ראשונים – “Former authorities” (c. 1000-1550), meaning Torah scholars who lived in the medieval period. According to traditional Jewish periodization, the era of the Rishonim begins in 1038 CE, at the conclusion of the period of the Geonim. The era of the Rishonim ends roughly with the compilation of the Shulchan Aruch, the definitive code of Jewish law that was universally accepted among Jewish communities. It was first published in 1563, but perhaps a better date would be 1571, when the Shulchan Aruch was published with Rema’s hagahot, glosses adding Ashkenazi traditions. This marked the beginning of the period of Acharonim, “latter authorities.” Among the most impactful Rishonim are Rif, Rashi, Rambam, the many Baalei ha-Tosafot (Tosafists), Ibn Ezra, Radak, Ramban, Rashba, Rosh, Tur, and Ritva—among many others.
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