A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy, and American Judaism

Overview

Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of the Reconstructionist movement, was the most influential and controversial radical Jewish thinker in the twentieth century. This book examines the intellectual influences that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the combination of personal, strategic, and career reasons that kept Kaplan close to Orthodox Jews, posing a question crucial to the understanding of any religion: Can an established religious group learn from a heretic who has ...
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Overview

Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of the Reconstructionist movement, was the most influential and controversial radical Jewish thinker in the twentieth century. This book examines the intellectual influences that moved Kaplan from Orthodoxy and analyzes the combination of personal, strategic, and career reasons that kept Kaplan close to Orthodox Jews, posing a question crucial to the understanding of any religion: Can an established religious group learn from a heretic who has rejected its most fundamental beliefs?

-As important thinkers in the Orthodox world [the authors] help us to see Kaplan from the vantage point of the world that raised him, New York's Orthodox community. In exploring how its different elements responded to Kaplan, they give us a richer understanding of Orthodoxy. - Jewish Book World

-This fine biography focuses not only on the emergence of Kaplan's unique thought and approach to Judaism but on the larger thought-world of American orthodoxy from which his thinking emerged and with which it stood in continuing debate. The resultant study not only lays bare Kaplan's mind and personality but, equally important, reveals much about the nature of American Orthodoxy. -Choice

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

This fine biography focuses not only on the emergence of Kaplan's unique thought and approach to Judaism but on the larger thought-world of American orthodoxy from which his thinking emerged and with which it stood in continuing debate. The resultant study not only lays bare Kaplan's mind and personality but, equally important, reveals much about the nature of American Orthodoxy.

Jewish Book World

As important thinkers in the Orthodox world [the authors] help us to see Kaplan from the vantage point of the world that raised him, New York's Orthodox community. In exploring how its different elements responded to Kaplan, they give us a richer understanding of Orthodoxy.

Choice

This fine biography focuses not only on the emergence of Kaplan's unique thought and approach to Judaism but on the larger thought-world of American orthodoxy from which his thinking emerged and with which it stood in continuing debate. The resultant study not only lays bare Kaplan's mind and personality but, equally important, reveals much about the nature of American Orthodoxy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231106276
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/1997
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey S. Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, is the author of When Harlem Was Jewish, 1870-1930 and The Men and Women of Yeshiva, both published by Columbia.Jacob J. Schacter is rabbi of the Jewish Center in New York City. Editor of the The Torah u-Madda Journal and Jewish Tradition and the Nontraditional Jew, he is also an author of numerous articles on early modern and contemporary Jewish life.

Columbia University Press

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