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God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism download epub

by Susannah Heschel,Abraham Joshua Heschel


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In his book The Prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel describes the unique aspect of the .

In his book The Prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel describes the unique aspect of the Jewish prophets as compared to other similar figures. Whereas other nations have soothsayers and diviners who attempt to discover the will of their gods, according to Heschel the Hebrew prophets are characterized by their experience of what he calls theotropism-God turning towards humanity Selected bibliography. The Earth Is the Lord's: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe.

Rather than simply praise Abraham Heschel's great insights, I thought I would give the reader a sampling of his ideas

Rather than simply praise Abraham Heschel's great insights, I thought I would give the reader a sampling of his ideas. Part of what follows are direct quotes, part is my summarizing and paraphrasing.

Abraham Joshua Heschel.

In it, she reports that early readers of the book couldn’t imagine my father was the author – they thought my mother had ghostwritten it! (page xii). The style of the book is evocative. Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Abraham Joshua Heschel was one of the most revered religious leaders of the 20th century .

And with The Boston Globe: "One of the most compelling books about being human that has been written in this century.

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-72) was internationally known as a scholar, author, activist, and theologian.

Abraham Joshua Heschel l (11 January 1907 – 23 December 1972) was a Polish-born American rabbi, considered by many to be one of the most significant Jewish theologians of the 20th century. There is a war to wage against the vulgar, the glorification of the absurd, a war that is incessant, universal

by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

by Abraham Joshua Heschel. I recommend anything by this man whom Martin Luther King Jr. called a prophet but this has to be the deserted island pick.

There are two types of philosophy. Philosophy may be pursued as a process of thinking thought, of analyzing the content of thinking, such as principles, assumptions, doctrines. Or it may be pursued as thinking about thinking, as radical self-understanding,² as a process of analyzing the act of thinking, as a process of introspection, of watching the intellectual self in action.

His major contribution to biblical theology is The Prophets (New York, 1962). His work on Talmudic doctrines of revelation in the schools of Yishmaʿeʾl and ʿAqivaʾ is Torah min ha-shamayim be-aspaqlaryah shel ha-dorot, 2 vols. New York, 1962–1965). Man's Quest for God (New York, 1954) contains essays and addresses on prayer and symbolism.

Probes the nature of God, revelation, and response in an investigation of the teachings, attitudes, and spiritual needs which led to the deveolopment of Judaism

Comments: (7)

Prince Persie
Rather than simply praise Abraham Heschel's great insights, I thought I would give the reader a sampling of his ideas. Part of what follows are direct quotes, part is my summarizing and paraphrasing. I apologize for the length of this review, but he has many deep thoughts worth contemplating.
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When faith is replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain - its message becomes meaningless.... Religion is little more than a desiccated remnant when reduced to definitions, codes, and catechisms

Hypocrisy rather than heresy is the cause of spiritual decay.

Theology starts with dogmas. Philosophy sees the problem first; theology has the answer in advance. Philosophy is a kind of thinking that has a beginning but no end; the problems outlive all solutions.

The philosopher seeks "the good", the prophet seeks "the holy".

The way to truth is an act of reason; the love of truth is an act of spirit. Reason withers without spirit....We need spirit in order to know what to do with science....Science seeks the truth about the universe; the spirit seeks a truth that is greater than the universe.

God is waiting for man to seek Him. The grand premise of religion is that man is able to surpass himself.

There are 3 ways to relate to the world. The Greeks learned in order to comprehend. The Hebrews learned in order to revere. Modern man learns in order to use - as if the sole purpose of the universe were to satisfy his needs. Knowledge is power; its purpose to help us exploit the world and others more efficiently. Such thinking abhors mystery and replaces God with man as its object of adoration. We are not only masters of the earth; our needs determine right and wrong.

We teach children how to measure and weigh, but fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. Modern man fell into the trap of believing all enigmas can be solved and wonder is a form of ignorance. Mankind will not perish for want of information, but for want of appreciation.

What is, is more than what you see; we are unable to attain insight into the ultimate meaning and purpose of things. We live on the fringe of reality and hardly know how to reach the core. Inaccessible to us are the insights into the nature of ultimate reality. Even what is revealed is incomplete and in disguise.

The extreme hidden-ness of God is a fact of constant awareness. The foundations of the world are not of this world. It is not our task to break the barriers, to penetrate the mysteries.

Awe is an act of insight into a meaning greater than ourselves. Knowledge is fostered by curiosity; wisdom is fostered by awe. Awe is the awareness of transcendent meaning; loss of awe is a great blockage to insight.

Religion is the result of what man does with his ultimate wonder, with the moments of awe, with the sense of mystery. Worship is man's act of relating himself to an ultimate meaning which can never be adequately expressed. Maimonides writes: "When our tongues desire to declare His greatness, all eloquence becomes impotence and imbecility."

We are alone in the wilderness of the self, strangers in this silent universe in search of the voice of God.

God is not the only problem which is inaccessible to science; the origin of reality remains illusive. The unknown God is but another name for the cosmic darkness.

"The ineffable" is a synonym for hidden meaning rather than for absence of meaning, a dimension so real and sublime that it stuns our ability to adore it. All creative thinking comes out of an encounter with the unknown. It is a fact of profound significance that we can sense more than we can say.

The greatness of man does not lie in his ability to serve his ego and satisfy his needs, but to sacrifice his wants for the sake of the holy. Only saints are ultimately concerned with God. What concerns most of us is our ego.

Only he who sanctifies himself a little is endowed with greater sanctity from above. All men are blind until God opens their eyes.

Our quest for God is a return to God; we remember what we have forgotten.

The Holy One makes Himself known to every one according to the heart's insight and capacity to receive divine wisdom.

How do we know that He takes notice of our adoration? What gives us certainty that our insight is not a projection of our own soul? Faith is not easy. No decision of the will or desire to believe can secure it. Self-contentment, pride, callousness to the mystery stand in our way.

Transcendence is the test of religious truth; genuine insight opens the heart and enables man to rise above himself.

God is of no importance unless He is of supreme importance.

From the fact that technology could solve some problems it was deduced that technology could solve all problems. Social reforms would cure all ills and banish all evils from the world. This proved a fallacy. Man has a drive for cruel deeds and suffocating selfishness which only awe and fear of God can soothe. Dogmas of man's self-sufficiency are doomed to failure.

The grace of guidance may be bestowed upon those who pray for it in spite of their unworthiness. An unexpected spark of enlightenment may engender a flame.

The cardinal sin in thinking about ultimate issues is literal mindedness. The meaning of revelation is given to those who are mystery-minded, not to those who are literal-minded. Nothing immersed in this world can see beyond it.

Not all reality is material; not all acts are perceptible. That which is incomprehensible must not be considered unreal.

The world as scrutinized and depicted by science is but a thin surface of the profoundly unknown.

The God of the philosopher is a concept derived from abstract ideas. The God of the prophet is derived from acts and events.

Socrates taught us that life without thinking is not worth living. The Bible taught us that life without commitment is not worth living.

Not all that was conveyed to Moses was revealed to Israel. There is a yearning for that yet to be disclosed. Thus Judaism is based on a minimum of revelation and a maximum of interpretation.

Right living is a way to right thinking. The heart is revealed in the deeds.

Infinite are the consequences of our actions, yet finite is our wisdom.

As surely as we are driven to live, we are driven to serve spiritual ends that surpass our own interests.

God needs the work of man to fulfill His ends in the world.

The goal of all performing is transforming the soul. A pious man is he who is greater than his rituals.

The Torah contains both law and love. Law holds the world together; love brings it forward.

Polarity is an essential trait of all things. Tension, contrast, contradiction, and paradox characterize all reality. The Zohar states: there is polarity in everything except God. For He is beyond all tension and every dichotomy.

Living is not a private affair. Living is what man does with God's time, with God's world. The soul grows by noble deeds.

To him who strives with heart and soul to give himself to God, the gates break open and he is able to achieve what is beyond his power.

There is nothing in this world which is not a mixture of good and evil. The Biblical answer to evil is not "the good" but "the holy". It is an attempt to raise man to a higher level of existence, where man is not alone when confronted with evil.

The world is in need of redemption. Man's task is to make the world worthy of ultimate redemption by his faith and works.

The experience of bliss in doing the good is the greatest moment that mortals know.

What is ghastly about evil is its ability to camouflage. Is piety ever detached from self-serving expediency? Austere soul-searching is essential. Job showed himself capable of selfless piety.

Can a civilization glittering with fortunes actually be a stench of greedy self-interest rising to the sky? Can our religion just be another attempt to satisfy subconscious needs and wishes?

The self is spiritually immature. It grows by concern for the well-being of others. This is the profound paradox and redeeming feature of human existence. There is no joy for the self within the self. Joy is found in giving rather than acquiring, in serving rather than taking. The mystery of the self is the power of self-transcendence.

The Greeks said that men condemn injustice because they fear being its victim, not because they shrink from committing it. But it's also true that only he who understands justice for himself is capable of rendering it unto others.

To purify the self we must begin with awareness of our inner enslavement to the ego. To be contrite at our failures is holier than being complacent in perfection. Avoid dwelling upon the self and concentrate upon the task. The road to pure intention is paved with good deeds.

It is the grace of God that helps those who do everything which lies within their power to achieve what lies beyond their power.

Nothing exists for its own sake, nothing is valid by its own right. What seems a purpose is but a station on the road.

If a man is not more than human, he is less than human.
Rias
This was my first experience with Heschel and Jewish philosophy...kind of like diving into the deep end before learning to swim...but I thoroughly enjoyed his insights and greatly appreciated his facility to condense profound ideas into understandable, pithy sound bites. As a Christ follower, I think I came away with a deeper respect for the Jewish way of looking at God's word, life and history. Perhaps more importantly, I have a more informed empathy for their complex spiritual journey.

Completing God in Search of Man will take endurance. It is not only lengthy but thought-provoking. Don't rush through it but savor it's wisdom and allow it to enrich your personal perspective.
Asher
I love Heschel. My first foray into his works was "The Sabbath" which I immediately fell in love with. His bigger works were a little bit more daunting, but I read Man is Not Alone (which was awesome) and this one, which is known to be some kind of companion volume to Man is Not Alone. I loved them both.

Heschel has a kind of writing that is very apparently typical of continental philosophers of his time. My friend, an analytic philosopher, didn't take too well to it, but his style resounded in my soul. the language is reflective, thoughtful, and pensive. It's as though you are sitting at the feet of a mystic and he is expounding his knowledge to you: not systematically, not analytically, not dogmatically, but kindly, lovingly, and experientially.

I liked Man is Not Alone a little better, since it can relate to a broader audience, but there is something about Judaism that as a Christian, I am fascinated by. Knowing more about the roots of Christianity, what the people in the time of Jesus (and Jesus himself) might have believed is a big draw for me. As a Christian, I was blessed by this book and would recommend it to others. It however is not light reading, fairly thick, and definitely requires commitment. It pays off, though!
Qane
This is such a beautiful book I'm not going to waste a lot of time with an overly long review. This is the sort of book you highlight in many places. I read through it in one day as I was so entranced by the sensitive clarity of the language. This isn't a theology - it's a message.
Best West
This is a book for all Christians, as today's churches leave so much out when preaching on the Creator. One gets a better understanding of what our relationship with the Creator should be. A very insightful book.
Steelrunner
Abraham Heschel's writing reminds us of the mistake Christians made when they totally separated from Jewish tradition; the Talmud, Mishnah, etc. I am a Christian believer in my core, and I experience this writing on God, Revelation, and Human Response inspiring spiritual reading. It not only shows me what I have lost in my separation from the Jewish tradition, but it connects me with its deep spiritual base. I highly recommend this to all descendants of Abraham. Donald Conroy
Honeirsil
Rabbi Heschel was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and an activist as well as an outstanding teacher and Judaic philosopher. This book is excellent and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about Judaism, learn more about Judaism, or is interested in philosophy in general.
A book worth reading several times. Reading it is a means of drawing close to God. That is my experience. It is also a book that teaches one how to become alert to the divine presence.
God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism download epub
Humanities
Author: Susannah Heschel,Abraham Joshua Heschel
ISBN: 0876689551
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Language: English
Publisher: Jason Aronson Inc (July 1, 1987)
Pages: 437 pages