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About Prof. Kaplan

Lawrence J. Kaplan is Professor of Rabbinics and Jewish Philosophy in the Department of Jewish Studies of McGill University, Montreal Quebec, where he has been teaching for over the past forty years. He received his B.A. from Yeshiva College, his M.A. and PhD. from Harvard University, and Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elkhanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He was a Starr Fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies of Harvard University in 2005, a Tikvah Fellow at the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization of New York University Law School in 2011-2012, and a Polonsky Fellow at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Judaic Studies in 2013.

Kaplan is well known for his exceptionally wide range of interests and areas of expertise, and has published extensively in both medieval and modern Jewish thought. He has coedited both The Thought of Moses Maimonides and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and Jewish Spirituality. Perhaps he is best known or his many studies of the thought of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik and for his translation from the Hebrew of his classic essay Ish ha-Halakhah (Halakhic Man). This translation was lauded by Soloveitchik scholars as the “gold standard” for Soloveitchik translations, and Professor Arnold Ages in a review of Kaplan’s translation referred to him as “the Ralph Mannheim of translators from the Hebrew.” 

Among Kaplan’s many articles which have aroused great interest are “Maimonides on the Miraculous Element in Prophecy,” “Daas Torah: A Modern Conception of Rabbinic Authority,” “Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy,” and “The Hazon Ish: Haredi Critic of Traditional Orthodoxy.” Professor Arnold I. Davidson, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Romance Languages of the University of Chicago, referring to Kaplan’s essay on the Hazon Ish, described it as being “fundamental not only to understanding the Hazon Ish, but to understanding the very idea of modernity. It should be read not only by scholars of Jewish thought, but by all historians of modernity.”

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