From Defender to Critic: The Search for a New Jewish Self by David Hartman | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
From Defender to Critic: The Search for a New Jewish Self

From Defender to Critic: The Search for a New Jewish Self

by David Hartman
     
 

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A Vital, Living Judaism Can Be Found When the Voice of the Past Engages Modern Experience

"[This] synthesis of tradition and modernity is not a philosophy meant to serve as the platform for a new movement or institution, but a process of living experience among individuals and communities that choose to adopt its angle of vision.

Overview

A Vital, Living Judaism Can Be Found When the Voice of the Past Engages Modern Experience

"[This] synthesis of tradition and modernity is not a philosophy meant to serve as the platform for a new movement or institution, but a process of living experience among individuals and communities that choose to adopt its angle of vision. It is a process that demands constant introspection and renewal and cannot be branded or co-opted by any formal or official frame of reference. It stands separate from all expressions of institutionalized Judaism, as it never knows what new forces it will absorb as it moves into the future."
—from the Introduction

Dr. 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. In this daring self-examination, he explains how his goals were not to strip halakha—or the past—of its authority but to create a space for questioning and critique that allows for the traditionally religious Jew to act out a moral life in tune with modern experience.

In achieving this synthesis of tradition with the sensibilities of contemporary Judaism, Hartman captures precisely what creates vitality in living Judaism and charts the path to nurture its vitality forever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With this intelligent and heartfelt volume, Hartman, a former yeshiva student and pulpit rabbi, continues his critique of Orthodox Judaism’s reliance upon halakha even at moments when it creates disappointment or despair. The octogenarian asserts that while halakha certainly has its place in Jewish life, modernity demands that updates be implemented and that room be made for personal religious autonomy. He grapples with normative explanations of Jewish laws and biblical narratives, including the story of Abraham and his near-sacrifice of Isaac. There, he finds that instead of the biblical story demonstrating Abraham’s loyalty and love toward God, it highlights an incomprehensible adherence to commandments. Evaluating the theological philosophies of Jewish thinkers from Maimonides to Spinoza to Soloveitchik, Hartman argues that halakha as it stands alienates an already disgruntled Jewish community and fosters a religious experience lacking in joy or initiative. As with his other books, Hartman’s assertions are unconventional and controversial, and bring important issues to the table. (May)
From the Publisher
"What matters to Hartman is the truth, not the source—even if it's the Torah. Courageous.... Every serious Jew should read this inspiring and enlightening book."
Jewish Media Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580236232
Publisher:
Longhill Partners
Publication date:
03/15/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
3 MB

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Meet the Author

A world-renowned philosopher and social activist, Dr. David Hartman (z"l) was the founder and president emeritus of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Named after his late father, the Institute is dedicated to developing a new understanding of classical Judaism that provides moral and spiritual direction for Judaism's confrontation with modernity.

Formerly professor emeritus at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University's theological seminary in New York City. He is the author of many award-winning books, including From Defender to Critic: The Search for a New Jewish Self; The God Who Hates Lies: Confronting and Rethinking Jewish Tradition; A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year"; and Love and Terror in the God Encounter: The Theological Legacy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (all Jewish Lights). His classic works A Living Covenant: The Innovative Spirit in Traditional Judaism (Jewish Lights) and Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest both were winners of the National Jewish Book Award.

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