1st Edition

The Philosophy of Joseph B. Soloveitchik

By Heshey Zelcer, Mark Zelcer Copyright 2021
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    Providing a concise but comprehensive overview of Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s larger philosophical program, this book studies one of the most important modern Orthodox Jewish thinkers. It incorporates much relevant biographical, philosophical, religious, legal, and historical background so that the content and difficult philosophical concepts are easily accessible.

    The volume describes his view of Jewish law (Halakhah) and how he answers the fundamental question of Jewish philosophy, namely, the “reasons” for the commandments. It shows how many of his disparate books, essays, and lectures on law, specific commandments, and Jewish religious phenomenology can be woven together to form an elegant philosophical program. It also provides an analysis and summary of Soloveitchik’s views on Zionism and on interreligious dialogue and the contexts for Soloveitchik’s respective stances on issues that were pressing in his role as a leader of a major branch of post-war Orthodox Judaism.

    The book provides a synoptic overview of the philosophical works of Joseph B. Soloveitchik. It will be of interest to historians and scholars studying neo-Kantian philosophy, Jewish thought, and philosophy of religion.


    Notes to the Reader


    1. Overview

    2. Biography

    3. Background

    4. Soloveitchik’s Main Philosophical Writings

    5. Soloveitchik on Zionism

    6. Soloveitchik on Interfaith Dialogue

    7. Soloveitchik’s Philosophical Legacy

    8. Bibliography


    Heshey Zelcer is a founder of akirah: The Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought and a member of its editorial board. He has published books and articles on Jewish law, philosophy, history, and liturgy.

    Mark Zelcer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York. He has published in various areas of philosophy including the philosophy of mathematics and ancient philosophy. He co-authored Politics and Philosophy in Plato’s Menexenus (Routledge, 2015).

    'Overall, I highly recommend this book both for those already familiar with Rav Soloveitchik’s thought (from either direction), and for those wishing to become familiar with it. The authors have provided us with a valuable tool to take up (or download) the actual writings of this titan of halacha and hashkafa, and to study them carefully, sensitively and creatively as he himself would have demanded.'

    Jeffrey R. Woolf, The Jewish Press

    'The book is a good education in the history of philosophy all in the service of expounding the thought of one of Judaism’s most interesting and beloved thinkers.'

    The Jewish Star