Monthly Archives: September 2013

Fourth Year of the Blog

This blog celebrated its fourth anniversary this past week during hol ha-moed.  Last year, I forgot to notice the third year milestone.

Over this time the posts have gotten longer and more like articles than short posts. People print and read them as articles. Or they note them and get to them a week or two later.

The original content was to reflect the tension between philosophy and lived religion, hence the title taken from Saadyah was to reflect the tension of philosophy –which Saadyah calls Emunot, things we cognitively accept– and the world of actual lived religion with its sects, personal opinions, and cultural forms- which he calls Deot, things based on character and predilection.

I did less philosophy this year because the discussions and papers about Torah min Hashamayim took a lion’s share of time.  These posts got the blog included on a list of the top fifty blogs on the Bible. I also did less interfaith and parallels to Christianity because the general online world is more aware of the similarities of the Jewish and American Christian world and more aware of how much interfaith encounter, exchange, and discussion goes on even in Orthodoxy, but without the word dialogue.  We had a long run on popular culture and Orthodoxy.

I do not post as much on the current religious recession. Even outreach professional have mainly lost their millenarian triumphalism and are acknowledging the loss and fallout from religion, as well as recognizing how much the community let its image be tarnished.

Currently, my main big project is a book on the Varieties of Modern Orthodoxy 1780-2000, which I hope to shop for publishers in 2015 and publish in 2017. It is on theology and not social history, institutional history, or polemics. It will be based on my 2005 YU course available here- The project has grow much larger than the original course and I have modified the dozen categories in a more narrative approach. I have some other project that I am working on that I will post by the end of Oct.

Those academics and clergy that want an interview about your books or a guest post, then please let me know. I would be glad to oblige qualified people. Please don’t be shy. Everyone has enjoyed the process.

Thank you for your readership. However, if you want to comment, your comment must actually reflect that you needed to read the post to make the comment and you must be a reader of academic works. If that violates your opinion of the world, then this is not the place to hang out.  (Please see the rules for comments.) And because of unscrupulous people, I cannot accept untraceable comments anymore.  I need a real email that can be verified with a fixed IP address (no malinator). I really dont want to have to install a sign-up for comments.

Also dont forget to buy, or have your institution buy, my two recent books Judaism and Other Religions; Judaism and World Religion. or directly from me.

Here are my posts of the past year that received the biggest readership
Conversation with James Kugel about Revelation
Prof Tamar Ross on Revelation and Biblical Criticism
Interview with Prof. Jacob Wright of Emory University
Sarah Benor on Orthodox Culture
Interview with Eliyahu Stern author of The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism
Prof Brian Klug on Revelation and Torah from Heaven

These posts had many readers but no way near as big as the top 7
Rabbi Soloveitchk on Original Sin
Rabbi David Stav on Popular Culture– Bein HaZmanim
Robert Wuthnow, The God Problem
Conversation with James Kugel- A Follow-Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits and Christiaan Barnard
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern on Vayishlach: Meditation, Fiery Prayer, Divine in the Material World—Also Some Possible RIETS news.
The new Haredi Hasidism – Zilberstein, Erlanger, Morgenstern, Kluger, and Schwartz
Prof. Joshua Berman Returns for a Follow-Up Interview on Biblical Law
Could Louis Jacobs have been accepted?
Why Maimonides Matters – Kenneth Hart Green- Part I
Peter Schafer responds to Daniel Boyarin.
Orthodox Jewry and the Civil Rights Movement

Most popular of the first three years
Half Shabbos
Interview with David M. Carr- Current state of Bible Scholarship
Cremation and Modern Jewish History
Rabbi Morgenstern and Meditation
Daniel Boyarin and Orthodoxy: An Interview
Arthur Green- Radical Judaism #2 of 5 parts
Aryeh Kaplan: a lost homily from his Iowa pulpit and outreach at SUNY-Albany

Runner-ups of the first three years
The Lubavitcher Rebbe on Transcendental Meditation
Joseph Weiler, traditional Jew, defends the freedom to affix a Crucifix
Is there a Post-Orthodox Judaism that Corresponds to Post Evangelical?
Rav Shagar – Movie tribute to his life and thought
Richard Kearney, Anatheism: Returning to God after God.
Critique of Kugel #1
Arthur Green responds to Daniel Landes
Religion as a Chain of Memory – Daniele Hervieu-Leger
Redemption through Judaism: A Shabbat Guest of Frankist Lineage
Rabbi Riskin declares Christians have entered through revelation into a special relationship with the God of Israel
New unpublished Rav Kook
An Interview with Rabbi Shai Held
Arthur Green- Radical Judaism #1 of 5 posts
Rav Soloveitchik- Religious Definitions of Man and his Social Institutions (1959) Part 3 of 7
Peter Schafer responds to Daniel Boyarin.
Passover Seder Through Muslim Eyes
Rabbi Riskin engages Christians in dialogue about our “United Mission” (updated)Interview with Charlie Buckholtz, co-author of new book with David Hartman
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks- Introductory Speaker for Pope Benedict.
An interview with Professor Samuel Fleischacker
Half-Shabbos goes Viral for Real (Updated)
Herbert Loewe on British Orthodoxy 1915
The new Haredi Hasidism – Zilberstein, Erlanger, Morgenstern, Kluger, and Schwartz
Women, Kabbalat Shabbat and 23 years.
A chat with Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

Dr. John Connelly at Seton Hall this Sunday

In honor of its sixtieth anniversary the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies is hosting the Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher Conference at Seton Hall University on September 22, 2013- This Sunday.
The conference is free and open to the public and will feature a keynote lecture at 3:30 in the Beck rooms by Dr. John Connelly, Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley and author of From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Thinking on the Jews, 1933 -1965 (Harvard University Press, 2012),
His talk will be followed by “Reflections” by Gregory Baum, McGill University, Quebec, Canada who together with Cardinal Bea and Msgr.Oesterreicher were instrumental in the creation of the first draft of Nostra Aetate.
There will be closing comments from Rabbi Noam Marans of the AJC.

The day will open with three introductory presentations starting at 1:00PM:
 “John Oesterreicher’s Response to French and Italian Antisemitism” by Cristiana Facchini, University of Bologna, Italy
 “Catholic-Jewish Relations during the Six Day War” by Jason Olson, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
 “‘Death of God’ thinkers and Jewish and Christian responses” by Peter H. Greene, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

Here is an excerpt from the book.
Here John Connelly provides a nice summary of his own book here at the Forward.
The Forward readers asked many questions about the topic of the book and I was asked to respond to their queries here.