In 1841, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch leapt into a raging debate between liberal and orthodox Protestants, declaring, “It is high time for the non-Jewish thinker to set aside convenient pre-judgements and to begin to construct Christendom without having to destroy Judaism.”
In 1818, a 23-year-old university student named Leopold Zunz published a 30-page essay with the modest title “On Rabbinic Literature.” He could scarcely have imagined his impact.
The way out is clearly marked: Intense Talmud study leads to intense study of science and philosophy. Spinoza was (in fact, sometimes still is) a crucial step along the path out.
Leora Batnitzky's new book charts the development of modern Jewish thought.
In a new book about religious moderation, William Egginton makes some good points, along with a few immoderate claims.