-ha-Khokhma (1771), a brief Hebrew survey of the sciences of his day, Levison suggested that the OL was not the means used by the Sages to preserve their tradition but rather the tool that allowed the rabbis in each generation to introduce changes in the law and thus to adapt Jewish law (halakha) to the conditions or needs of their time. As Levison explained:
And if the Oral Law had been in writing, the rabbis would not have been able to make any innovations, and also the masses would not have accepted their decrees, relying instead only on what is written. See: Mordechai Gumpel
active in Italian territory, although, in some cases, they were from Spain (such as Abrabanel or Zarfati)—a clear sign of a desire, on the part of those promoting the College, to connect up with a peculiarly Italian Jewish tradition. Yet, in spite of the use of the commentaries of the past, the teaching methods were modern: philology, historiography, and philosophy were seen as indispensable tools for acquiring Judaism, leaving aside the traditional method based only on keeping memory alive, arguing about religious texts, and connecting theory and halachic observance
it. Breuer, ibid , p. 57.
The new discipline of Wissenschaft des Judentums was a central part of the rabbis’ training process and of their learning and ruling methods. The seminary’s curriculum was able to provide the knowledge and tools required for Frankel’s new model of rabbi. In addition to Talmud study, it included Jewish history and philosophy, as well as homiletics. Hermann Cohen, “Ein Gruss der Pietät an das Breslauer Seminar,” in: Hermann Cohens Jüdische Schriften , II, Berlin 1924, pp. 418–424; Andreas Brämer, “Die Anfangsjahre des Jüdisch
the responsa of the main Orthodox spokesman, Rabbi David Schlesinger of Sered, who replied in 1861 with a very polemical pamphlet, “Mount Tabor: Book of Responsa which Stands up against Mount Carmel, or, a Recipee for Dr. W. A. Meisel”— the latter’s rabbinic title was ignominiously omitted. To his Hebrew responsa on the almemor question, Schlesinger added a summary in German so that, he writes, Herr Doktor would also be able to understand them. Meisel, Mount Carmel, and its “poisonous lava” were accused of being the main tool of the “revolutionary party