God in Search of Man: Philosophy of Judaism (Torchbooks)

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9780061308079: God in Search of Man: Philosophy of Judaism (Torchbooks)

Abraham Joshua Heschel was one of the most revered religious leaders of the 20th century, and God in Search of Man and its companion volume, Man Is Not Alone, two of his most important books, are classics of modern Jewish theology. God in Search of Man combines scholarship with lucidity, reverence, and compassion as Dr. Heschel discusses not man's search for God but God's for man--the notion of a Chosen People, an idea which, he writes, "signifies not a quality inherent in the people but a relationship between the people and God." It is an extraordinary description of the nature of Biblical thought, and how that thought becomes faith.

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Review:

God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism is among Abraham Joshua Heschel's most comprehensive studies of the Jewish religion. It is a work of impeccable scholarship conveyed with absolute clarity, in a spirit of utmost reverence and compassion. "Religion is an answer to man's ultimate questions," Heschel declares on the book's first page. Religion that forgets its roots in humanity's lived experience, religion that inadequately addresses the earthly realities of life, Heschel says, is false religion. And yet, Heschel asserts that religion is not a vehicle by which humanity draws closer to God; it is always God who reaches out to humanity through religion. "Judaism is God's quest for man. The Bible is a record of God's approach to His people. More statements are found in the Bible about God's love for Israel than about Israel's love for God."

God in Search of Man is almost as exhausting as it is exhaustive. Detailed analyses of "Awe," "Wonder," and "Glory" stand alongside discourses on religion and time, the nature of prophesy, and the problem of evil. Heschel's encyclopedic knowledge of and omnivorous interest in the nature of Judaism is, for most readers, more productively taken in small doses than swallowed whole. The book's table of contents, however, will get a considerable workout over the years, as readers return again and again to find Heschel's opinions about various aspects of spiritual life. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-72) was internationally known as a scholar, author, activist, and theologian. he was Professor of Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

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