The Open Canon

On the Meaning of Halakhic Discourse


In this groundbreaking study Avi Sagi outlines a broad spectrum of answers to important questions presented in Jewish literature, covering theological issues bearing on the meaning of the Torah and of revelation, as well as hermeneutical questions regarding understanding of the halakhic text.

This is the first volume to attempt to provide a comprehensive map of the available views and theories concerning the theological, hermeneutical, and ontological meaning of dispute as a constitutive element of Halakhah. It offers an attentive reading of the texts and strives to present, clearly and exhaustively, the conscious account of Jewish tradition in general and of halakhic tradition in particular concerning the meaning of halakhic discourse.

“Avi Sagi is one of the most brilliant scholars of our day. This book demonstrates that he possesses a prodigious command of the vast corpus of rabbinical literature as it has developed over the centuries and his knowledge of secular philosophical literature is equally erudite….He allows the sources to speak for themselves, even as he provides philosophical contexts and considerations that shed light on those sources. This book is an unparalleled feast for knowledgeable laypeople and scholars who are interested in grasping the dynamic and manifold nature of Jewish law and its many approaches to the questions of authority.”
David Ellenson, President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“Sagi presents a very stimulating and thought-provoking discussion of the receptio-history and development of classical halakhah, which can serve as the basis for further discussions on halakhah amongst jews of different outlooks and denominations”
Catherine Hezser, Book Reviews Vol.10 No.1 2009