


noun, plural responsa [ri-spon-suh] .
the reply of a noted rabbi or Jewish scholar as rendered in the Responsa.

1895–1900; < Neo-Latin, Latin respōnsum a reply; see response Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
responsa (rɪˈspɒnsə)
1.  the plural of responsum
2.  that part of rabbinic literature concerned with written rulings in answer to questions

responsum (rɪˈspɒnsəm)
n , pl -sa
Judaism a written answer from a rabbinic authority to a question submitted
[Latin, literally: reply, response]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


("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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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