Through Raskolnikov’s narrative, Dostoevsky engages with deep philosophical questions regarding the relationship between tradition, rationality, and the individual. The strategy at use in “Crime and Punishment” is especially relevant to Orthodox Jews facing moral challenges today. By carefully painting the mindset of his protagonist, Dostoevsky argues that social and moral traditions and obligations ought not to be disposed of – explains Natan Levin in this week’s The BEST.
A new edition of the classic Hebrew translation of Rambam’s “Guide for the Perplexed” has a lot to recommend it, says Daniel Korobkin in his review. These include punctuation, glossary of technical terms, and useful indices. But, the editor’s demarcating the “philosophical” from the “pure Torah” content he does a disservice to the very task Rambam set for himself – and to contemporary students of the Guide.
Asher Oser writes on Augustine’s “Confessions” for The BEST: When he wrote the “Confessions,” Augustine was a middle-aged man looking back on his younger years. I am now close to the age Augustine was when he began to write the “Confessions.” As I reflect on my choices, Augustine’s mature awareness of God’s providence in his past helps to move me in that direction. What he experienced at the time as his own choices are now refracted in light of God’s providence.
R. Jonathan Sacks was a frequent critic of the emergence of a post-truth culture and also a life-long opponent of moral relativism. Yet, in his book, “The Dignity of Difference,” he was an ardent proponent of a form of religious pluralism. When first published over 20 years ago his position was both attacked and misunderstood—giving rise to questions about how his Orthodoxy and his devotion to objective truth were able to sit alongside his advocacy for a form of religious pluralism. Sam Lebens and Erica Brown discuss these and related topics in the TRADITION Podcast.