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School of Arts and Sciences

Yonatan Brafman: Critique of Halakhic Reason: Religious Norms and Human Reasoning in Jewish Tradition

Friday, October 29, 2021 - 1:30pm

As part of the Center for the New Books and Projects Series, Yonatan Y. Brafman, Assistant Professor of Modern Judaism & Neubauer Faculty Fellow, Department of Religion and Program in Judaic Studies will discuss his latest project.

About the Talk:
Norms are a central component of many religious traditions. However, in philosophy of religion, they have been underemphasized relative to belief, experience, and even the related category of ritual as an object of critical reflection. More surprisingly, despite the centrality of mitzvah (commandment) in Judaism, halakhah (Jewish law) has only recently become a major topic in modern Jewish thought. This talk introduces some of the arguments of Critique of Halakhic Reason (Indiana University Press, forthcoming). It clarifies both the object and method of this study through an example of Jewish religious practice. It also describes the contested relation between philosophical and legal reasoning about the commandments, before showing how even recent work in Jewish thought has missed the normative claim, deliberative context, and diversity of reasons in reflection about the commandments.