The efforts of the early Tosafists yielded independent commentaries that contained the teachings of individual Tosafist masters. An early Tosafist’s commentary primarily contained his questions, his resolutions, and his insights. Notwithstanding that the early Tosafists occasionally confronted the views of earlier scholars, their commentaries were nonetheless unique in that they generally read as independent works. The dominant tone of these commentaries was that they reflected one man’s confrontation with the talmudic text, and certainly did not bear the imprint of an entire culture, as is the case with later Tosafist works.
It appears that over time the value of the early commentaries, which represented only single authors’ teachings, decreased considerably. In an age when manuscripts were copied by hand and priority was likely granted based on utility, few of the early texts survived. Indeed, there are few extant fragments of these commentaries, many preserved only in later commentaries.
Aryeh Leibowitz, “The Emergence and Development of Tosafot on the Talmud”, Hakirah 15 (Summer 2013), 150.