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Asher D. Biemann

Abstract

Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption culminates in an aesthetic configuration of simultaneous presences: world, man, God, creation, revelation, and redemption are viewed in a metahistorical side-by-side, connected by the “factualizing power of the And.” But the idea of simultaneity, which is central to Rosenzweig’s configurative thinking, belongs to the historical imagination as much as it belongs to the theological “breaking through the shackles of time.” Rosenzweig’s “and” belongs to both a tradition of cosmic-aesthetic historicism (Meinecke) and the philosophical reconstitution of time as a simultaneous perception. In the co-presence of all historical moments, history’s hidden Gestalt, which only a people that is at once old and young can envision, connects the “and” of history with what Hegel considered history’s end—its ultimate self-recognition. Eternity, then, means neither flight from, nor resistance to, history’s naked fact, but the recognition of history’s Gestalt as an image that “does not tolerate epochs.”

S. Daniel Breslauer

Abstract

Recent studies have renewed focus on Martin Buber’s “theopolitics” in contrast to “theological politics.” The present study expands this work by looking at what Buber meant by God. His approach to the Bible, informed by his view that “extended, the lines of relationship meet in the Eternal Thou,” illuminates his analysis of the five types of biblical leadership. That analysis, far from separating “religion” and “politics,” seemed to assume what might be designated a civil religion. The social order was integrated with religious concerns. Underneath the socio-religious surface, however, Buber discerned universal principles of relationship. Analyzing each stage in biblical leadership as Buber presented it shows how he extended the lines of historical relationships to reveal an aspect of the Eternal Thou.

Nadav Berman Shifman

Abstract

In classical American pragmatism, fallibilism refers to the conception of truth as an ongoing process of improving human knowledge that is nevertheless susceptible to error. This paper traces appearances of fallibilism in Jewish thought in general, and particularly in the halakhic thought of Eliezer Berkovits. Berkovits recognizes the human condition’s persistent mutability, which he sees as characterizing the ongoing effort to interpret and apply halakhah in shifting historical and social contexts as Torat Ḥayyim. In the conclusion of the article, broader questions and observations are raised regarding Jewish tradition, fallibility, and modernity, and the interaction between Judaism and pragmatism in the history of ideas.

Dustin Noah Atlas

Abstract

This paper proposes that Moses Mendelssohn’s Morning Hours be viewed as the final chapter in a philosophy of imperfection that Mendelssohn had been developing over the course of his life. It is further argued that this philosophy of imperfection is still of philosophical interest. After demonstrating that the concept of imperfection animates Mendelssohn’s early work, this paper turns towards the specific arguments about imperfection Mendelssohn made in the midst of the pantheism controversy—in particular, the claim that human imperfection attests to an independent existence. Simply put: God knows human imperfection, but does not possess it. Therefore, there is a sense in which humans, because of our imperfections, are distinct from God. It is shown that, at least in part, Mendelssohn’s entry into the pantheism controversy, and his willingness to engage even his recently departed friend Lessing in argument, is part of his strategy to preserve his philosophy of imperfection.

Glaube und Rationalität

Gibt es gute Gründe für den (A)theismus?

Edited by Romy Jaster and Peter Schulte

Menschen glauben aus den unterschiedlichsten Gründen an Gott. Aber ist dieser Glaube rational gerechtfertigt? In diesem Band streiten führende Religionsphilosoph/-innen um die Frage, ob die besten Gründe für oder gegen den Theismus sprechen.

Einige Beiträge unterziehen klassische Argumente für bzw. gegen die Existenz Gottes einer neuen Betrachtung. Andere gehen der Frage nach, welche Bedingungen eigentlich erfüllt sein müssen, damit die Überzeugung, Gott existiere, als vernünftig angesehen werden kann. Gelten hier dieselben Standards wie bei Überzeugungen über die Existenz von Quasaren? Oder haben religiöse Überzeugungen einen besonderen epistemologischen Status? Und ist es rational zulässig, religiöse Erfahrungen oder tradierte Offenbarungen als Gründe für religiöse Überzeugungen anzuführen?
Mit Beiträgen von Ansgar Beckermann, Katherine Dormandy, Franz von Kutschera, Winfried Löffler, Herman Philipse, Peter Schulte, Holm Tetens und Christian Weidemann.

A History of Modern Jewish Religious Philosophy

Volume III: The Crisis of Humanism. A Historial Crossroads

Series:

Eliezer Schweid

The culmination of Eliezer Schweid’s life-work as a Jewish intellectual historian, this five-volume work provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary account of the major thinkers and movements in modern Jewish thought, in the context of general philosophy and Jewish social-political historical developments, with extensive primary source excerpts.
Volume Three, “The Crisis of Humanism,” commences with an important essay on the challenge to the humanist tradition posed in the late 19th century by historical materialism, existentialism and positivism. This is background for the constructive philosophies which sought at the same time to address the general crisis of moral value and provide a positive basis for Jewish existence. Among the thinkers presented in this volume are Moses Hess, Moritz Lazarus, Hermann Cohen (in impressive depth, with a thorough exposition of the Ethics and Religion of Reason), Ahad Ha-Am, I. J. Reines, Simon Dubnow, M. Y. Berdiczewski, the theorists of the Bund, Chaim Zhitlovsky, Nachman Syrkin, and Ber Borochov.

Series:

Edited by Willem van Vlastuin and Kelly M. Kapic

This volume offers fresh reflections on John Owen, a leading Reformed theologian who sat on the brink of a new age. His seventeenth- century theology and spirituality reflect the growing tensions, and pre-modern and modern tendencies. Exploring Owen in this context helps readers better understand the seventeenth-century dynamics of individualization and rationalization, the views of God and self, community and the world. The authors of this volume investigate Owen’s approach to various key themes, including his Trinitarian piety, catholicity, doctrine of scripture, and public prayer. Owen’s international reception and current historiographical challenges are also highlighted.

Contributors are: Joel R. Beeke, Henk van den Belt, Gert A. van den Brink, Hans Burger, Daniel R. Hyde, Kelly M. Kapic, Reinier W. de Koeijer, Ryan M. McGraw, David P. Murray, Carl R. Trueman, Willem van Vlastuin.

Series:

Willem van Vlastuin and Kelly M. Kapic