Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and the Problem of Biblical Criticism

Did the Rav, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, deal with the major theological issues that result from the conclusions of Biblical criticism?[1] On the face of it, he did not. In fact, he seemed generally unconcerned with the historical-critical method that so dominates academia. In part based on this supposed fact, Moshe Sokol and David Singer declare that the Rav should not be considered truly “Modern Orthodox.”[2] This should be surprising to anyone who knows the Rav’s legacy as a great Modern Orthodox leader who courageously confronted the challenges of modernity – modern-day Maimonides. Sokol states boldly, “In my judgment this is the myth of R. Soloveitchik, a myth which for good sociological reasons found enormous currency amongst many Modern Orthodox Jews, who required an authority figure to make sense of and to some degree justify their participation in modernity.”

Sokol suggests several reasons why he thinks the Rav did not deal with these issues.[3] Firstly, he contends, the Rav had a philosophical orientation that did not care too overly much about history and texts, but instead about abstract categories.[4] Sokol’s second suggestion is that the Rav understood all too well the potential religious problems inherent in the study and discussion of Biblical criticism, and decided therefore not to confront it at all. He suggests that this ties into what he believes is a third reason, that the Rav sees the religious “man-child” as an ideal. After all, the Rav has stated:

The adult is too smart. Utility is his guiding-light. The experience of God is not a businesslike affair. Only the child can breach the boundaries that segregate the finite from the infinite. Only the child with his simple faith and fiery enthusiasm can make the miraculous leap into the bosom of God.[5]

Sokol argues that the Rav believed that the “man-child” doesn’t require rational proofs. Only the experience is important to him. To Sokol, this explains why the Rav claims in Lonely Man of Faith that he has “never even been troubled” by Biblical criticism. Thus, Sokol proposes that the Rav idealized an avoidance and aversion to rationality in the God experience, and therefore he did not attempt to resolve historical scholarship when it came to the Bible.[6] As we will see, others have interpreted Sokol’s three reasons for the Rav’s ignoring of the problem of Biblical criticism as themselves answers to the issue, not an avoidance of it.

It pays to see the passage alluded to above regarding the Rav having “never been seriously troubled” by Biblical criticism, since it has become the most often quoted of the Rav on Biblical criticism, arresting in its triggering of the reader’s curiosity. The Rav writes:

I have never been seriously troubled by the problem of the Biblical doctrine of creation vis-a-vis the scientific story of evolution at both the cosmic and the organic levels, nor have I been perturbed by the confrontation of the mechanistic interpretation of the human mind with the Biblical spiritual concept of man. I have not been perplexed by the impossibility of fitting the mystery of revelation into the framework of historical empiricism. Moreover, I have not even been troubled by the theories of Biblical criticism which contradict the very foundations upon which the sanctity and integrity of the Scriptures rest. However, while theoretical oppositions and dichotomies have never tormented my thoughts, I could not shake off the disquieting feeling that the practical role of the man of faith within modern society is a very difficult, indeed, a paradoxical one…[7]

Jonathan Sacks calls this passage “tantalizing, because nowhere in his writings does Soloveitchik explain the reason for his lack of perplexity.”[8] However, the scholars we shall discuss understood there to be a reason behind his seeming disinterest in Biblical criticism. It is almost as if this passage represents a necessary piece of the puzzle to be solved regarding the Rav’s relationship to Biblical criticism.

Shalom Carmy claims that though “the Rav was avowedly untroubled by, and manifestly not preoccupied with, the methods and conclusions” of Biblical criticism and other academic disciplines, it should not “signify lack of curiosity.”[9] Carmy reports that even in the Rav’s old age, he would allude to issues raised by Biblical critics. On the other hand, says Carmy, R. Soloveitchik was not nuanced when it came to refusing to accept any of the conclusions of academic Biblical scholarship. Carmy quotes, on more than one occasion, [10] a letter of the Rav, where he denies any possibility of the RCA’s involvement in the 1953 JPS translation of the Bible.[11]

Despite these interpretations, other scholars of the Rav have considered areas of the Rav’s thought which could be viewed as directly or indirectly responding to Biblical criticism.[12] The following is an outline of several such approaches. These approaches are often mere shades different, sometimes simply a varying angle, but are separated only by a certain emphasis in the approach. Some also complement each other, and can be used to answer questions inevitably raised by others

I. The Man of Faith The Man of Faith

Dov Schwartz suggests that the Rav’s emphasis on the man of faith, as opposed to the man of nature, indicates the Rav’s approach to Biblical criticism. Though Sokol, as we saw above, read the passage in Lonely Man of Faith quoted above as a reason why the Rav didn’t try to discuss Biblical criticism at all, Schwartz sees it as a philosophical outlook that is indeed a response to the issues of Biblical criticism:

He is well aware of the concern that biblical criticism had evoked in the nineteenth century among a considerable number of Jewish thinkers. Nevertheless, he holds that the faith of the modern individual is not at all troubled by this question… Soloveitchik, then, removes the modern concept of “faith” from its traditional contexts and problems.[13]

Why is the man of faith not concerned with such problems? Because, Schwartz writes, the Rav believes that:

“Majestic man” strives to control reality and its forces in his benefit… For this purpose, he creates an array of ideal structures—mathematical and physical—that imitate reality, through which he indeed subdues it according to his needs. In contrast, “the man of faith” “explores not the scientific abstract universe but the irresistibly fascinating qualitative world where he establishes an intimate relation with God.” Soloveitchik’s version of faith is thus closely linked to an understanding of the foundations of concrete existence—removed from ideal existence—and characterizes life as an “existential experience.”[14]

To Schwartz, the man of faith is concerned about the existential dialectic of having a relationship with God in the world. The man of faith is only focused on the constant searching for a solution to the loneliness that pursues him. Schwartz notes that this approach makes the Man of Faith impervious to the kind of issues raised by Biblical criticism. “A faith of this type, allowing a dialogue with the other and with God, cannot be subject to cognitive or pragmatic reduction.”

Another approach that exists within the “Man of Faith” paradigm is the idea that the faith in particular needs to believe in certain non-rational historical truths to maintain meaning and self-worth. We noted earlier that Sokol attributes the Rav’s idealized form of religious cognition, the “man-child,” as one of the reasons why he did not discuss the issue of Biblical criticism. Rational proofs are not necessary for the man of faith.[15] Though this would seem, as Sokol suggests, a non-answer to Biblical criticism, the Rav actually uses this concept of non-rational, “apodictic,” truth when it comes to historicity and the Bible in the same way. In his discussion early on in Abraham’s Journey,[16] he discusses the problem presented by Bible critics, “Jew or gentile,” who “cast serious doubt upon the authenticity of the narrative.” There, the Rav presents two arguments to head off this issue. Firstly, new discoveries are occurring constantly in archeology that could prove or buttress the biblical report, creating a situation now where “skepticism regarding the biblico-historical account has, of late, lost much of its vigor and arrogance… The fury of the historian – the passionate seeker of truth – against the ‘Abraham myth’ has abated.”[17] Secondly, and more importantly for our discussion, the Rav states that “to us, this problem” of historicity is “almost irrelevant.” He goes on, “We need no evidence of the historical existence of our patriarch, just as there is no necessity for clear-cut logical evidence concerning the reality of God.” The Rav posits that just as God is axiomatic to any cognitive activity, so is belief in the historical reality of Abraham. This is because:

As the architect and founder of our nation, Abraham left such an indelible imprint upon our unfolding historic destiny that he has been integrated into our historical consciousness… The narrative about his life is almost, to use a Kantian term, an apodictic truth, a constitutive category that activates our great historical experience and lends it meaning and worth. If we were to deny the truth of the Abraham story, our historic march would be a fathomless mystery, an insensate, cruel, absurd occurrence that prosecutes no goal and moves on toward nothingness, running down to its own doom… If Abraham were a myth, a legend, a beautiful but fantastic vision, then we would be faced with a tragic hoax and the ridicule of the centuries and millennia.

The Rav considers non-rational motives of meaning and loss thereof that require the Jew to cling to a belief in the reality of Abraham. Presumably, this would apply to many other areas of the Biblical account, including the forefathers and Moses, and therefore the Bible’s revelatory event itself. This kind of approach is interesting, as it employs meaning, and the unwillingness to face the “tragic hoax” of Jewish history if it were found to be falsified, as a response to Biblical criticism. While it can hardly establish truth of history, we can say that the Rav was getting at a reticence to rely on falsifying conclusions when other paradigms continue to be worthy. This may be why he puts forth his first answer of archeological findings confirming Jewish history, since that means we can still hold onto the truths present in it.

II. The Use of Typological Categories

A similar approach is taken by Rabbi Reuven Ziegler (citing Rabbi Shalom Carmy),[18] namely that the Rav employs differing assumptions as an exegete of the text of the Bible, as opposed to the common assumptions employed by Bible critics. This is exemplified in Lonely Man of Faith. After saying that he is uninterested in the problems of Biblical criticism, the Rav uses a method of exegesis that resolves a problem of textual scholarship – examining the two incongruent descriptions of man’s creation and his purpose in the Garden of Eden from chapters one and two of Genesis. His resolution, that the two narratives represent the multi-faceted and dialectical nature of man, Adam I and Adam II, can be broadly characterized as providing differing approaches to man’s identity and purpose in the world. The Bible contains dialectical approaches, which don’t have to be resolved or harmonized in any way, but rather interpreted as such. Carmy suggests that this represents the best kind of approach to Biblical criticism, which is to deal with it obliquely by presenting “a compelling alternate understanding.” The other way is to “respond to them point-by-point,” which is problematic because “one is playing in their arena and is constantly on the defensive.”

III. The Halakhic Man and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative

In Part I of Halakhic Man the Rav builds up the personality of the ideal Jew, the Halakhic Man, who successfully harmonizes the dialectic present in every human through the use of the Halakha. In Part II, he describes Halakhic Man’s great capacity for creativity. He takes every theoretical position and converts it to practical Halakha. The Rav describes this man looking at Scripture and deriving Halakhic principles out of even the most mundane narrative. He celebrates the Midrashic passage that speaks of the narrative portions as even more important than the legal portions, and sees practical Halakha even in the eschatological vision. Every line and letter of Scripture “alludes to basic principles of Torah law.”[19] The story of creation is neither mere dogma nor the revelation of metaphysical mysteries, “but rather in order to teach practical Halakha. The Scriptural portion of the creation narrative is a legal portion…that man is obliged to engage in creation and the renewal of the cosmos.”

The Rav’s Halakhic Man may have been able to respond to Biblical criticism through conversion of narrative into Halakhic imperatives and principles. Scripture becomes ahistorical when viewed as a legal textbook that is not bound in time. A Bible scholar’s objections regarding the historical realities of the Bible’s creation are a non-sequitur to the Halakhic Man, who ignores such theories in favor of his own halakhic worldview and vision.

IV. The Halakhic Mind and Epistemological Pluralism

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in several places,[20] writes about what he sees as the Rav’s idea of epistemological pluralism. In Sacks’s book Crisis and Covenant, he uses this idea to answer the question of the Rav’s response to Biblical criticism. Science and religion never require synthesis because, as Sacks writes, “The scientist, the sociologist and the poet each bring their different methodologies to bear on reality and as a result they see it in different ways, through different concepts.”[21] Sacks identifies this train of thought most explicitly in Halakhic Mind, in which the Rav wrote that “the object reveals itself in manifold ways to the subject,” and that “a certain telos corresponds to each of these ontological manifestations.” Thus, the reason why Biblical criticism and other fields of scholarship seem to conflict with religious belief is because of a misapplication of these categories. The scientific outlook is concerned for causality, but the religionist’s faith is completely unconcerned with how it came to be and is, in the Rav’s words, “aboriginal.” The religious faith in revelation, explains Sacks, “resists explanation in terms of prior causes…The fact that the biblical text, for example, contains apparent contradictions is not the result of its having been written by many hands, but rather evidence that it reflects and endorses conflicting dimensions of the human condition, with which the religious personality has to struggle in ceaseless dialectic.”

Both Sacks, and Walter Wurzburger, see this ceaseless dialectic in the Rav’s emphasis on typological categories. The Rav describes these categories as existing in each person, creating a state of tension that a person must resolve. If so, a similar situation occurs when one is confronted with issues of Biblical criticism. Examining Lonely Man of Faith’s dialectical Adams makes this clear. Adam I (from chapter one of Genesis) recognizes the ways of nature, archeology, and the scientific world. However, Adam II (from chapter two of Genesis) is a man of faith, in a religious, God-conscious mode of thinking through which he seeks to solve his existential loneliness. These will always be in tension, and never be fully and actually resolved. Walter Wurzberger argues that the Rav only accepted scientific conclusions outside of the religious experience:

…for the Rav the endorsement of scientific methods is strictly limited to the realm of Adam I…causal explanations are irrelevant in the domain of Adam II, who can overcome his existential loneliness only through the establishment of a ‘covenantal community,’ enabling him to relate to transcendence.[22]

Both Sacks and Wurzburger see the Rav’s use of Halakha as the response to the crisis found in the tension between the two modes of thinking in the modern world. As Wurzburger puts it, “According to R. Soloveitchik, scientific methods are appropriate only for the explanation of natural phenomena but have no place in the quest for the understanding of the normative and cognitive concepts of Halakha, which imposes its own a priori categories, which differ from those appropriate in the realm of science. It is for this reason that the Rav completely ignores Bible criticism…” Halakha assumes different categories of reality than science does, and thus, the two methods cannot interact. This brings us to the next kind of answer.

V. The A Priori Torah and The Normative Halakha

To Norman Solomon, because the Rav believes halakha to be an “a priori system,” (meaning a system that assumes propositions preceding logical deductions), this “renders it immune to history, just like geometry is unaffected by the historical circumstances of its discovery.”[23] The Rav’s words in Halakhic Man leave no doubt about this: “When Halakhic Man approaches reality, he comes with his Torah, given to him from Sinai, in hand…When Halakhic Man comes across a spring bubbling quietly, he already possesses a fixed, a priori relationship with this real phenomenon: the complex of laws regarding the halakhic construct of a spring.” Can this relate to the problems of Biblical criticism? The Rav uses the phrase, a “Torah, given to him from Sinai,” which stakes a historical claim, yet from the perspective of the Halakhic Man. Solomon assumes that if Halakha is axiomatic to the Rav, the historicity of the Torah would be as well, though this might be conflating the two. However, we might combine this with what we saw in Abraham’s Journey above, that the reality of Abraham is a given, axiological to the historical identity of the Jew. As Solomon puts it, the Rav represents a change from Maimonides’ assertion of the historicity of the Torah, because it has transformed from a “historical claim to a metaphysical, unverifiable, and therefore unfalsifiable one.”

Almut Bruckstein contends that the Rav was something of a neo-Kantian in his view of the halakha, arguing in particular that Halakhic Mind and Halakhic Man are two works which bear the distinctive marks of neo-Kantian methodology. In so doing, she argues toward a new understanding of the Rav’s understanding of Halakha, in which belief in Torah from Sinai is a “halakhic construct,” instead of an empirical claim. She writes:

The traditional formulation of the Halakha as an expression of the divine will is interpreted in neo-Kantian terms as the objectification of a person’s normative relationship to the world within the context of propositions genuine to Halakha… Consider then the following intriguing implication of JBS’s claim that halakhic reasoning is a cognitive act based upon a priori, autonomous, and ideal categories. This claim by definition excludes any external empirical factor (historical, social, psychological or otherwise) from being a constituent of the halakhic process. Taking this proposition rigorously, we will have to reject the idea that the Halakha had a historical beginning. Any attempt to base the genesis of halakhic thinking upon empirical circumstances would be a contradiction in terms – even if such an empirical claim were only to apply to its inception at a single place and a single moment in time; it would abrogate the a priori character of halakhic reason and turn it into an a posteriori affair. The concepts “mattan Torah” and “Moshe kibbel Torah miSinai,” are to be viewed then as halakhic constructs themselves, rather than as historical constituents.[24]

Interestingly, Bruckstein suggests that according to the Rav, normative halakha renders the story of the Sinaitic revelation true through “the ‘perpetuation’ and ‘reenactment’ of that moment of Truth at any moment of a person’s studying Torah.”[25]

Aviezer Ravitzky puts it similarly, that the Rav turned,

…from the logos of the cosmos to the logos of the halakhah, from the knowledge of God’s action (Creation) to the knowledge of God’s word (Sinai)… In other words: the halakhah, like creation, implies construction and formation by means of quantification and definition, distinction and separation. In sum, creation is an “halakhic” occurrence, while halakhic activity is a “creative” occurrence. The Divine creative act, establishing the real, on the one hand, and the human creative act, concretizing and actualizing the ideal, on the other hand, are contiguous… The argument about the mutual connection between the world and the halakhah refers to the very existence of the world, its very being, rather than to its being as it is, its qualities and specific inner laws. It concerns the “is” as such, not the “what” and “how.”[26]

Again, we find the “normative halakha” can create a “halakhic reality” that changes the very meaning of our perception of reality. Creation becomes a task that a halakhic man accomplishes, rendering “God’s creation” a daily ritual that indeed does happen. And from another angle, belief is not toward an empirical reality but a halakhic one. This “halakhic reality” need not align with what we would call “historical facts,” yet are true nonetheless, since they are based on valid “a priori” principles.

VII. Subjective Truth Turned Objective Perspective

By combining several approaches, we can use the approach of the Rav from Halakhic Mind that the halakhic epistemology has a kind of “objective truth” that starts with subjectivity of life. If Halakha is the objectification of a subjective data set, which is what the Rav claims in this work then we can contend that this legitimates other views of religion, because others could have a different objectification using different a priori facts. Thus, one can legitimize Biblical criticism as a different perspective, but not legitimate within one’s own system. This combines Sacks’s approach of epistemological pluralism, with Solomon’s a priori Torah, together with Bruckstein’s normative Halakha.

We find this used most in the Rav’s essay on interfaith dialogue, “Confrontation.” Sokol and Singer consider “Confrontation” as less modern in the Rav’s thinking, containing what they call “vestiges of Brisker” conservatism. But, in fact, “Confrontation” contains a far-reaching philosophical framework that indicates that one can recognize that others maintain a conceptual system that is at odds with one’s own, and their beliefs are legitimate within their system, but not within one’s own. Thus, the reason the Rav was against interfaith dialogue was that engagement in faith dialogue is a philosophical error. Indeed, the Rav applies this even to talking to people of one’s own faith community. “The great encounter between God and man is a wholly personal private affair incomprehensible to the outsider – even to a brother of the same faith community.”[27] Why can’t you speak to a “brother of the same faith community”, a fellow Jew, regarding faith? The Rav says it is completely private and personal, but he does not explain it further. In this author’s opinion, he means to say that everyone carries a subjective view of the world and their religious experience cannot be compared to others. Thus, to speak and be forced to use similar language to communicate, as if they can be compared, is inappropriate and incorrect. Yet, he cannot be calling another Jew’s religious experience incorrect. So he must provide for them a legitimacy outside of his own perspective and his own religious experience.

In fact, the Rav constantly seems to apologize for describing his own perspective on Jewish religious experiences. In his introduction to prayer in Worship of the Heart, he says that he does “not claim universal validity for my conclusions.”[28] He hopes only to allow people to gain insight from his “clear language”, describing his individual experiences of prayer in such a way that it would allow others to gain benefit. He continues this pattern in Lonely Man of Faith, where he states, “Before I go any further, I want to make the following reservation. Whatever I am about to say is to be seen only as a modest attempt on the part of a man of faith to interpret his spiritual perceptions and emotions in modern theologico-philosophical categories. My interpretive gesture is completely subjective and lays no claim to representing a definitive Halakhic philosophy.”[29]

In this author’s opinion, this represents one aspect of the Rav’s perspectivist philosophy. Indeed, the Rav indicates that even among other Jews, it is impossible to relate the perspective of one to another. Yet the Rav does not hold back from doing so in this sense, because it can inform the other Jew about his own observance through the delineation of clear categories. But what can the Jew do in this to help a Christian, who bears no similarity in his conception, for example, to what prayer is and its experience? Creating Jewish categories of prayer and typological categories would not aid the Christian very much. In sum, from one’s own perspective and experience, something can be wrong, while simultaneously others have truth from their perspective. Applied to Biblical criticism, this approach has the advantage of granting validity to it as a notion, but not to someone whose religious experience deems it false. The Rav was not interested in Biblical criticism, perhaps, only within his own religious perspective, but granted the allowance to others who maintained a differing religious perspective. This attitude may seem like maddening nonsense to some (“either it is true or it is not?!” they might fume), but in a postmodern world that refuses to create objective standards of right and wrong, true and false, it can be an acceptable approach.

What we have seen from these various approaches is the use of the vast corpus of the Rav’s writings to respond to the challenge of Biblical criticism from his perspective. There are multiple avenues of understanding, many of which overlap, as one would expect from such a varied array of sources and presentations. So is Sokol right in asserting that the Rav completely ignored the problems of Biblical criticism facing the modern Jew, and thus cannot be correctly deemed a “modern Orthodox” leader? As we have shown, many interpreters of the Rav disagree with this accusation and understand the Rav as having at least laid a foundation that would render the question irrelevant or as an existential dialectic that constantly remains in tension. Instead of wondering why the Rav would not be concerned with the issues of Biblical criticism, as he states in Lonely Man of Faith, we can rest assured that the groundwork already exists in his thought to deal with it and any other empirical issue.

 

[1] Biblical criticism encompasses many fields and categories. In this essay, it refers to the broadest historical claims of Bible critics regarding the Pentateuch in particular, i.e. denial of the historicity of a revelation at Sinai, claims of multiple authors, and late attribution to much of its writing.

[2] David Singer, Moshe Sokol, “Joseph Soloveitchik: Lonely Man of Faith,” Modern Judaism, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Oct., 1982), 227-272.

[3] ibid. 249-250.

[4] For an explicit claim from the Rav that this is the case, I would suggest one should see especially Alan Brill’s transcription of a speech the Rav gave in 1959 that would become the precursor to his publishing Lonely Man of Faith. The Rav states there that Bible critics make the mistake of not reading the biblical text for its philosophical content, instead “they substituted source criticism for philosophic ideas…I am not interested in the source, [but] rather the literary structure for the two accounts. The story is not something arbitrary. The story of bringing Eve was intended to show that one account is not sufficient.” https://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/rav-soloveitchik-religious-definitions-of-man-and-his-social-institutions-1959-part-4-of-7/.

[5] Joseph Epstein (ed.), Shiurei Harav (New York, 1974), 63-64.

[6] See Joseph B. Soloveitchik, The Emergence of Ethical Man, ed. by Michael S. Berger (Jersey City, NJ: Ktav, 2005), 4-5, where the Rav declares disinterest in resolving the issue of evolution versus creation, since one can easily find a solution to that question. The more pressing issue borne from the narrative, he states, is the “theoretically irreconcilable… concept of man as the bearer of the divine image with the equaling of man and animal-plant existences.”

[7] Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith. (New York, 1992.), 7.

[8] Jonathan Sacks, Crisis and Covenant: Jewish Thought After the Holocaust, (Manchester University Press, 1992), 191. Interestingly, Tamar Ross, too, calls this passage “tantalizing.” Tamar Ross, “Orthodoxy And The Challenge Of Biblical Criticism,” 11

[9] Shalom Carmy, “Of Eagle’s Flight and Snail’s Pace,” Exploring the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, 113.

[10] ibid., 114, as well as Carmy, “A Room With A View, But A Room Of Our Own,” Modern Scholarship in the Study of Torah: Contributions and Limitations, (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996), 27; idem, “The Human Factor: A Plea for Second Opinions,” Mind, Body, and Judaism: The Interaction of Jewish Law with Psychology and Biology, (KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 2004), 99.

[11] Soloveitchik, Netan’el Helfgoṭ, Community, Covenant, and Commitment: Selected Letters and Communications of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, (KTAV Publishing House, Inc., Jan 1, 2005), 110. Seth Farber, however, argues that this had more to do with the Rav’s burgeoning position on inter-denominational dialogue, which was becoming more restrictive when it came to ideological issues. See Seth Farber, “Reproach, Recognition and Respect: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Orthodoxy’s Mid-Century Attitude Toward Non-Orthodox Denominations,” American Jewish History, Vol. 89, No. 2 (June 2001), 199.

[12] Rabbi Carmy told me (Feb. 2016 correspondence) that in his opinion, any other opinions on the subject represent “authors speculat[ing] in accordance with their own predilections.”

[13] Dov Schwartz, Faith at the Crossroads: A Theological Profile of Religious Zionism (BRILL, Jan 1, 2002), 38-39.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Indeed, the Rav has high praise for Kierkegaard in a lengthy footnote to Lonely Man of Faith: “Does the loving bride in the embrace of her beloved ask for proof that he is alive and real? Must the prayerful soul clinging in passionate love ecstasy to her Beloved demonstrate that He exists?  So asked Soren Kierkegaard sarcastically when told that Anselm of Canterbury, the father of the very abstract and complex ontological proof, spent many days in prayer and supplication that he be presented with rational evidence of the existence of God.”

[16] Soloveitchik, Abraham’s Journey: Reflections on the Life of the Founding Patriarch, (KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 2008) 2-4.

[17] ibid, 2.

[18] Ronnie Ziegler, “Introduction to the Philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik,” 20b http://etzion.org.il/vbm/english/archive/rav/rav20b.htm. See also a much broader discussion of this in his book, Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Solovetchik, (Urim Publications, 2012), Ch. 17.

[19] Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man, (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1984), 99-100.

[20] See also Sacks, “Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik’s Early Epistemology: A Review of the Halakhic Mind,” Tradition Journal, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Spring 1988), 75-87

[21] Sacks, Crisis and Covenant: Jewish Thought After the Holocaust, (Manchester University Press, 1992), 191.

[22] Walter Wurzburger, “Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik As Posek Of Post-modern Orthodoxy,’ Exploring the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1997), 7.

[23] Norman Solomon, Torah from Heaven: The Reconstruction of Faith, (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2012), 244-247.

[24] Almut Bruckstein, “Halakhic Epistemology in neo-Kantian Garb: J. B. Soloveitchik’s Philosophical Writings Revisited,” Jewish Studies Quarterly, Volume 5 (1998), 352, 359-360

[25] Ibid 360, n. 68. We can add that the Rav’s description of recreation of the cosmos through the Halakhic process we saw quoted before in Halakhic Man Part II, can render the creation story true as well by virtue of it happening through the study of Torah every day.

[26] Aviezer Ravitzky, “Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik on Human Knowledge: Between Maimonidean and Neo-Kantian Philosophy,” Modern Judaism, Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1986), pp. 157-188

[27] Soloveitchik, Confrontation and Other Essays (New Milford, CT: Maggid, 2015), 109

[28] Soloveitchik, Worship of the Heart: Essays on Jewish Prayer (New York, NY: KTAV Publishing House, 2003), 2

[29] Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith