The great medieval Jewish theologian Saadia Gaon claimed that the "Jewish nation is a nation only by virtue of its laws." In line with this idea, many medieval Jewish thinkers turned their attention to the project of ta'amei ha-mitzvot - rationalizing the commandments - and appealed to general ethical or rational principles in the process. But is such an endeavor a fool's errand? In this lecture, we will argue that it is, not by arguing that Jewish practice is not rational, but by developing an alternative Jewish philosophy of practical justification that eschew principles altogether.
Rynhold, Daniel. (February 10, 2020). Towards an Unprincipled Judaism. Shoshana Shier Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture Series -- PART 1. Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies.
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