The Rabbinic Mind

The Rabbinic Mind

The Rabbinic Mind

The Rabbinic Mind

Excerpt

By the title The Rabbinic Mind I wish to call attention to two of the book's features. Rabbinic literature is viewed here as an expression of the concepts of the Rabbis, creative concepts that canalized their thinking. But I hope that the term may suggest something more -- the great realm of awareness, the realm of ideas that endow life with significance.

My earlier works are devoted primarily to the problem of the nature of the rabbinic concepts. Not united in any logical scheme, must not these apparently disparate concepts be integrated in some other manner? They are found to be the elements of a dynamic organismic complex; by the same token, the rabbinic concept is seen to be dynamic, fluid, experiential. The analysis of a large number of rabbinic concepts is involved in the demonstration of these and cognate matters.

The present book is concerned chiefly with the wider aspects of the rabbinic mind. It discusses such problems as the transmission of social values, the integration of the self, the relation of the self to society. It treats of such topics as the category of significance, indeterminacy of belief, normal mysticism, the commonplace and the holy, rabbinic dogma, the relation of rabbinic thought to philosophy. The sources on which these discussions are based are drawn from both the Haggadah and the Halakah.

There is no sharp line of demarcation, however, between the method here and that of my earlier works. Embodying the results of those earlier studies and building upon them, the present volume further enlarges on the nature of the rabbinic concept; moreover, the discussions here often demand that a concept be analyzed, as in the discussion concerning the rabbinic concepts of "natural order" and the concept of Nes ("miracle"). On the other hand, OrganicThinking . . .

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