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The issue of Judaism’s relationship to wisdom derived from non-Jewish sources has been one of the most basic concerns of Jewish intellectual history from antiquity to modern times. As the encounters between traditional Jews and world culture become ever more extensive in the digital age, this tension is perhaps more relevant now than ever. In Judaism’s Encounter with Other Cultures: Rejection or Integration?, four eminent scholars provide fresh insight into this continuing discussion. In compelling essays, they present multiple angles to the issue, providing a rich sampling of source material and offering an eloquent case for the perpetuation of Judaism’s dialogue and cultural interaction with the outside world.
The first three essays of this classic volume—by Professors Gerald Blidstein, David Berger, and Shnayer Z. Leiman—present comprehensive and authoritative historical overviews of central themes in the debate over Judaism’s encounter with world culture. The final essay—a breathtaking philosophical, halakhic, and educational opus by Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein—has become a primary source in a discussion which continues to resonate deeply among committed Jews.
Jacob J. Schacter is University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University and Senior Scholar at its Center for the Jewish Future.