The Tosafists approached the talmudic text with a similar perspective: talmudic passages could be understood only in light of the greater Amoraic corpus. The Tosafist schools set out to analyze the entire Talmud using all relevant talmudic passages as a context and backdrop for the text under scrutiny. For two centuries the Tosafist academies searched the Talmud noting contradictions and relevant passages. Their dialectic analysis and hairsplitting distinctions procured for the Tosafists a sacred position within the intellectual history of talmudic study, described by one historian as the “immortal accomplishments” of the Tosafists. The product of the meticulous work undertaken during these two centuries is well represented by the Tosafot commentary that graces the page of the printed Talmud.
Aryeh Leibowitz, “The Emergence and Development of Tosafot on the Talmud”, Hakirah 15 (Summer 2013), 145.