Faith: Jewish Perspectives

Faith: Jewish Perspectives

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Edited by Avi Sagi & Dov Schwartz

Series: Emunot: Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah
ISBN: 9781618112828 (hardcover) / 9781618113047 (paper)
Pages: 750 pp. 
Publication Date: September 2013

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Faith: Jewish Perspectives explores important questions in both modern and premodern Jewish philosophy regarding the idea of faith. Is believing a voluntary action, or do believers find themselves within the experience of faith against their will? Can faith be understood through other means (psychological, epistemic, and so forth), or is it only comprehensible from the inside, that is, from within the religious world? Is a subjective experience of faith fundamentally communicative, meaning that it includes intelligible and transmittable universal elements, or is it a private experience that we can point to or talk about through indirect means (poetic, lyrical, and so forth), but never fully decipher? This book presents various manifestations of the concept of faith in Judaism as a tradition engaged in a dialogue with the outside world. It will function as an opening and an invitation to an ongoing conversation with faith.

Avi Sagi is a Professor at Bar-Ilan University and Senior Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. His recent books include Circles of Jewish Identity (with Zvi Zohar, 2000) and Jewish Religion After Theology (2009).

Dov Schwartz, a former Dean of Humanities at Bar Ilan University and head of the departments of Philosophy and of Music, currently heads its interdisciplinary unit, and holds the Natalie and Isidore Friedman Chair for Teaching Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Thought.

Table of Contents

Avi Sagi and Dov Schwartz

1. Conceptual Analysis
Avi Sagi
Faith as Temptation
Eliezer Goldman
On Non-Illusory Faith
David Shatz
On Undermining the Beliefs of Others:
Religion and The Ethics of Persuasion
Tamar Ross
Religious Belief in a Postmodern Age
Gili Zivan
Faith in the Face of Bereavement and Loss:
Coping with the Question of Evil in the World

2. Kabbalah and Hasidism
Lawrence Kaplan
Faith, Rebellion, and Heresy
in the Writings of Rabbi Azriel of Gerona
Ron Margolin
On the Essence of Faith in Hasidism:
An Historical-Theoretical Perspective
Dov Schwartz
“Beyond Reason”, on Faith in the Philosophy of Chabad
Zvi Mark
Faith and Song in the Poetry of Zelda: on the Mystical
Elements in Zelda’s Ars Poetica and their Hasidic Origins

3. Persons and Ideas
Dorit Lemberger
“My desire for the living God hath constrained me”:
Belief as Unfulfilled Desire in the Writings of Rabbi
Judah Halevi
Isaac Hershkowitz
The Strengthening of Faith in Orthodox Discourse:
A Reevaluation of Models of Faith
Shraga Bar On
Hillel Zeitlin in Search of God:
An Analysis of Zeitlin’s Meditation ‘The Thirst’
Tzahi Weiss
A Metamorphosis in the Perception
of God in Bialik’s Poetry
Dov Schwartz
Dialogue and Faith: The Lonely Man of Faith
Ronny Miron
Unity and Fragmentation of the Self in Leibowitz’s Idea
of Faith and their Repercussions: A Critical Perspective