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Category:Judaism and its Interaction with the Arts, Sciences, and Society
Title:Rational Rabbis: Science and Talmudic Culture
Author: Menachem Fisch
Publisher or Source:Indiana University Press, 1998
Synopsis: FROM THE BACK COVER AND PUBLISHER'S INFORMATION MATERIAL: Talmudic culture is often viewed as bound by its traditions, both by people who accept the authority of the Talmud and by those who do not. In contrast to this view, Menachem Fisch maintains that a close reading of talmudic texts frequently reveals their authors as rabbis who, rather than conform uncritically to tradition, knowingly set out to expose and resolve problems inherent in the received traditions. RATIONAL RABBIS describes an essential similarity between Athens and Jerusalem -- between the rationality underlying the enterprise of western science and that of talmudic reasoning. More than faithful curators of a static tradition, talmudic antitraditionalists saw themselves much as scientists might see themselves today -- as intellectuals whose job was to find flaws in time honored theories, and to act rationally to improve upon them. Brilliant introduction to talmudic literature, juxtaposing the enterprise of western science and talmudic reasoning. "The best introduction to the talmudic literature that is available. . . . An extraordinarily important book, brilliant, and lucid." (Daniel Boyarin, Berkeley) ". . . a rich, thoughtful book. One will come away from Rational Rabbis with a deeper understanding of just what the Talmud is." (Hilary Putnam, Harvard)
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