Religion or Halakha

The Philosophy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik


Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s philosophy plays a significant role in twentieth century Jewish thought. This book focuses on the first stages of Soloveitchik’s philosophy, through a systematic and detailed discussion of his essay Halakhic Man. Schwartz analyzes this essay at three main levels: first, he considers its complex writing style and relates it to Soloveitchik’s aims in the writing of this work. Second, the author compares Halakhic Man to other contemporary writings of Soloveitchik. Third, he lays out the essay’s philosophical background. Through this analysis, Schwartz successfully exposes hidden layers in Halakhic Man, which may not be immediately evident.

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Dov Schwartz was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Bar Ilan university (2003-2006) and Head of the Department of Philosophy (1999-2002). He is the chair of the Natali and Isidor Friedman Cathedra for the teaching of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's philosophy.
Chapter One The Opening of Halakhic Man: A Covert Dialogue with Homo Religiosus
Chapter Two Homo Religiosus: Between Religion and Cognition
Chapter Three The First Paradigm of Homo Religiosus: Maimonides
Chapter Four The Second Paradigm of Homo Religiosus: Kant
Chapter Five Halakhic Man as Cognitive Man
Chapter Six The Negation of Metaphysics and of the Messianic Idea
Chapter Seven Mysticism, Kabbalah, and Hasidism
Chapter Eight Halakhic Cognition and the Norm
Chapter Nine Halakhic Man’s Personality Structure
Chapter Ten Religiosity After Cognition: All-Inclusive Consciousness
Chapter Eleven Myth as Metaphor: Halakhic Man as a Creator of Worlds
Chapter Twelve Change or Interpretation: Repentance as Creativity
Chapter Thirteen On Providence and Prophecy
Chapter Fourteen Halakhic Man after Twenty Years: What Has Changed?
Summing Up Halakhic Man in the Context of its Times
All those interested in intellectual history, modern philosophy, Neo-Kantianism, modern Jewish thought, and Rabbinical thought
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