Highlighting well-known Jewish thinkers from a very wide spectrum of opinion, the author addresses a range of issues, including: What makes a thinker Jewish? What makes modern Jewish thought modern? How have secular Jews integrated Jewish traditional thought with agnosticism? What do Orthodox thinkers have to teach non-Orthodox Jews and vice versa? Each chapter includes a short, judiciously chosen selection from the given author, along with questions to guide the reader through the material. Short biographical essays at the end of each chapter offer the reader recommendations for further readings and provide the low-down on which books are worth the reader's while. Introduction to Modern Jewish Thinkers represents a decade of the author's experience teaching students ranging from undergraduate age to their seventies. This is an ideal textbook for undergraduate classes.
Modern Jewish philosophy emerged in the seventeenth century, with the impact of the new science and modern philosophy on thinkers who were reflecting upon the nature of Judaism and Jewish life. This collection of essays examines the work of several of the most important of these figures, from the seventeenth to the late-twentieth centuries, and addresses themes central to the tradition of modern Jewish philosophy: language and revelation, autonomy and authority, the problem of evil, messianism, the influence of Kant, and feminism. Included are essays on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Fackenheim, Soloveitchik, Strauss, and Levinas. Other thinkers discussed include Maimon, Benjamin, Derrida, Scholem, and Arendt. The sixteen original essays are written by a world-renowned group of scholars especially for this volume and give a broad and rich picture of the tradition of modern Jewish philosophy over a period of four centuries.
Great Jewish Thinkers
Author: Naomi E. Pasachoff
Publisher: Behrman House, Inc
A distinguished philosopher's personal response to the 20th century's major Jewish thinkers
In Jewish Faith and Modern Science, renowned Jewish philosopher and rabbi Norbert Samuelson argues that modern Jewish philosophy has died_that it has failed to address the challenges to traditional beliefs posed by scientific advances, and is therefore no longer relevant to Jews today. Samuelson confronts these challenges head-on, critically reflecting on how all of the forms of contemporary Judaism, from orthodox to liberal to secular to new age, can address questions raised by the latest scientific advances. Considering questions ranging from the existence of the soul, to the relationship between God and particle physics, to the debate over when life begins and ends, Samuelson paves the way for a rebirth of Jewish philosophy applicable to life in the modern world.
Is Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religion in the modern period--and why Jewish thinkers have fought as well as championed this idea. Ever since the Enlightenment, Jewish thinkers have debated whether and how Judaism--largely a religion of practice and public adherence to law--can fit into a modern, Protestant conception of religion as an individual and private matter of belief or faith. Batnitzky makes the novel argument that it is this clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism that is responsible for much of the creative tension in modern Jewish thought. Tracing how the idea of Jewish religion has been defended and resisted from the eighteenth century to today, the book discusses many of the major Jewish thinkers of the past three centuries, including Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Zvi Yehuda Kook, Theodor Herzl, and Mordecai Kaplan. At the same time, it tells the story of modern orthodoxy, the German-Jewish renaissance, Jewish religion after the Holocaust, the emergence of the Jewish individual, the birth of Jewish nationalism, and Jewish religion in America. More than an introduction, How Judaism Became a Religion presents a compelling new perspective on the history of modern Jewish thought.
Author: Neil Gillman
Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
The modern Jew, living in a world of shattered beliefs and competing ideologies, is often confronted with questions of faith. Sacred Fragments is for those who still care enough to continue the struggle. In forthright, nontechnical language the author addresses the most difficult theological questions of our time and shows that there are still viable Jewish answers for even the greatest skeptics.
What does one do as a Jewish philosopher if one is convinced by much of the Nietzschean critique of religion? Is there a contemporary Jewish philosophical theology that can convince in a post-metaphysical age? The argument of this book is that Joseph Soloveitchik (1903-1993) - the leading twentieth-century exponent of Modern Orthodoxy - presents an interpretation of halakhic Judaism, grounded in traditional sources, that brings a life-affirming Nietzschean sensibility to the religious life and thus serves as a Nietzschean conceptual response to the Nietzschean critique. Soloveitchik develops a form of Judaism which parries Nietzsche's critique by partially absorbing it, and is replete with key Nietzschean ideas. This original study of Soloveitchik's philosophy creates a novel context that highlights his unique contribution to Jewish thought for students and scholars in Jewish Studies, while also revealing his wider significance for those working more broadly in fields such as philosophy and Religious Studies.
A Chomprehensive anthology of classic writings on Jewish philosophy from the Bible to postmodernism.
Tracing its history from Moses Mendelssohn to today, Alan Levenson explores the factors that shaped what is the modern Jewish Bible and its centrality in Jewish life today. The Making of the Modern Jewish Bible explains how Jewish translators, commentators, and scholars made the Bible a keystone of Jewish life in Germany, Israel and America. Levenson argues that German Jews created a religious Bible, Israeli Jews a national Bible, and American Jews an ethnic one. In each site, scholars wrestled with the demands of the non-Jewish environment and their own indigenous traditions, trying to balance fidelity and independence from the commentaries of the rabbinic and medieval world.
Modern Jewish Thinkers
Author: Alan T. Levenson
Publisher: Jason Aronson Incorporated
Highlighting well-known Jewish thinkers from a very wide spectrum of opinion, this text addresses a range of issues including: what makes a thinker Jewish?; what makes modern Jewish thought modern?; how have secular Jews integrated Jewish traditional thought with agnosticism? and what do Orthodox thinkers have to teach non-Orthodox Jews and vice versa?
God, Man and History
Author: Eliezer Berkovits, David Hazony
Publisher: Shalem Press
God, Man and History examines the underpinnings of Judaism as a whole, from theology to law to the meaning of Jewish nationhood.
A Living Covenant
Author: David Hartman
Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
"'A covenantal vision of life, with mitzvah (divine commandment) as the central organizing principle in the relationship between Jews and God, liberates the intellect and the moral will. I seek to show that a tradition mediated by the Sinai covenant can encourage the development of a human being who is not afraid to assume responsibility for the ongoing drama of Jewish history. Passive resignation is seen not to be an essential trait of one whose relationship to God is mediated by the hearing of mitzvot." --from the Introduction This interpretation of Jewish teaching will appeal to all people seeking to understand the relationship between the idea of divine demand and the human response, between religious tradition and modernity. Hartman shows that a life lived in Jewish tradition need not be passive, insulated, or self-effacing, but can be lived in the modern pluralistic world with passion, tolerance, and spontaneity. The Judaic tradition is often seen as being more concerned with uncritical obedience to law than with individual freedom and responsibility. In A Living Covenant, Hartman challenges this approach by revealing a Judaism grounded in a covenant--a relational framework--informed by the metaphor of marital love rather than that of parent-child dependency. This view of life places the individual firmly within community. Hartman shows that the Judaic tradition need not be understood in terms of human passivity and resignation, but rather as a vehicle by which human individuality and freedom can be expressed within a relational matrix.