Jehuda Melber Judaism: A Religion of Reason

ISBN 13: 9780824604509

Judaism: A Religion of Reason

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9780824604509: Judaism: A Religion of Reason
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Hermann Cohen (1842-1918), the author of Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism, is the pivotal figure of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Jewish philosophy and theology. The Jewish thinkers influenced by him include Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Mordecai Kaplan, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Emmanuel Levinas.

A thoroughgoing rationalist, Cohen was an opponent of mythology and mysticism, which he viewed as cheapening and corrupting religion. Cohen summoned Jews back to the truths of reason, the centrality of ethics, the primacy of humanity in theology, and the moral law as the essence of religious life and thought. What is essential to Cohen is the notion that God can be discovered by the processes of reason itself. It is not necessary to "believe" in God. God can be known through the exercise of reason and the pursuit of the ethical life.

In this important study, Rabbi Jehuda Melber presents a comprehensive reformulation, analysis, and interpretation of Cohen s philosophy of Judaism for the contemporary reader.

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About the Author:

JEHUDA MELBER, a native of Germany, was ordained at Poland s world-famous Hachmei Lublin yeshiva. He was awarded an M.A. in General Philosophy by Tufts University and a doctorate in Modern Jewish Philosophy by New York s Yeshiva University.

The late Rabbi Melber was a chaplain in the Haganah during Israel s War of Liberation and subsequently received the Ben Gurion Award for outstanding service. He chaired the Department of Culture of Mizrachi in Israel and later served as vice-president of the Religious Zionists of America in New England. He was rabbi of the Jewish Community in Havana, Cuba; of Young Israel and Congregation Kadimah, in Boston, Massachusetts; and of the Briarwood Jewish Center, in Long Island, New York.

Jehuda Melber is the author of The Universality of Maimonides as well as of an elaborate translation of the talmudic tractate Hagigah. In addition, he contributed numerous articles to English and Hebrew periodicals.

EMANUEL S. GOLDSMITH is professor of Jewish Studies at Queens College of the City University of New York and rabbi of Congregation M vakshe Derekh in Scarsdale, New York. His numerous publications include The American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan, Thinkers and Teachers of Modern Judaism, Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement, Dynamic Judaism: The Essential Writings of Mordecai M. Kaplan, and Yiddish Literature in America: 1870 2000.

Review:

A solid and invaluable contribution to the revival of interest in Cohen’'s thought among English-speaking Jews... Completely reliable in presenting Cohen’'s liberal views. --Emanuel S. Goldsmith

Dr. Melber’'s analytical exposition is an important addition to the understanding of Cohen. . . of great usefulness to students of Jewish philosophy. --Library Journal

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