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The Talmudist Enlightenment: Talmudic Judaism’s Confrontational Rational Theology

Menachem Fisch


Robert Brandom's "The Pragmatist Enlightenment" describes the advent of American pragmatism as signaling a sea-change in our understanding of human reason away from the top-down Euclidian models of reasoning, warrant and knowledge inspired by the physical sciences, toward the far more bottom-up, narrative, inherently fallible and dialogical forms of reasoning of the life and human sciences. It is against this backdrop that Talmudic Judaism emerges not only as an early anticipation of the pragmatist enlightenment, but as going a substantial and radical step beyond it, that in the context of religious commitment and reasoning, is unprecedented.


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