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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
A distinguished philosopher's personal response to the 20th century's major Jewish thinkers
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.
Judaism, Liberalism, and Political Theology provides the first broad encounter between modern Jewish thought and recent developments in political theology. In opposition to impetuous associations of Judaism and liberalism and charges that Judaism cannot engender a universal political order, the essays in this volume propose a new and richly detailed engagement between Judaism and the political. The vexed status of liberalism in Jewish thought and Judaism in political theology is interrogated with recourse to thinking from across the Continental tradition.
Philosemitism, as Alan T. Levenson explains, is “any pro-Jewish or pro-Judaic utterance or act.” The German term for this phenomenon appeared in the language at roughly the same time as its more famous counterpart, antisemitism, and its emergence signifies an important, often neglected aspect of German-Jewish encounters. Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism is the first assessment of the non-Jewish defense of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness from the foundation of the German Reich in 1871 until the ascent of the Nazis in 1932, when befriending Jews became a crime. Levenson takes an interdisciplinary look at fiction, private correspondence, and published works defending Jews and Judaism in early twentieth-century Germany. He reappraises the missionary Protestant defense of Judaism and advocacy of Jewry by members of the German peace movement. Literary analysis of popular novels with positive Jewish characters and exploration of the reception of Herzlian Zionism further illuminate this often overlooked aspect of German-Jewish history. Between Philosemitism and Antisemitism reveals the dynamic process by which a generally despised minority attracts defenders and supporters. It demonstrates that there was sympathy for Jews and Judaism in Imperial and Weimar Germany, although its effectiveness was limited by the values of a bygone era and scattered across the political and social spectrum. Levenson’s new afterword vividly surveys the past decade of philosemitism studies, and in a reading of Die Weltbühne, Weimar Germany’s most celebrated leftwing intellectual journal, he justifies the widely contested term of philosemitism.