Abraham Joshua Heschel's Theology of Judaism and the Rewriting of Jewish Intellectual History

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy

Abstract

Abraham Joshua Heschel's oeuvre deals with the continuum of Jewish religious consciousness from the biblical and rabbinic periods through the kabbalistic and Hasidic ones with regard to God's concern for humanity. The goal of this study is to show how such a “Nachmanidean” reading has partially displaced the discontinuous “Maimonidean” reading promoted by Yehezkel Kaufman, Ephraim Urbach, and Gershom Scholem. The result is that Heschel's understanding of the development of Jewish theologizing is more influential now than it was during his lifetime. This study traces the growth of that development and explores how Heschel became the scholar-theologian who most succeeded in bridging the gap between scholarship and constructive theology.

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