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Between Kant and Kabbalah

An Introduction to Isaac Breuer's Philosophy of Judaism

Alan L. Mittleman

Publication Year: 1990

This is the first full-length, systematic study in English of Isaac Breuer, a founder of Agudat Israel, whose intellectual achievements reflected the world of Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber in an Orthodox mirror. It sheds light on an often neglected aspect of German Jewry’s last phase and reclaims Breuer as a paradigmatic figure in the Jewish encounter with modernity.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v

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pp. vii-x

In this study, I have endeavored to present Isaac Breuer's philosophy of Judaism. The eminent Israeli critic Baruch Kurzweil, in an important essay on Breuer, offered a kind of warning to those who would study him. Just slightly less forbidding than "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," it reads, "Only one who is enlightened ...

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1. From Frankfurt to Jerusalem

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pp. 1-24

Emancipation and acculturation was what Gershom Scholem calls "Jewish totality."2 Isaac Breuer, in similar language, often called it "the Torah's claim to totality" (Totalitätsanspruch del Thora). The change in civil status the Jews experienced in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought about the dismantling of the ...

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2. A Critique of Human Experience

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pp. 25-72

One could begin the study of Breuer's philosophy with an investigation Both were fundamental disciplines for him, each revealing much about the underlying tragedy of human existence. Epistemology provides a critique of existence in its individuated dimension, ...

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3. Creation and Revelation

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pp. 73-123

... nomic way. Breuer's "Torah-less" man, like Paul's "first Adam," drives himself deeper into despair and failure by means of the very practices that he imagines will secure transcendence for him. Indeed, insofar as man's medium is society, state, and history-as we will see-he drives himself beyond despair into evil. For his ...

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4. Law, Nation, History, and Redemption

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pp. 124-174

In our discussion of revelation, we concentrated on the relationship between creation and revelation, and then on the essence of revelation as such: the divinity of the Torah. The emphasis was on the cosmological character of revelation and the metaphysical form of its bearer, the Congregation of Israel (knesset Israel). Now ...

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5. Toward a Critical Appreciation of Isaac Breuer

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pp. 175-188

... argues for the primacy of Jewish Being, expressed as participation in and loyalty to normative Jewish community, over culturally conditioned projects of theoretical, theological reason. As such, he offers a postmodern, in the sense of postsynthetic, standpoint for the philosophical and ideological critique of Jewish and general ...


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pp. 189-216


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pp. 217-222


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pp. 223-227

E-ISBN-13: 9781438413341
E-ISBN-10: 1438413343
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791402399
Print-ISBN-10: 0791402398

Page Count: 227
Publication Year: 1990

Series Title: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion