Scholarship

“Although the JTS faculty was one of the most glittering collections of Jewish intellect ever gathered under one roof, it was, in the end, less than the sum of its professors”

Although the JTS faculty was one of the most glittering collections of Jewish intellect ever gathered under one roof, it was, in the end, less than the sum of its professors. Rivals they certainly were, but there was little genuine exchange of ideas. Lieberman, Heschel, and Kaplan spoke more at each other (or even about each other) than with each other. There was little dialogue, and the “transfer of emotional energy,” to use Collins’ phrase, was largely negative. They were argumentative, but they were not, in another of Collins’ useful formulations, an “argumentative community.”

Daniel Gordis, “Tradition, Creativity, and Cognitive Dissonance”, The Jewish Review of Books, vol. 6, no. 3 (Fall 2015), 9.