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God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism [Paperback]

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Item description for God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism by Abraham Joshua Heschel...

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

Publishers Description
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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Item Specifications...

Studio: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages   437
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.58" Width: 5.13" Height: 1.27"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 1976
Publisher   Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN  0374513317  
ISBN13  9780374513313  

Availability  15 units.
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More About Abraham Joshua Heschel

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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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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( H ) > Heschel, Abraham Joshua
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Theology

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Reviews - What do customers think about God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism?

The God In Search of Man - Truly.  Mar 28, 2008
It's a masterpiece for body and soul! One ought to read it to understand more about us before life. Carlito
A good man with great wisdom  Jan 31, 2007
Plato wrote that virtue is knowledge and knowledge is virtue. If Plato's Republic was to succeed, society needed all of its citizens to be like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. This, of course, was not the case in Plato's time - and most definitely not the case today. The wisdom of Heschel, as he so eloquently expresses in this timeless book, is needed now more than ever.

Heschel did not wait for God to give him grace, because he knew that his actions were more important than words. Heschel felt compelled to act upon his commitment as a citizen and as a Jew. The result being that Heschel's spiritual life set an example for his generation and generations to come.

In Heschel's own words: "Religion becomes sinful when it begins to advocate the segregation of God, to forget that the true sanctuary has no walls. Religion has always suffered from the tendency to become an end in itself, to seclude the holy, to become parochial, self-indulgent, self-seeking... ."

Each page and every word in this great work gives us important wisdom. Heschel challenges us to strive for the ideal but insists that we never forget the realities and injustices that surround us. (Jerry Marcus is the author of three novels: "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Zev," "The Salvation Peddler," and "The Last Pope.")
"Wherever we let God in"   Jul 11, 2005
The general assumption of people of the modern era has been that we must look for and search for and wait for God. The image is of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'. God has disappeared and is not part of our lives and we have to wait for God to return. Or if we are real searchers we would not wait, but would make the effort ourselves looking in various aspects of our experience to find the ultimate religious meaning.
But Heschel's premise here is the opposite one. God is actually looking for us. God wants us. I remember speaking with one of the most loving teachers of Hasidism of modern times, the late David Herzberg of blessed memory. When I asked him about the meaning of the religious concept 'Avodat Hashem' service of God' His answer surprised me because it was different from anyone else's. He said it was God's service, God's work what God does to help and connect with us. This is very much like what Heschel is saying here. God is calling out to us ,God is Present as the Kotzker Rebbe says 'wherever we let God in'.
Heschel was a great poetic and religious soul , who feels and teaches God's searching for , and connecting with us.
This is a tremendously inspiring and thought- provoking work.
I will only say one more word. That as a ' poetic thinker' Heschel's meaning is something suggested and sublime, something we cannot be sure we understand.
What we can understand is the underlying tone of holiness throughout this work.
Different strokes for different folks  Jan 8, 2005
I think Heschel revealed a lot of himself in his works--more than other writers, perhaps. He seems to me to be very emotional regarding his opinions and beliefs. He came from an Eastern European Hasidic family whose ancestor was the Great Maggid of Mezerich. He was a leader in the Civil Rights movement as well as the Vietnam anti-war movement. He was on the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary, JTS, (of the Jewish Conservative movement). This is rather humorous, I think, since he was obviously quite the idealistic Liberal. He had a reputation as a mystic, causing him conflict with other JTS professors. He was a very forceful personality. IMHO he was very much a literary expressionist--putting his feelings into writing. He was also quite poetic--his books include many clever and beautiful turns of phrase. However, much of what he writes comes off as if they are sermons, as if he KNOWS. I respect his views, but don't often agree with them. This book doesn't read like philosophy to me (you can read "Between Kant and Kabbalah" by Mittleman on the Jewish philosopher Breuer, for example). As a scientist, I object to anyone dismissing the contributions of science in virtually any arena. Certainly psychology is a player in anything involving humans. As a mystic, I certainly agree that the Divine is ineffable. But people translate their contact with the Divine into human terms--mostly reflecting their individual propensities, biases, views, etc. That secondary process is psychological/scientific. Indeed, such communications have been compared to radio and television with a transmitter and receivers. Furthermore, research into ESP (Dr. Rhine etc.) shows considerable applicability in understanding the processes involved in communicating with higher powers (e.g. God). In addition, Heschel insists that the Bible be understood in terms of Biblical people. Certainly, such an approach can provide an historical or hagiographical context for the causes that produced beliefs and documents (e.g. The Torah). But, it is essentially irrelevant to today's individuals attempting to apply such beliefs and documents into their lives. It is obvious that praying, studying Torah, putting on Tefillin, etc. excites and completes Heschel, but that doesn't mean they do for everyone--and certainly not identically. He makes the common human mistake of assuming everyone is like him (or should be). I humbly disagree. Nevertheless, he did provide a differing point of view to be considered as well as a couple of good quotes for my collection.:
p. 317: When superimposed as a yoke, as a dogma, as a fear, religion tends to violate rather than to nurture the spirit of man. Religion must be an altar upon which the fire of the soul may be kindled by holiness.
p. 361: Every act done in agreement with the will of God is a mitzvah.
Mostly, however, I have to say (though I'm sure it will upset some people) that I found this particular book very boring. I liked "Moral Grandeur & Spiritual Audacity" better.
A classic - but as timely as ever  Apr 15, 2004
When originally published, this book was seen as a breath of fresh air; it doesn't "analyze" religious thougt. Rather, it forces the reader to examine his own feelings towards G-d.

Heschel, often though of as an academic with a Hasidic background, was rather a Hasidic Rebbe with university training. This work, along with his other popular books (as opposed to the scholarly ones) is written in the form of a series of Hasidic discourses at a comfort level to the reader as if he were sitting with the Rebbe at the Third Sabbath Meal and absorbing his wisdom.

The central theme, the centrality of belief in and devotion to G-d, is often overlooked in contemporary Jewish literature; many veiled (and no so veiled) jibes of contemporary religious practice and life are meant to drive home the point that "it's about G-d and man", not about buildings, organizations or other agendas or programs.

Like the Kotzker Rebbe, Heschel's hero and spiritual father, Rabbi Dr. Heschel was able to cut through the gloss, fluff, and veneer to get to the root of man's belief in and relationship with G-d.


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