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From Wikipedia:

The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. ... Due to the very high frequency of interdisciplinary collaboration in science today, very large numbers of non-mathematicians in many other fields of science also have finite Erdős numbers.[7] For example, political scientist Steven Brams has an Erdős number 2. In biomedical research, it is common for statisticians to be among the authors of publications, and many statisticians can be linked to Erdős via John Tukey, who has Erdős number 2. Similarly, the prominent geneticist Eric Lander and the mathematician Daniel Kleitman have collaborated on papers,[8][9] and since Kleitman has an Erdős number of 1,[10] a large fraction of the genetics and genomics community can be linked via Lander and his numerous collaborators. ... many linguists have finite Erdős numbers ...

Sooo ...

Which rabbi/Judaic scholar has the lowest Erdos number? And which rabbi/Judaic scholar forms the best "bridge" for other scholars, as Eric Lander does for geneticists?

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Are big-time Jewish authors — really big-time, like rishonim or early acharonim or the Gra or the author of the Tanya — known to have ever collaborated? Can anyone name any who have, and with whom? –  msh210 Mar 22 '11 at 19:25
    
@msh210, I was focusing on contemporaries or near-contemporaries. Lehavdil, the same problem occurs in mathematics -- people didn't co-author papers a few centuries ago. The earliest mathematician with a known Erdos number is Dedekind (born 1831), according to Wikipedia. –  Shalom Mar 22 '11 at 19:28
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I suspect that there's a great deal more collaborative publication in academic Jewish scholarship than in Yeshivish Jewish scholarship. –  Isaac Moses Mar 23 '11 at 16:27
    
And Isaac, are there people who bridge those fields? –  Shalom Mar 23 '11 at 17:16
    
Another possible connection (but IMO unlikely and, anyway, via medicine): Bernhard Schapiro ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15635756. –  msh210 Mar 25 '11 at 15:20
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2 Answers

I don't know if he quite counts as a "rabbinic/Judaic scholar," but Robert Aumann is a serious learner, has published on Talmudic topics, and has an Erdos number of 3. If he doesn't quite count, he may yet provide your bridge, if he collaborated on a Talmud topic with someone who does.

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I've e-mailed him asking for info on this question. –  msh210 Mar 21 '11 at 16:18
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He responded saying that the only connections he could think of were Pinny Rabinowitz and Benjy Weiss, both mathematicians cum talmide chachamim, but that he doesn't know their further connections. [Note that Pinny (Philip) Rabinowitz has an Erdős number of only 2 (via Péter Vértesi FWIW).] –  msh210 Mar 23 '11 at 16:02
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...and Benjy Weiss also has Erdős number 2 (via Vitaly Bergelson). –  msh210 Mar 23 '11 at 16:07
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Other people you may want to try:


  • Professor Moshe Koppel at Bar Ilan University has a computer science background from NYU. He must have an Erdos number. Though as far as using him as a bridge, most of his Judaic publications have been solo.

  • Philospher Rabbi Dr. David Shatz has done plenty of collaboration on Judaic subjects, but I haven't yet found his philosophers' link to Erdos. Though it likely exists.

  • The late Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld had an Erdos number of at most 2; he published on Judaics in Tradition and AOJS, but I don't think he ever co-authored in those.



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Re the Jewish writers whom you (R'Shalom) did not specify as generally writing solo (or ask about): are they known to have widely collaborated? Re Rabbi Meiselman: I don't think being mentored by someone counts as collaboration. –  msh210 Mar 22 '11 at 19:22
    
Rabbi Tendler co-authors frequently with Dr. Loicke, Dr. Rosner, and many others. Rabbi Dr. Shatz has plenty of co-authors too. –  Shalom Mar 22 '11 at 19:29
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