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A Rabbinic Revolution


Michael Satlow has summarized Monday’s symposium at Harvard, The Rabbinic Revolution and the Invention of Jewish Law. The symposium featured Shaye Cohen, Moshe Halbertal, Aharon Shemesh, and Vered Noam. Also see this review of Aharon Shemesh’s book Halakhah in the Making: The Development of Jewish Law from Qumran to the Rabbis.

Update: A video of the seminar proceedings are available here. (hat tip)
(Photo courtesy of Menachem Butler)

2 Responses to “A Rabbinic Revolution”

  1. 1

    I dunno. Using the term “invention”, rather than the more neutral development in the book, is one of the reasons I’m so wary of mixing academia and the Beit Midrash. It really feels like the gap is unbridgeable.

  2. 2

    Yeah. One has to be a special person to bridge the world of academia and traditional scholarship. Dr. Leiman is the parade example. If one wants to make any inroads at all within the orthodox community, one has to have at least some respect and courtesy. Aiwac gives one example. And I dont think an introduction by the “intermarried and agressively proud of it” Noach Feldman is a great way to attract actual learned Jews.

    I remember early in his career Dr. Marc Shapiro would refer to people like Feinstein or Solveitchik or Tannebaum without the honorific “R”. His justification, nor unreasonable, was that this is the scholarly convention. Yet he was smart enough to realize that style would just turn off the orthodox, and so he changed his approach, to monumental success.

    One would be surprisd how many orthodox jews are open to academic approaches, if only the traditional approach is at least presented respectfully and properly. In my own experience, the orthodox are just as receptive to challenges to dogma, if not more, as liberal Jews are to their own dogmas.




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