Thursday, June 14, 2007

Where Have All the Theologians Gone?

Elliot Cosgrove has a provocative article in the current issue of the Forward in which he asks where all of today's theologians are (link):

Name five contemporary Jewish theologians saying something interesting about Jewish belief who had not already published a major work by 1990.

Stumped? So am I.

Over the past few months, I have asked my theologically minded colleagues this question, and the responses have been disheartening...

With Borowitz and Gillman retiring from their teaching positions at, respectively, Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, it is altogether troubling that there is no theological heir apparent at either institution. And last month’s passing of Mordechai Breuer serves to underscore the shortage of Orthodox thinkers who are fully engaged with the claims of modernity and critical scholarship.
Briefly, from the Modern Orthodox world -- R. Shalom Carmy, R. Chaim Eisen, Dr. Shalom Rosenberg, R. Yitzchak Blau and R. Meir Soloveichik, just to name a few. OK, Dr. Rosenberg may have published works before 1990, but I don't think a major work. The same with R. Carmy and R. Eisen. And if we are going to include R. Mordechai Breuer, then we should certainly also include R. Elchanan Samet and R. Yoel Bin-Nun.

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