Jewish Religion After Theology

Jewish Religion After Theology

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Avi Sagi
Translated by Batya Stein

Series: Emunot: Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah
ISBN: 9781934843208 (hardcover) / 9781934843567 (paper)
Pages: 264 pp.
Publication Date: May 2009

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Jewish Religion After Theology ponders one of the most intriguing shifts in modern Jewish thought: from a metaphysical and theological standpoint toward a new manner of philosophizing based primarily on practice. Different chapters study this great shift and its various manifestations. The central figure of this new examination is Isaiah Leibowitz, whose thoughts encapsulate more than any other Jewish thinker this stance of religion without metaphysics. Sagi explores corresponding issues such as observance, the possibility of pluralism, the meaning of penance without messianic suppositions, and pragmatic coping with theodicy after the Holocaust, presenting the different possibilities within this great alteration in Jewish thought.

Avi Sagi (PhD Bar-Ilan University) is professor at Bar-Ilan University and senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem. His books include `Elu va Elu`: A Study on the Meaning of Halakhic Discourse (1996); Circles of Jewish Identity (with Zvi Zohar) (2000); Jewish Religion After Theology (2009); The Multicultural Challenge in Israel (with Ohad Nachtomy) (2009); and Faith: Jewish Perspectives  (with Dov Schwartz) (2013).

In this book Sagi poses some interesting questions, centered on how one explains modern Judaism as a religion whose members, to a great degree, do not believe in God but remain true to the tenets of the religion. Sagi argues that post-Holocaust existentialism largely replaced the traditional religious beliefs of Judaism, yet the religion still survives. Examining the philosophical works of some of those who have influenced this movement, and analyzing what these conditions mean to the future of Judaism, makes for thought-provoking reading.
— Book News Inc., Portland, OR

Table of Contents


Chapter One
Are Toleration and Pluralism Possible in Jewish Religion?
Chapter Two
Yeshayahu Leibovitz: The Man against his Thought
Chapter Three
Leibowitz and Camus: Between Faith and the Absurd
Chapter Four
Jewish Religion without Theology
Chapter Five
The Critique of Theodicy: From Metaphysics to Praxis
Chapter Six
The Holocaust: A Theological or a Religious-Existentialist Problem?
Chapter Seven
Tikkun Olam: Between Utopian Idea and Socio-Historical Process