Holiness in Words: Abraham Joshua Heschel's Poetics of Pietyby Edward K. Kaplan, Michael Fishbane (Foreword by)
Holiness in Words: Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Poetics of Piety is both an introduction to reading Heschel’s works in English, and an in-depth study of the way his literary style can transform the consciousness of readers. Heschel’s life and works respond to the contemporary crisis in religion, formulating positions on faith and despair, racism and social justice, the Holocaust, interreligious dialogue, and the availability of God’s presence. We study Heschel’s theory and use of literary language, his “poetics of piety,” in order to elucidate his narrative strategy to teach God-centered (or prophetic) thinking.
“Once againand in a new waythe theological and moral nuances of Heschel’s spiritual passion can be heard. Kaplan has set our ear to sounds long-forgotten or never known. His work is no deposit of academic travail, but exemplifies scholarship as service in the highest sense.
“A lifetime of listening has gone into the making of this book. Over many years, Edward Kaplan has contributed careful and perceptive studies on Heschel’s poetic rhetoric, on his understanding of prophecy and prophetic consciousness, and on the moral life and its relationship to mysticism and transcendence. They are now put to the service of a full-scale exposition of Heschel’s thought and spiritual orientation.” From the Foreword by Michael Fishbane
“This work is an unusually poignant and unique study of understanding modern religious thought using literary criticism. Unrelated to this observation, but of equal significance, is the author’s important presentation of Heschel’s response to the Holocaust. Also important is his linkage between Heschel’s theologyparticularly his views of prophecy, and his biographyespecially his involvement in social action. While other writers on Heschel have touched on these issues, no other author has done it with such depth or with such clarity. The focus upon the aesthetic features of Heschel’s work makes this work unique and significant. The delineation of Heschel’s ‘sacred humanism’ is very well done and could serve as a model for dealing with similar thinkers, e.g., Thomas Merton.” Byron L. Sherwin, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
- State University of New York Press
- Publication date:
- SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion Series
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)
Meet the Author
Edward K. Kaplan is Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Research Associate at the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis University. In addition to books on the French writers Jules Michelet and Charles Baudelaire, he has published extensively on Abraham Joshua Heschel, Thomas Merton, and Howard Thurman.
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