Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism / Edition 1

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Overview

Expanding the Palace of Torah offers a broad philosophical overview of the challenges the women's revolution poses to Orthodox Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism's response to those challenges. Writing as an insider (herself an Orthodox Jew), Ross seeks to develop a theological response that fully acknowledges the male bias of Judaism's sanctified texts, yet nevertheless provides a rationale for transforming that bias in today's world without undermining their authority. She proposes an approach to divine revelation -- the theological heart of traditional Judaism -- which she calls "cumulativism." This approach is based on a conflating of strict boundaries between text and its interpretation, or divine intent and the evolution of human understanding.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This may be one of the most important works to date in tracking the changes in Judaism over the past 2000 years." —Jewish Book World

“Addressing the practical and the theological challenges that feminism poses to halakah, Ross offers a brilliant study, informed not only by ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish sources, but also by postmodernism, the history of feminism, process theology, mysticism, and legal theory . . . She finds the key to change in women's increasing knowledge of halakah, whose meaning women can transform by weaving a different narrative . . . Highly recommended.”—CHOICE

“[Expanding the Palace of Torah is] a brave, in many ways radical and essential, attempt to deal with the problem seriously, and is a model of erudition and scholarship… Her book offers a powerful alternate theological vision that challenges some of the basic assumptions of the Orthodox Jewish world, and gives a glimpse of just how revolutionary feminism could be to Orthodoxy.”—Forward

“Ross' conjoining of the patriarchal past with a feminist future in the single unfolding process of divine revelation is an unprecedented, and I would suggest brilliant, move in the world of Jewish feminism... this book is ground-breaking in the field of theology (Jewish, feminist and otherwise). It is beautifully written, masterfully insightful in its analysis of earlier feminist attempts to resolve a similar set of challenges and subtly brilliant in the presentation of its own solutions. I simply cannot say enough positive things about it. It is thought-provoking and sophisticated. I have no doubt that this book will become a standard textbook for courses on Jewish feminism.”—Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584653899
  • Publisher: Brandeis University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Series: HBI Series on Jewish Women
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

TAMAR ROSS is Associate Professor of Jewish Thought in the Department of Philosophy at Bar Ilan University. She has also been the central instructor of Jewish Thought at Midreshet Lindenbaum (the first women's Yeshiva) since its inception.
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Table of Contents

Pt. I The first stage : acknowledging the problem 1
Ch. 1 Feminism and the Halakhic tradition 3
Ch. 2 Sources of discontent and the conservative response 25
Pt. II The second stage : working within the system 47
Ch. 3 Exploring Halakhic malleability and its limits 49
Ch. 4 The meta-Halakhic solutions of modern orthodoxy 60
Ch. 5 Does positivism work? 71
Pt. III The third stage : revamping the system 101
Ch. 6 Sociological and historical revisionism 103
Ch. 7 Evaluating revisionism 125
Ch. 8 Halakhic proactivism 145
Pt. IV Beyond the third stage : expanding the palace of Torah 163
Ch. 9 Halakhah contextualized : nonfoundationalism and the role of interpretive traditions 165
Ch. 10 The word of God contextualized : successive hearings and the decree of history 184
Ch. 11 Some theological remarks for the more philosophically inclined 213
Pt. V Epilogue 225
Ch. 12 Visions for the future 227
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