Higayon: Studies in Rabbinic Logic

Editors: Moshe Koppel and Ely Merzbach

It is impossible to fully appreciate Talmudic literature without some understanding of Rabbinic logic. The Talmud includes discussions of a broad range of methods for establishing facts, reasoning with uncertainty and resolving conflicting principles. It is reasonable to inquire to what extent these methods are syntactic and independent of the particular contexts in which they are employed, and whether or not they are founded upon some uniform approach to the problem of logical inference. A fuller comprehension of underlying principles of Rabbinic thought is essential to its generalization and application. For example, many contemporary halachic problems, particularly in the State of Israel, are issues of public administration -- medicine, transportation, communication, social services, etc. -- which can be dealt with in a meaningful way only through the use of statistical information. Therefore, a thorough analysis of the methods employed by the Rabbis for reasoning with uncertainty is needed in order to construct a coherent approach to statistical inference. Perhaps one of the reasons that the formal analysis of Rabbinic logic has not previously been undertaken is the dominant role played by classical Greek logic in the formal study of logic for many centuries. Any attempt to interpret Rabbinic thought in terms of this classical logic would inevitably lead to some degree of distortion. It is possible that the contemporary study of alternative logics may provide us with more appropriate models for the interpretation of Rabbinic logic. In light of this, the purpose of HIGAYON is to encourage the analysis of Jewish sources and the elaboration of the original ideas implicit in them. We publish papers which deal directly with the general issues presented here and also papers which shed light on these issues through discussion of more specific topics. We are happy to receive papers reflecting a wide variety of approaches, be they historical, literary, formal, comparative, etc. The journal is bilingual (Hebrew and English) and appears whenever we have enough good papers to fill a volume (every two years or so). So far four volumes and a book have appeared.
For more information please email Moshe Koppel
Last modified: Sun Jan 12 10:46:10 IST