JPS has reissued Cohen and Mendes-Flohr’s vintage paintings, probably an important, complete anthology on hand on twentieth century Jewish inspiration. This striking quantity provides one hundred forty concise but authoritative essays by way of popular Jewish figures Eugene Borowitz, Emil Fackenheim, Blu Greenberg, Susannah Heschel, Jacob Neusner, Gershom Scholem, Adin Steinsaltz, and so forth. They outline and replicate upon such vital principles as charity, selected humans, loss of life, kin, love, delusion, pain, Torah, culture and extra. With entries from Aesthetics to Zionism, this e-book presents extraordinary insights into either the Jewish event and the Judeo-Christian tradition.
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Additional info for 20th Century Jewish Religious Thought
Paradoxically, in order for the commandments to be truly authoritative, they must ground themselves in a reality that precedes the act of acceptance and is therefore not dependent on the act of acceptance itself. This is the significance that Maimonides sees in the rabbis' observation that the first "commandment" could not be a simple command, to be accepted only on authority. Rather it had to be a statement of fact, an independently ascertainable truth, which, precisely by its independence and verifiability, could serve as a foundation for an acceptance of authority that would not immediately collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions.
Indeed, this whole approach errs in making Paul into a phenomenological thinker rather than a religious innovator, the creator of a new and powerful myth. However, this interpretative approach does at least point to the possibility of a kind of anti-Judaism that is not bound up with anti-Semitism, though this attitude seems essentially a product of the modern world, alien to the thought processes of both the ancient and the medieval worlds. Where Judaism is thought of as a philosophy of lifeoptimistic, rationalistic, and instructive-it may be rejected by certain types of thinkers as failing to come to grips with what is most problematic in human nature without the adoption of a paranoid view of the Jews as responsible for everything that has ever gone wrong.
Spinoza was certainly both a kofer be'ikkar and a kofer ba-Torah in the sense of Maimonides, yet he surely possessed his own notion of God. Hence, the problem and the unease of recognition granted by monotheistic religions to believers in other such religions. Maimonides' own high rating of Islam versus his low rating of Christianity is very much in point. For the believer in the God of one religion may well be an atheist under a description adopted by another. Therefore, no less important than the question, What is meant by atheism?