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Rabbinic Discourse as a System of Knowledge

"The Study of Torah is Equal to them All"

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Hannah Hashkes

In Rabbinic Discourse as a System of Knowledge Hannah Hashkes employs contemporary philosophy in describing rabbinic reasoning as a rational response to experience. Hashkes combines insights from the philosophy of Quine and Davidson with the semiotics of Peirce to construe knowledge as systematic reasoning occurring within a community of inquiry. Her reading of the works of Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion allows her to create a philosophical bridge between a discourse of God and a discourse of reason. This synthesis of pragmatism, hermeneutics and theology provides Hashkes with a sophisticated tool to understand Rabbinic Judaism. It also makes this study both unique and pathbreaking in contemporary Jewish philosophy and Rabbinic thought.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Avi Sagi is Professor of Philosophy at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, and Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel. A philosopher, literary critic, scholar of cultural studies, historian and philosopher of halakhah, public intellectual, social critic, and educator, Sagi has written most lucidly on the challenges that face humanity, Judaism, and Israeli society today. As an intertextual thinker, Sagi integrates numerous strands within contemporary philosophy, while critically engaging Jewish and non-Jewish philosophers. Offering an insightful defense of pluralism and multiculturalism, his numerous writings integrate philosophy, religion, theology, jurisprudence, psychology, art, literature, and politics, charting a new path for Jewish thought in the twenty-first century.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

David R. Blumenthal is Jay and Leslie Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies at Emory University. He has contributed greatly to the growth of Jewish Studies, the place of Judaism in Religious Studies, interreligious dialogue, and the reframing of Judaism in light of the Holocaust, postmodernism, and poststructuralism. For Blumenthal, theology is an ongoing reflection about everything we believe and do in the context of the living tradition.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Lenn E. Goodman is Professor of Philosophy and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Trained in medieval Arabic and Hebrew philosophy and intellectual history, his prolific scholarship has covered the entire history of philosophy from antiquity to the present with a focus on medieval Jewish philosophy. A synthetic philosopher, Goodman has drawn on Jewish religious sources (e.g., Bible, Midrash, Mishnah, and Talmud) as well as philosophic sources (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian), in an attempt to construct his own distinctive theory about the natural basis of morality and justice. Taking his cue from medieval Jewish philosophers such as Maimonides, Goodman offers a new theoretical framework for Jewish communal life that is attentive to contemporary philosophy and science.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Judith Plaskow, Professor of Religious Studies Emerita at Manhattan College in New York, is a leading Jewish feminist theologian. She has forged a revolutionary vision of Judaism as an egalitarian religion and has argued for the inclusion of sexually marginalized groups in society in general and in Jewish society in particular. Rooted in the experience of women, her feminist Jewish theology reflects the impact of several philosophical strands, including hermeneutics, dialogical philosophy, critical theory, and process philosophy. Most active in the American Academy of Religion, she has shaped the academic discourse on women in religion while critiquing Christian feminism for lingering forms of anti-Judaism.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, the Sol and Anne Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Rector of American Jewish University in Los Angeles, is one of today’s leading Jewish ethicists. Writing extensively on the intersection of law, morality, science, religion, and medicine, Dorff offers an authoritative and non-Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law. As a leader in the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, he has shaped the religious practices of Conservative Jews. In serving on national advisory committees and task forces, he has helped to articulate a distinctive Jewish voice on contested bioethical and biomedical issues. An analytic philosopher by training, Dorff has endorsed pluralism, arguing that Jewishness best flourishes in the context of American pluralism, and he has worked closely with non-Jews to advance religious pluralism in America.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Eugene B. Borowitz is Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College in New York. A rabbi, teacher of rabbis, and a theologian, Borowitz has been an important spokesperson for non-Orthodox forms of Judaism, Reform Judaism in particular. Over seven decades, Borowitz has explored the centrality of God in Jewish existence, the normative force of Jewish law, the meaning of the Covenant, the distinctiveness of Jewish life, and the meaning of Jewish personhood for non-Orthodox Jews. Adopting the language of religious existentialism, he has reflected on the relational nature of human existence, on the one hand, and human self-determination on the other.
Rethinking God and Ethics presents influential essays by Borowitz and explains his contribution to Jewish religious thought in the 20th century.

This volume is also available in paperback.

Brill mourns the death of Professor Eugene Borowitz, of blessed memory, in January 2016. The LCJP honors his valuable contribution to Jewish theology, ethics, and education.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

This volume features the thought and writings of Rabbi David Novak, the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies, Professor of the Study of Religion, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Novak is a leading Jewish theologian, ethicist, and scholar of Jewish philosophy and law. Natural Law and Revealed Torah presents the work of Novak, a thinker interested in the intersection of traditional Judaism and the modern world, especially how religious Jews can simultaneously exist within the liberal and democratic nation state yet remain separate from its tradition of secularism.

This volume is also available in paperback.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

This volume features the thought and writings of Jonathan Sacks, one of today’s leading Jewish public thinkers. It brings together an intellectual portrait, four of his most original and influential philosophical essays, and an interview with him. This volume showcases the work of Sacks, a philosopher who seeks to confront and offer solutions to the numerous problems besetting Judaism and its confrontation with modernity. In addition, the reader will also encounter an important social philosopher and proponent of interfaith dialogue, who articulates how it is possible to cultivate a culture of civility based on the twin notions of the dignity of difference and the ethic of responsibility. Jonathan Sacks has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from September 1991 to September 2013 and a member of the House of Lords since 2009.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

This volume features Eliezer Schweid’s philosophy of Judaism for a secular age. The volume brings together four of Schweid’s most original and influential philosophical essays and an interview with him that together express his fundamental outlook: the faith of a secular Jew, freely choosing loyalty to his or her national culture and drawing on Jewish heritage to inform how to act responsibly toward one’s neighbor, one’s people, the world, and God. The themes span the gamut of Schweid’s life work: the existential loneliness of the modern Jew; Judaism as a culture; faith in light of the Holocaust; and appreciation for secular humanism with awareness of its shortcomings, given the enduring legacy of the Jewish biblical heritage.