What is philosophy of Halakha? Can one understand Halakha philosophically? Is Halakha influenced by extra-halakhic factors? New streams of thought and research on these topics, by the leading scholars in the discipline, are clarified in New Streams in Philosophy of Halakhah.
The book consists of four chapters: a clarification of the scope of the study; the struggle for the place and influence of philosophy of Halakha; formalism and essentialism; and a sociological, anthropological, and gendered reading of Halakha.
These chapters clarify basic issues, including the characterization of the discipline of philosophy of Halakha, the components of Halakha, and the contribution of philosophy of Halakha to an understanding and clarification of its method and meaning. The book also discusses the question of the independence of Halakha and its openness to other ethical and philosophical worlds, the weight of extra-halakhic considerations in shaping Halakha and halakhic decisions, and the degree to which awareness of considerations from anthropology and sociology may clarify the workings of halakhic decision. At the same time, the authors consider philosophy of Halacha from a critical and normative point of view.
The book displays the cutting edge of research on philosophy of Halacha, and it is a fascinating gateway to familiarity with the discipline, with all its varied sides and aspects.