Rabbinic Authority

Hardcover | July 1, 1998

byMichael S. Berger

not yet rated|write a review
The Rabbis of the first five centuries of the Common Era loom large in the Jewish tradition. Until the modern period, Jews viewed the Rabbinic traditions as the authoritative contents of their covenant with God, and scholars debated the meanings of these ancient Sages words. Even after theeighteenth century, when varied denominations emerged within Judaism, each with its own approach to the tradition, the literary legacy of the talmudic Sages continued to be consulted. In this book, Michael S. Berger analyzes the notion of Rabbinic authority from a philosophical standpoint. He sets out a typology of theories that can be used to understand the authority of these Sages, showing the coherence of each, its strengths and weaknesses, and what aspects of the Rabbinicenterprise it covers. His careful and thorough analysis reveals that owing to the multifaceted character of the Rabbinic enterprise, no single theory is adequate to fully ground Rabbinic authority as traditionally understood. The final section of the book argues that the notion of Rabbinic authority may indeed have been transformed over time, even as it retained the original name. Drawing on the debates about legal hermeneutics between Ronald Dworkin and Stanley Fish, Berger introduces the idea that Rabbinic authorityis not a strict consequence of a preexisting theory, but rather is embedded in a form of life that includes text, interpretation, and practices. Rabbinic authority is shown to be a nuanced concept unique to Judaism, in that it is taken to justify those sorts of activities which in turn actuallydeepen the authority itself. Students of Judaism and philosophers of religion in general will be intrigued by this philosophical examination of a central issue of Judaism, conducted with unprecedented rigor and refreshing creative insight.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$159.50

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

The Rabbis of the first five centuries of the Common Era loom large in the Jewish tradition. Until the modern period, Jews viewed the Rabbinic traditions as the authoritative contents of their covenant with God, and scholars debated the meanings of these ancient Sages words. Even after theeighteenth century, when varied denominations e...

Michael S. Berger is at Emory University.

other books by Michael S. Berger

Easy Birdhouses & Feeders: Simple Projects To Attract & Retain The Birds You Want
Easy Birdhouses & Feeders: Simple Projects To Attract &...

Paperback|May 15 2014

$17.93 online$19.99list price(save 10%)
Marriage, Sex and Family in Judaism
Marriage, Sex and Family in Judaism

Kobo ebook|Aug 22 2005

$38.49 online$49.99list price(save 23%)
Up Your Score: SAT, 2018-2019 Edition: The Underground Guide to Outsmarting "The Test"
Up Your Score: SAT, 2018-2019 Edition: The Underground ...

Kobo ebook|Oct 3 2017

$15.39 online$19.95list price(save 22%)
see all books by Michael S. Berger
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.09 × 6.3 × 1.18 inPublished:July 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195122690

ISBN - 13:9780195122695

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Rabbinic Authority

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

"[T]he book as a whole provides very helpful entry into an important but difficult matter."--Religious Studies Review