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David Hartman, the world's leading modern Orthodox theologian, presents his own painful spiritual evolution from defender of the rule-based system of Jewish law to revolutionary proponent of a theology of empowerment, one that encourages individuals and communities to take greater levels of responsibility for their religious lives.
Addresses the spiritual and theological questions that face all Jews and all people today, arguing that commitment to Jewish tradition and a commitment to pluralism need not conflict in this age of modernity, but each can enrich the other while maintining their integrity. Reprint.
In this personal look at the struggle between commitment to Jewish religious tradition and personal morality, the author probes the deepest questions at the heart of what it means to be a human being and a Jew.
"'A covenantal vision of life, with mitzvah (divine commandment) as the central organizing principle in the relationship between Jews and God, liberates the intellect and the moral will. I seek to show that a tradition mediated by the Sinai covenant can encourage the development of a human being who is not afraid to assume responsibility for the ongoing drama of Jewish history. Passive resignation is seen not to be an essential trait of one whose relationship to God is mediated by the hearing of mitzvot." --from the Introduction This interpretation of Jewish teaching will appeal to all people seeking to understand the relationship between the idea of divine demand and the human response, between religious tradition and modernity. Hartman shows that a life lived in Jewish tradition need not be passive, insulated, or self-effacing, but can be lived in the modern pluralistic world with passion, tolerance, and spontaneity. The Judaic tradition is often seen as being more concerned with uncritical obedience to law than with individual freedom and responsibility. In A Living Covenant, Hartman challenges this approach by revealing a Judaism grounded in a covenant--a relational framework--informed by the metaphor of marital love rather than that of parent-child dependency. This view of life places the individual firmly within community. Hartman shows that the Judaic tradition need not be understood in terms of human passivity and resignation, but rather as a vehicle by which human individuality and freedom can be expressed within a relational matrix.
Insightful and accessible. Renowned Bible scholar Dr. Yochanan Muffs examines the anthropomorphic evolution of the Divine Image from creator of the cosmos to God the father, husband, king, "chess-player" and how these diverse images of God have shaped us."
Examines the philosophy of one of the 20th century's leading Jewish Talmudists, who stressed halakhah (Jewish law) as a means of gaining mastery over one's own nature, and of drawing closer to God.
Feingold chronicles a turbulent period when Jews are poised to enter the mainstream of American life and explores issues that will preoccupy America's Jewish community for the rest of the century. 28 illustrations.
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