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Encountering the Jewish Future

with Wiesel, Buber, Heschel, Arendt, Levinas

By Marc H. Ellis

Publication Year: 2011

Marc Ellis maintains that the most vital questions about Judaism are prefigured in the work of Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas. Ellis's work is framed by encounters with each thinker's work, focusing on topics of God, the Holocaust, the prophetic legacy, philosophical and ethical standpoints, and Jewish empowerment and dissent.

Two generations after the Holocaust and Israel's founding, Ellis argues that the uncertain future of Judaism requires a deeply personal and intellectual exploration of Jewish tradition and identity, in conversation with the best philosophical and theological minds of recent years.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-6


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pp. vii-9

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pp. 1-12

In 1963 the great Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas published a collection of his essays on Jewish life. In his fascinating and provocative essays, Levinas sought to counter the drift in Jewish life toward an uncritical assimilation to the culture and violence of the modern world. After the Holocaust and the birth of the state of Israel, Levinas felt that a new chapter of Jewish history was ...

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I: Encountering the Holocaust

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pp. 13-52

Elie (Eliezar) Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Romania. Along with his family, he was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 where he lost his mother and sister. Wiesel and his father were forced to march to Buchenwald, where his father died months before the camp was liberated. After the war, Wiesel lived in France and Israel before settling permanently in the United States. It was at this time that he wrote his autobiographical Night, which ...

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2: Encountering the Bible

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pp. 53-94

Martin Buber was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1878. Buber spent much of his childhood with a grandfather who was a scholar of the Jewish tradition and literature. As a young man, Buber studied in Vienna, Leipzig, Berlin, and Zurich and soon entered the Zionist Movement, as much for religious and cultural as for political reasons. In 1923 he published his now classic book, I and Thou. He lectured in Jewish religion and phi-...

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3: Encountering God After

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pp. 95-142

Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in 1907 in Warsaw as a descendent of important Hasidic dynasties. After receiving a Jewish education in Poland, he entered the University of Berlin and in 1934 received his doctorate for a study of the biblical prophets. In 1937 Heschel became Martin Buber’s successor at the Judisches Lehrhaus in Frankfurt. The following year, while directing adult Jewish education in Germany, he and ...

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4: Encountering Jewish Politics

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pp. 143-194

Hannah Arendt was born in 1906 in Hanover, Germany, the only child of secular Jews. In 1922 she began her studies in Classics and Christian theology at the University of Berlin and in 1924 entered Marburg University, where she studied philosophy with Martin Heidegger. She then moved to Heidelberg, where she studied with Karl Jaspers. She wrote her dissertation on St. Augusine’s concept of love.With the rise of the ...

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5: Encountering the Jewish Prophetic

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pp. 195-242

Emmanuel Levinas was born in 1906 in Kaunas, Lithuania, into a traditional Jewish family. At Strasbourg University in France, he majored in philosophy, and in 1928 he moved to the University of Freiburg to study with the great philosopher Edmund Husserl. He wrote his doctoral thesis on The Theory of Intuition in Husserl’s Phenomenology. Levinas became a naturalized French citizen in 1930 and professor of ...

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pp. 243-266

Though my encounter with our great Jewish thinkers began many years ago, this book took shape as I was reconnecting in Korea with my student Father Mun and subsequently was developed for a lecture I was invited to give at the Rothko Chapel in Houston. In the advertisement for my Rothko Chapel lecture, I noticed that, without discussing the matter with me, a response by “Three Rabbis from Houston” had been scheduled. This surprised...


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pp. 267-274


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pp. 275-278

E-ISBN-13: 9781451413427
E-ISBN-10: 1451413424
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800697938
Print-ISBN-10: 0800697936

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 828116273
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Encountering the Jewish Future

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • Jews -- Identity
  • Holocaust (Jewish theology).
  • Jews -- Civilization.
  • Jewish philosophy.
  • Judaism -- Doctrines.
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