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The Discipline of Philosophy and the Invention of Modern Jewish Thought


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Seeks to reclaim the power and authority the past exerts in the Talmud

About the Author

Sergey Dolgopolski is an associate professor in the Departments of Comparative Literature and of Jewish Thought and is the Gordon and Gretchen Gross Professor of Jewish Thought at the University of Buffalo (SUNY). He holds a joint PhD in Jewish studies from UC Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union, and a Doctor of Philosophical Sciences from the Russian Academy of Sciences. His general area of interest is in philosophy and literature. He is the author of What Is Talmud? The Art of Disagreement (Fordham University Press, 2009), The Open Past: Subjectivity and Remembering in the Talmud (Fordham University Press, 2012), and Other Others: The Political after the Talmud (Fordham University Press, 2018).


A brilliant and innovative study of how the work of memory can transform human identity, weaving the speech and thought of the single person into the fabric of an ongoing transmission of sayings, refutations of sayings, defenses of sayings, refutations of defenses, and so on without end, until all that is left is a virtual identity awaiting reactivation by another learner who, in tum, is transformed into new pathways within the ever-growing work of memory.----Bruce Rosenstock, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sergei Dolgopolski's project here should not be underestimated: It is nothing else than 'undo[ing] the erasure of the thought processes in the Talmud from the intellectual map of the West,' and Dolgopolsky is up to the task. Toward that aim, he offers fine articulations of Heidegger and Levinas as their thought shapes this project, along with a lucid explanation of the relevance and differences of philosophy, rhetoric and Talmud vis-a-vis thinking, memory and personhood. Overall, the book is a stunning illustration of what can be done once the assumption of the 'thinking subject' in the Talmud is set aside in favor of the 'very complex dance of thinking.'----Jonathan Boyarin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
...Dolgopolski has caught the phenomenological aura of Talmud, the uncanny sense that Talmud is Torah, an order of thinking as truth whose source transcends a controlling, thinking human subject who is present at hand. * Los Angeles Review of Books *

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