Summary God in Search of Man A Philosophy of Judaism 108

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Summary God in Search of Man A Philosophy of Judaism 108 Ó 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 lucCh he writes signifies not a uality 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. This book took me a while to read not because it is obtuse but because it is so rich I had to take a while to digest each part and chew the cud I am not a Jew but a Gentile believer in Hashem Christian so my perspective in reading is not one of self definition but of relation As we Gentile believers have been 'grafted into God's olive tree Israel'Rom 1124 we should be able to celebrate our root and profess our commonalitiesAll too often we Christians have instead stumbled over our pride and alienated the very people who first brought light to the Gentiles Reading Jewish sources is a small step I am taking in the hope of total future reconciliationThat said everyone who can stomach the rich descriptions of philosophical thinking would benefit from reading this book The jaded skeptic may sense the sublime and grow softer; the religious believer may be reminded of God's wonder; everyone must acknowledge the beauty of the One who asks man Where are youI can't do this work justice with my own words Instead here are some of Heschel's words which struck meWhen reduced to terms and definitions to codes and catechisms religion is indeed little than a desiccated remnant of a once living realityThe life of religion is given not in the mental preservation of ideas as is philosophy but in events and insights in something that happens in timeAll worship and ritual are essentially attempts to remove our callousness to the mystery of our own existence and pursuitsThere seem to be two courses of human thinking one begins with man and his needs and ends in assuming that the universe is a meaningless display or a waste of energy; the other begins in amazement in awe and humility and ends in the assumption that the universe is full of a glory that surpasses man and his mind but is of eternal meaning to Him who made being possibleTo the speculative mind the world is an enigma; to the religious mind the world is a challenge The speculative problem is impersonal; the religious problem is addressed to the person The first is concerned with finding an answer to the uestion what is the cause of being The second with giving an answer to the uestion what is asked of us Needless to say I will read this work again

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Rn 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 whi. I see now why Heschel is a very well respected and popular author in the area of Judaism and religious philosophy I had to focus carefully while reading because his words seem to softly blow by you like a soft spring breeze and you could easily miss important yet subtle points if you are not paying close attention Perhaps because I am not really a religious person or scholar I feel like I was often on the cusp of understanding something uite fundamental and profound but couldn't uite grasp all of it The following passage from the author's actual text perhaps gives a bit of an explanationStanding face to face with the world we often sense a spirit which surpasses our ability to comprehend The world is too much for us It is crammed with marvel The glory is not an exception but an aura that lies about all being a spiritual setting of realityWe fail to wonder we fail to respond to the presenceIt helps that the chapters in this book are fairly short If I had had time and discipline especially the latter it would have been good to read a chapter make notes and mull over and meditate upon what I'd read But no The world insists I have a schedule for work for play and the reading must continue in accordance with the artificially self imposed timetable I was drawn to this book partially because I found out a few years ago that the Jewish ancestry in my family was much closer than I'd originally been told My great grandmother great uncle and his family died in the Holocaust Although I've always identified rather weakly as a Christian I have been exploring of Judaism and reading this book was uite helpful It taught me the importance of the events around Exodus and God's covenant with the Jewish people centered on Moses acceptance of the tablets at Sinai and his writing of the Torah And this Maimonides from the middle ages he sounds like a pretty interesting guy with his Guide for the Perplexed Judaism is indeed a bit different from Christianity but you can definitely see the similarities and how the new religion followed from the original In fact this book helps you understand the commonality between all the great religions and these dark days there is a spark of great hope I feel in that

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God in Search of Man A Philosophy of JudaismAbraham 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 mode. It took me a couple days to write a review of this book because I have had a hard time sorting out what I think about it It's beautiful intricate winding cohesive dense so many things Heschel provides a rich Jewish mystical theology that explores God God's revelation to man and man's response to God Every page contains something stirring and profound A proper reading should take a while there is a lot to absorb and this book deserves full attentionI have only two caveats to my effusive praise First I'm not thrilled with calling this is a Philosophy of Judaism It is very much a theology not a philosophy which is no denigration of the work itself Heschel has written a wonderful theology Calling it a philosophy simply doesn't do justice to what Heschel accomplishes hereSecondly I was pretty underwhelmed by the middle section on Revelation even while highlighting many inspiring passages Several claims were left unfounded and the section seemed particularly subjectivemysticalwhathaveyou This is not to say that I don't find value in a mystical theology only that I appreciate it being acknowledged as such with appropriate recognition of the unknowableness of mystical experiencesBut there are too many other riches to make those criticisms mar my experience with the book As a Christian reading a Jewish theology I savored Heschel's explanation of the Judaic focus on deeds and action rather than salvation though all within the unified tapestry of faith finding it uniuely constructive moving and challenging I could go on about the many moments that sparked my spiritual interest but I'll let you experience those moments anew for yourself This is a book worth reading if you enjoy theology and Jewish or Christian mysticism