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Introduction 1. For the now standard two-­volume biography of Heschel, cf. Kaplan and Dresner, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Kaplan, Spiritual Radical. The first volume studies Heschel’s life in Europe through 1940, and the sec­ond his years in America, from 1940 until his death in 1972. These works are the fruit of a great deal of impressive archival research and fill in many previously obscure details about­Heschel’s life. The first volume is marred by a certain hagiographical tinge; the sec­ond, written by Kaplan alone, is much stronger. In general, the volumes are rich in biographical detail but less useful in terms of analy­sis of thought. 2. Some of the most important studies of Heschel include Rothschild, “Introduction ”; Merkle, The Genesis of Faith; Eisen, “Re-­Reading Heschel on the Commandments ”; Green, “Three Warsaw Mystics”; Even-­Chen, Kol min ha-­#arafel; Levenson, “Religious Affirmation”; Bondi, Ayekah?; Erlewine, “Reclaiming the Prophets”; and Erlewine, “Rediscovering Heschel.” An extremely useful survey of the scholarly literature on Heschel may be found in Marmur, “In Search of Heschel.” 3. Rothschild’s most significant essay by far is “Introduction”; Merkle’s, The Genesis of Faith.In general terms, I agree with Rothschild that Heschel articulates the contours of a coherent worldview, but I am less convinced that Heschel’s work can be organized into quite as orderly and systematic a package as Rothschild thinks. As will become clear in the chapters that follow, Heschel’s use of language is frequently inexact and inconsistent. Merkle’s is a remarkable study, and a model of the riches that can be yielded from a systematic mind applying a hermeneutics of generosity to a thinker such as Heschel. Aside from the lack of criti­cal engagement with Heschel’s writings, my one additional reservation about Merkle’s work is the seemingly unselfconsciously Christian lens it applies to Heschel. The very title suggests a Christian preoccupation , since Heschel himself remarks that “awe rather than faith is the cardinal attitude of the religious Jew” (GSM, 77). In a similar vein, Arnold Eisen notes that Merkle’s is “an intelligent Christian reading of Heschel, the emphasis squarely upon faith rather than ‘works.’” Eisen, “Re-­Reading Heschel,” 28n4. 4. Even-Chen, Kol min ha-"arafel. Kaufman, Contemporary Jewish Philosophies , 171. 5. Berkovits, “Dr. A. J. Heschel’s Theology of Pathos,” 67–104. 6. I return to this in chapter 2. 7. Petuchowski, “Faith as the Leap of Action,” 397. N o t e s 235 236 notes to pages 4–9 8. GSM, 404. 9. This is expressed most clearly and succinctly in MNA, 137–138. 10. MNA, 136–137. 11. MNA, 137, 138. 12. MNA, 138. Emphasis mine. In the course of this work, all emphases in citations from Heschel are his unless otherwise noted. 13. MNA, 138. 14. PT, 98. 15. PT, 189. 16. MNA, 143. Cf.: “God does not have Himself in mind.” KGE, 169. It is worth noting that Heschel’s characterization of the God of the Bible as utterly devoid of reflexive concern is questionable, to say the least. Consider, for example, Moses’ appeal to God’s reputation as a reason to grant pardon to Israel after the sin of the golden calf (Exodus 32:12). In dramatic contrast to Heschel, biblical theologian Walter Brueggemann speaks of YHWH flying into a rage as a result of His “passionate, perhaps out-­of-­control self-­regard” (309). Indeed, Brueggemann contends, YHWH “takes with savage seriousness [His] right to be worshiped, honored, and obeyed” (272); He manifests “a recurring streak of self-­regard that may express itself in vigorous and negative ways” (274). At times downright “self-­ indulgent” (276), YHWH’s self-­regard is totally “uncompromising” (298). References are to Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament. For a useful study of Heschel ’s interpretation of the divine pathos in comparison with the approaches of Brueggemann and Terence Fretheim, see Schlimm, “Different Perspectives on Divine Pathos,” 673–694. In a similar vein, Baruch Schwartz has recently argued that according to the prophet Ezekiel, what motivates God to restore Israel is His fear of “bad publicity” and His desire “to end the dishonor that his reputation has suffered ” (306, 307). God is, Schwartz writes, “obsessed with the need to rehabilitate his honor” (307); indeed, He has manifold “emotional needs and frustrations” (309). Schwartz, “The Ultimate Aim of Israel’s Restoration in Ezekiel,” 305–319. 17. GSM, 412. 18. Prophets, II, 262. 19. Prophets, II, 5. 20. MNA, 244. 21. Cf...


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