The Fourth International Conference on the Philosophy of Halakhah – Halakhah as an Event Tuesday-Wednesday, 28-29 December 2010
jpeg of Program Here
The conference will focus on philosophical analyses of the event of the halakhic entity. Can the knowledge concealed in action and the body of the actor be revealed? What is the gap between the knowledge gathered from theoretical writings and the knowledge gleaned from the halakhic act and the Halakhic event? Does Halakhah change because of the dynamics connected to action rather than due to halakhic theory? What new insights about Halakhah have arisen given the halakhic actor’s awareness about body issues, his senses, and his movements?
A study group on ” Halakhah as an Event”undertook in 2009 an innovative study of the way Halakhah came into being, focusing on the philosophy of the praxis, not only on the theory, as has been common hitherto.
The conference aims at fostering two main sets of problems. One set of queries focuses on Levinas’s references to biblical figures, and raises questions about the role these figures play in Levinas’s philosophy. In this context the conference will question whether the biblical figures function merely as a rhetorical and literary device, as illustrations of Levinas’s ideas, or perhaps they have a deeper philosophical function that contributes to Levinas’s project in general. The conference will also discuss if Levinas’s references to biblical figures work in his philosophy in a way that other literary figures are incapable of, and how do these references comply with his conflicted attitude towards literature.
The second set of questions stems from adopting a Levinasian perspective in order to interpret the actions and stories of biblical figures that are not necessarily discussed by Levinas himself. This will lead to questions such as: Does Levinas’s thought open up a unique way for understanding biblical figures and their stories? What is the relation between Levinas’s interpretation and the traditional midrash? Does a Levinasian reading contribute to the tradition of midrashim and exegesis revealing ways to enhance and enrich these interpretations?
These questions will set up the background for a broader discussion of the relation between the two main traditions that have influenced Levinas’s thought – philosophy and Judaism, and for the examination of the intersection between philosophy, Judaism, and literature.
Ben Gurion held a Conference this past June on Belief and Doubt. They just uploaded the recording.
The speakers include: Moshe Halbertal, James Kugel, Moshe Lichtenstein, Ruth Calderon, Marc B. Shapiro, Menachem Kellner.
Full mp3 recordings are available here.