Talmud as Philosophy
A philosopher seeks to demonstrate that creative spirituality need not conflict with pragmatism or respect for the facts, by showing how both kinds of thinking work together in the Talmud. On its surface the Talmud is an apparent jumble of myth, legend, history and random moralizing. But to close reading, the patterns in its sequences of 'sayings' exhibit a deep awareness of many universally relevant questions (such as what modern philosophy calls the 'problem of evil'), as well as a realistic and surprisingly modern understanding of the linguistic obstacles to answering them. In addition to making traditionalists more aware of the Talmud's subtlety (and its openness to criticism), I hope to persuade secularists of its relevance, and recommend it to the modern progressive mind.
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