Nothing like a good argument

By Simon Rocker
January 24, 2013

The British-born Israeli Talmud scholar Daniel Sperber – who is speaking at South Hampstead Synagogue on Sunday night – is one of the most eminent Orthodox academics.

But Orthodoxy and academia haven’t always sat easily together. The relationship and tensions between Orthodox thinking and university research will be the focus of a new programme in London, “Arguments for Heaven's Sake”, of which Rabbi Sperber will be giving the inaugural lecture. It is sponsored by the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Friends of Louis Jacobs.

Over the next few months Oxford will also be hosting a number of international scholars for a related programme exploring questions raised by the work of Rabbi Louis Jacobs, who tried to reconcile academic scholarship and traditional Judaism, though, of course, not in a way which always met the approval of the Orthodox establishment.

Professor Sperber's lecture is entitled "Tradition, Continuity and Innovation: Opposing Halachic Concerns". The London programme also includes a panel discussion on modern Orthodoxy next month at Jewish Book Week featuring Bible scholar James Kugel.

For more about the project, see the Oxford centre website.


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