The beginning of modern Judaism can be traced to the crisis of 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This was the point of transition from Priestly to Rabbinic Judaism. But, as our three truly expert guests explain, the persisting duality between mysticism and rationalism can be found in every stage of the long history. Of special interest in this program is the attention given to the most mysterious of all Judaic scripture: The Kabbalistic Zohar.
That was the title of his book published in 2001 and discussed with us in a memorable and far-ranging “tour of the horizon.” Among the matters discussed at the very beginning of the 21st century were: missile defense, the instability caused by the end of the cold war, the Ruandan genocide. the emergence of modern China, the “dreadful” state of the middle east at the beginning of the new century and, as a matter of some surprise, the need for less American involvement in world politics. As in an earlier appearance on our program, the clarity and lucidity of his commentary was, to say the least, “magisterial.”
Or, at least, tried to acquire all important knowledge by reading every word of the Encyclopedia Britannica. This ambitious young fellow, Alan Jacobs, then wrote an amusing book about his project and, in 2004, discussed what he had learned while the proprietor challenged the limits of his and the EB’s knowledge. A good time was had by all.
IT WILL .. Never was Murphy’s Law more applicable than in the ravaging storm called Katrina which cane close to destroying New Orleans and environs. A year later the country was still reeling and struggling with accusations of “racist indifference” and governmental incompetence. In 2006 we were joined by
four excellent discussants, both scientific and journalistic, discussing the what, why and who of the disaster.