The intellectual legacy of one of the
twentieth century’s greatest religious
thinkers—explained by a leading theologian of our day.
“It is only through experiencing the
contradictions in human existence, through being overwhelmed by
the divine presence, through the finite human being feeling
terror-stricken by the infinite majesty of God that one can
develop an authentic religious personality.”
Hartman (From Chapter 6)
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
(1903–1993) profoundly influenced modern Orthodox Judaism
in the United States—and Judaism as a whole—by
opening up a discourse between the tradition of Torah study and
Western philosophical thought. The future of both religious
Zionism in Israel and of Orthodoxy in America hangs to a great
extent on how we interpret his intellectual legacy. Dr. David
Hartman’s penetrating analysis of Rabbi
Soloveitchik’s work reveals a Judaism committed to
intellectual courage, integrity, and openness.
A renowned theologian and philosopher,
Hartman meticulously explores the subtlety and complexity of
Rabbi Soloveitchik’s theological thought, exposing a
surprising intersection of halakhic tradition and modern
Western theology—a confrontation that deepens and expands
our spiritual understanding. Hartman’s provocative
interpretation bears witness to the legitimacy of remaining
loyal to the Judaic tradition without sacrificing one’s
intellectual freedom and honesty.
“A unique combination of love and
criticism, depth and respect. This book is an invitation to
experience Hartman’s ongoing philosophical dialogue with
his great teacher, and is an important contribution to
understanding the thought of both these major
Avi Sagi, director,
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in
Cultural Studies, Bar Ilan University
“Hartman’s extraordinary work will prove invaluable to both scholars and laypersons seeking a clear and definitive understanding of modern Judaism.”
—American Library Association’s Booklist
“Compellingly demonstrates how R.
Soloveitchik joined intellectual brilliance in Jewish learning
with a deep empathy for modern existentialist philosophy.
Undoubtedly, this work will become the standard for future
scholarship on the majestic thought of R.
Yehuda (Jerome) Gellman, Department
Ben-Gurion University of Negev