Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book review: Hidary, "Dispute for the Sake of Heaven"

Richard Hidary. Dispute for the Sake of Heaven: Legal Pluralism in the Talmud. Providence Brown Judaic Studies, 2010. xii + 441 pp.
$65.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-930675-77-3.

Reviewed by David Levine (Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem)
Published on H-Judaic (January, 2012)
Commissioned by Jason Kalman
This is a knowledgeable and broad-minded study, and Hidary brings a variety of skills to his research. Philological technique is coupled with literary sensitivity throughout the book, and textual analyses and their resultant conclusions are placed within theoretical
considerations of legal pluralism. Historical contextualization plays a prominent role in the conclusion when explanations are considered for the differing approaches of the Talmudim. In the spirit of Hillel's _u'dela mosif yesuf_ (Avot 1:13: "One who does not add, will meet his end"), I will offer a few thoughts and responses to some of
the points made.