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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik as Philosopher

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik as Philosopher

Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
has long been recognized as one of the greatest Talmudic scholars and rabbinic thinkers of the 20th century. He founded the Maimonides School in Boston and taught at Yeshiva University, where he became the leading representative of American Modern Orthodox Judaism. His magnetic, spellbinding lectures were attended by thousands of listeners. His essay Halakhic Man, now a classic, won the National Jewish Book Award.

What has not been sufficiently appreciated is the significance of Soloveitchick's philosophical thinking and the original contributions his writings make to the contemporary philosophical study of religion. His own thought is a remarkable synthesis of Torah scholarship and modern philosophical thinking. This conference will focus on these philosophical dimensions of Soloveitchik's work as well as on new perspectives opened up by his writings.


Opening Remarks
Hal M. Lewis
, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Josef Stern
University of Chicago
Arnold I. Davidson, University of Chicago

Reuven Ziegler, Yeshivat Har Etzion & Toras HoRav Foundation
An Intellectual and an Experiential Tradition:
The Intertwining of Autobiography and Philosophy
in Rabbi Soloveitchik's Thought

Shira Weiss, Stern College at Yeshiva University
Taste and See that the Lord is Good:
The Influence of Halevi and Maimonides
on the Thought of R. Soloveitchik

Paul Franks, Yale University
Pure Thinking and the Constitution of Halachic Being: Neo-Kantianism and the Brisker Method in Soloveitchik's Thought 

Massimo Giuliani, University of Trento
Rav Soloveitchik in the Context of  Twentieth-Century Philosophies of Judaism, a European Perspective

David Shatz, Yeshiva University 
Rabbi Soloveitchik's Critique of Theodicy

Concluding Remarks
Arnold I. Davidson, University of Chicago


The conference was co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and Spertus Institute.

This conference situated Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the great American Talmudist and Modern Orthodox leader, within the tradition of Western philosophy that includes ancient, medieval, and modern figures, ranging from Aristotle to Maimonides to Kant.








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