Over the next couple of weeks, I intend to conduct a correspondence with myself regarding the relationship of Orthodoxy and Academic Jewish Studies. The two protagonists will be “Avi”, a sober yet hopeful realist, and “AIWAC”, an unrepentant pessimist on the subject. Each post will contain a challenge and a response.
I wish I could claim the main reason I’m doing this is for the “greater good”. After all, the relationship between Orthodox thought and academic Jewish Studies is THE elephant in our intellectual room. With all due respect to Rabbi Slifkin’s struggle on evolution and discussions of “Torah U-Madda”, the main challenges have long since moved from hard sciences to the humanities and social sciences. Pretty much all debates on the subject and crises of faith I’ve seen on O-blogs concern matters within the purview of these areas (TMS/DH, the nature of TSBP and halacha, censorship of Rabbinnic sources and more unpleasant sides of galut communal life &c).
In truth the main goal is my own personal catharsis. I have been struggling with this issue for many years and have never found an adequate platform to express my frustrations and dilemmas. Nor do I really have anyone to talk to on the subject who would understand what’s going on. Hence, this series of posts, the sole principle of which is to let my problems move from my mind to cyberspace. Maybe I’ll be able to finally feel a little better once I’ve let it out.
The first exchange will be up on Monday. See you then.