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Elliot N. Dorff: An Intellectual Portrait

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Chapter Summary

Elliot Dorff labors for honesty. Whether it is in law, philosophy, theology, or as a public intellectual, clarity and humility are central elements of his work. Honesty, humility, and humor go hand in hand for Dorff. In his opinion, alongside Hume's rather amusing Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) stands Nietzsche's sense of humor and fascination with laughter. The University of Judaism has enabled Dorff to develop a multifaceted career as a theologian, a moral philosopher, a religious ethicist, and a public intellectual. Dorff's involvement in national debate and legislation never jeopardized his primary commitment to advance the cause of Conservative Judaism in America. His effort for clear and honest description and assessment of the Conservative Movement's evolution would not gloss over the fractures that had occurred and the fissures that continue to ripple through the community.

Keywords: America; Elliot Dorff; Nietzsche; theology; University of Judaism



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