Controversy is the main instrument by which Judaism develops and shapes its philosophy, theology and law. The rabbinical literature speaks with many voices, debating virtually every subject, and failing to reach a consensus on many. However, this willingness to condone controversy is accompanied by much deliberation. Controversy, and its legal, philosophical and social ramifications, was and remains of unparalleled concern to the rabbis. Today, we are also witness to a burgeoning academic interest in controversy and pluralism in Jewish law.
This book is an anthology of passages from the rabbinical literature that address the phenomenon of controversy in Jewish law, affording the English-speaking reader the opportunity for a first-hand encounter with this fascinating material. An extensive analytical introduction contextualizes the material from a philosophical perspective.
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Table of Contents
Interpretative Essay. List of Passages 1. Controversy is the Way of the Torah 1.1 Controversy Should not be Multiplied 2. The Conduct of a Controversy: Etiquette and Rules of Debate 3. Controversy and Truth 3.1 Seventy Facets to the Torah 4. Controversy and Uniformity of Practice 4.1 The 'Do Not Form Factions' Prohibition and its Rationales 4.2 Who is Bound by the Prohibition? 4.3 The Distinction Between Two Courts and One Court 4.4 'Do Not Form Factions' as Applied to Different Communities 4.5 The Distinction between Law and Custom 5. Controversy and Social Harmony 6. The Origins of Halakhic Controversy
Hanina Ben-Menahem, Neil S. Hecht