Academic Year 2011-2012
Lawrence J. Kaplan
Lawrence J. Kaplan received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He has taught Rabbinics and Jewish Philosophy in the Department of Jewish Studies of McGill University since 1972. In the spring of 2004 he held a Harry Starr Fellowship at the Center for Jewish Studies of Harvard.
Kaplan is the author of numerous articles on medieval and modern Jewish thought, has co-edited, together with David Shatz, Abraham Isaac Kook and Jewish Spirituality (New York University Press, 1995) and has co-edited, together with Ira Robinson and Julian Bauer, The Thought of Moses Maimonides: Philosophical and Legal Studies (Edwin Mellen Press,1991). He is probably best known for his scholarship on and translation of the works of the Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. He translated from the Hebrew Rabbi Soloveitchik’s classic monograph Halakhic Man (Jewish Publication Society, 1983), as well as his essay “Kol Dodi Dofek.” His overview of the thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik appeared in the Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy. He is currently completing a monograph, Halakhah and Religious Experience in the Thought of Rabbi Soloveitchik.
Differing Methods and Approaches to Teaching Talmud in Contemporary Religious Zionist Yeshivot and Midrashot
As the title indicates, my goal is to examine differing methods and approaches to teaching Talmud in contemporary Religious Zionist Yeshivot and Midrashot. Among these methods are: 1) the classic analytic "Brisker" method, as represented by Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, and some new and very interesting developments in this method, as represented by R. Moshe Lichtenstein, Rav Lichtenstein's son and successor, and R. Michael Rosenzweig, one of Rav Lichtenstein's leading disciples; 2) perhaps the most thoroughly worked out alternative to and critique of the Brisker approach, that of Rav Shagar; 3) the "revadim" approach, as represented by, say, Rav Beigman, a method that seeks to introduce in modified form, the methods of the academy into the Beit Midrash; and 4) the approach to the study of Talmud of the Hartman Beit Midrash, as represented by a variety of scholars. This initial examination would be followed by 1) an attempt to discern the differences and the convergences between these approaches, and 2) some concrete illustrations. Thus, I hope to examine how these methods would approach Tractate Gittin, and what light they might shed-- or not shed--on the very concept and nature of the Get, and perhaps inversely, on marriage. Another topic I might examine is Tefillah and Keri’at Shema.