By Robert Chazan
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This impact has, in part, been generated by Baron's voluminous writings, in particular his threevolume The Jewish Community and-even more so-his eighteen-volume Social and Religious History of the Jews. Equally decisive has been Baron's influence through his students and his students' students. Almost all researchers here in North America currently engaged in studying aspects of medieval Jewish history can surely trace their intellectual roots back to Salo Wittmayer Baron. In a real sense, many of Baron's views have become widely assumed starting points for the field, ideas which need not be proven or argued but are simply accepted as givens.
The preface to volume 3 does acknowledge a change in approach and attempts to explain it. " Some of the considerations that Baron advances for the shift are not terribly convincing. Perhaps the most persuasive 32 ROBERT CHAZAN the first two volumes, which appeared in 1952, conformed precisely to the projected scheme. With the appearance of volumes 3 through 5 in 1957, the original scheme was abandoned. Baron spent the remaining three decades and more of his life composing thirteen more volumes that brought his history only to the year 1648.