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BENAMOZEGH'S TONE: A Response to Rabbi Steinsaltz

BENAMOZEGH'S TONE: A Response to Rabbi Steinsaltz Alick In the present context and for the present audience, the contribution to this symposium by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz may appear somewhat conservative: a welcome to non-Jews to practice their faiths (including faiths with which Jews have had unhappy relations historically) without concern that Judaism disapproves of them. It should be noted, then, that this article by Rabbi Steinsaltz—one of the most prolific talmudists of our time—is, understood in its Orthodox Jewish context, extraordinary if not absolutely exceptional. While making no concessions to modern liberalism or even ecumenism, and while characteristically identifying his position with that of the Talmud, Rabbi Steinsaltz reassesses current world religions, including the various forms of Hindu and Buddhist religion, as adequately monotheist, adequately nonidolatrous, and at least adequately ethical to qualify as compliant with the Noahide laws. I do not myself believe that the talmudic approach that Rabbi Steinsaltz takes is the best one for our age, and certainly not the one calculated to lead to more (and better) than “recognition” of other world religions. The talmudic approach defi nes itself as led by law; it does not seek to lead law—Jewish law— toward what may be its ultimate purpose. Talmudic argumentation is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

BENAMOZEGH'S TONE: A Response to Rabbi Steinsaltz

Common Knowledge , Volume 11 (1) – Jan 1, 2005

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2005 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-11-1-48
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Alick In the present context and for the present audience, the contribution to this symposium by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz may appear somewhat conservative: a welcome to non-Jews to practice their faiths (including faiths with which Jews have had unhappy relations historically) without concern that Judaism disapproves of them. It should be noted, then, that this article by Rabbi Steinsaltz—one of the most prolific talmudists of our time—is, understood in its Orthodox Jewish context, extraordinary if not absolutely exceptional. While making no concessions to modern liberalism or even ecumenism, and while characteristically identifying his position with that of the Talmud, Rabbi Steinsaltz reassesses current world religions, including the various forms of Hindu and Buddhist religion, as adequately monotheist, adequately nonidolatrous, and at least adequately ethical to qualify as compliant with the Noahide laws. I do not myself believe that the talmudic approach that Rabbi Steinsaltz takes is the best one for our age, and certainly not the one calculated to lead to more (and better) than “recognition” of other world religions. The talmudic approach defi nes itself as led by law; it does not seek to lead law—Jewish law— toward what may be its ultimate purpose. Talmudic argumentation is

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2005

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