New Perspectives in Theology of Judaism

New Perspectives in Theology of Judaism


Shubert Spero

ISBN: 9781618112675 (hardcover)
Pages: 400 pp.
Publication Date: August 2013

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If it can be said that theology is the philosophical examination of a religion by an insider, then the present collection of essays by Shubert Spero offers us the proper formula for a truly authentic work. The author sets out to rigorously yet sensitively investigate some of the basic concepts and principles of classical Judaism. The topics addressed range from the familiar—“Is God Knowable?” and “Justifying Religious Belief”—to the unusual—”Judaism and the Aesthetic,” “Does Judaism Have a Theory of Self?” and “Does Messianism Imply Inevitability?” Current issues are not neglected, and are addressed in sections such as “Religious Zionism: What is it?” and “The Ethical Theory of Judaism.” While critical and analytic throughout, the author’s style is clear and uncluttered and uses arguments to convince rather than to impress. Neither apologetic nor unnecessarily provocative, Shubert Spero provides a fresh approach to the neglected yet vital domain of Jewish theology.

Shubert Spero (PhD Case Western Reserve University) is an ordained Orthodox rabbi who recently retired as Irving Stone Professor of Jewish Studies at Bar Ilan University, having occupied that chair since moving to Israel in 1983 from the United States. He has served as the spiritual leader of Young Israel of Cleveland, Ohio (1950-1983), and has been a major voice of modern Orthodox Judaism. He taught philosophy at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Case Western Reserve University, during much of that period. He is the author of God in All Seasons (1967), Morality, Halacha and the Jewish Tradition (1983), Holocaust and the Return to Zion: A Study in Jewish Philosophy of History (2000), Aspects of Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik’s Philosophy of Judaism (2009), and numerous essays in philosophical journals.

Table of Contents

Note From the Publisher
The Chair, the Incumbent, and the Donors


Viewing Judaism as a Whole

Chapter 1
Is There an Indigenous Jewish Theology?
Chapter 2
Toward a Philosophy of Modern Orthodoxy
Chapter 3
Is Judaism an Optimistic Religion?
Chapter 4
The Meaning of Existentialism for Orthodoxy

Torah in Depth

Chapter 5
The Biblical Stories of Creation, the Garden of Eden,
and the Flood: History or Metaphor?
Chapter 6
Paradise Lost or Outgrown?
Chapter 7
Multiplicity of Meaning as a Device in Biblical Narrative
Chapter 8
Torat Hashem/Torat Moshe:
Exploring their Respective Roles

Reaching for the Heights

Chapter 9
Is God Truly Unknowable?
Chapter 10
Love of God
Chapter 11
Selfhood and Godhood in Jewish Thought
and Modern Philosophy
Chapter 12
Unity of God as Dynamic of Redemption

The Analytic in Action

Chapter 13
Toward an Ethical Theory of Judaism
Chapter 14
What is Self-theory, and Does Judaism Need One?
Chapter 15
Judaism and the Aesthetic
Chapter 16
Providential History and the Anthropic Principle
Chapter 17
The Role of Reason in Jewish Religious Belief

History Come to Life

Chapter 18
The Religious Meaning of the State of Israel
Chapter 19
Religious Zionism: What is It?
Chapter 20
Does Messianism Imply Inevitability?