THE ANALYTIC MOVEMENTThe Analytic Movement: Hayyim Soloveitchik and his Circle. South Florida Studies in the History of Judaism. Atlanta Georgia: Scholars Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55540-764-1
This was my PhD thesis for the University of Manchester, completed in 1966. Although I gained the degree magna cum laude I was not myself happy with the thesis, and in any case was fully occupied with pastoral responsibilities and the needs of a young family, so the work was laid aside. Somehow it came to the attention of Aaron Kirschenbaum, Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University, and in 1973 he requested permission to publish two chapters in the journal Diné Israel of which he was joint editor with Zeev Falk (items 1973-01 and 1975-01 in my list of Studies). This seems to have aroused some interest, and in the early 1990’s Jacob Neusner persuaded me to allow the complete work to be published in the series he was editing for Scholars Press. I did not feel at that stage that I could update the work, but I added a Preface.
The twelve rabbis whose work the book covers certainly constituted a coherent, distinctive, and significant body within the traditional world of Jewish learning, and their methods have become normative in the Yeshiva world. I aimed to describe their method of legal reasoning, and located it within the framework of legal theory as well as traditional learning. However, I now believe that the first consciously to develop the techniques of conceptual analysis that characterize the Analytic Movement was not Soloveitchik himself but his older contemporary at Volozhyn, Jacob Isaac Reines, a remarkable rabbi who fell out of favour with the Yeshiva establishment on account of his commitment to secular studies (though he opposed haskala) and his Zionist activity.
I eventually concluded that the analytic technique employed by these rabbis was historically unsound, and I lost interest in the School. However, my interest in methods of rabbinic logic and interpretation remained strong; see the Classified List in the Studies pages of this site.