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Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Paperback – May 15, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

There is no one to this day who writes like Heschel did. His work combines Philosophy and Poetry, Mysticism and Depth Theology, enormous erudition about the literature of the past and enormous passion about the task for the present, concern for the welfare of the Jewish people and concern for the welfare of the world. --Rabbi Jack Riemer - Jewish Journal News

About the Author

Susannah Heschel, the daughter of Abraham Heschel, is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. Her many books include The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany. She is the editor of Moral Granduer, Spiritual Audacity: Essays of Abraham Joshua Heschel.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Spiritual Masters
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (May 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570759197
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570759192
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-72), one of the foremost Jewish savants of our time, was internationally known as scholar, author, activist, and theologian.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a Quaker (Chrisitian) I have longed for an accessible book of writings about the Jewish faith that I can use to deepen my own understanding and draw inspiration from. I learned about this book from Rabbi Michael Lerner of the progressive Jewish magazine, Tikkun. I have huge admiration for those Jews who can use their faith to mount a balanced and dignified prophetic critique of the plight of the Palestinians. Lerner does that, but he counts Heschel as his mentor, and being now half way thorugh this book, relishing it like a fine malt whisky, I can see why Heschel is so highly acclaimed.

What this book does for me is that it brings up to date the prophetic tradition of such likes as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos. It shows that the message of those crusty old bearded characters in their sandals are still acutely relevant to us today. Heschel places God at the heart of his activism (which included standing side by side with Martin Luther King). I find this powerful, because there is a lot of talk these days about "Godless spirituality", and I don't find that satisfying because it misses out on the very flesh and blood human nature of the love that we are talking about, and to which the activist may be pushed to rest back into, and experience.

Another thing I am finding in Heschel is his depth of reflection on Jewish community. I was raised on the Scottish Isle of Lewis, and the same as Heschel says for the Jews could be said for our Presbyterian people. For example, p. 110, "Being a Jew makes anonymity impossible. A Jew represents, stands for, proclaims - even in spite of himself. The world never sees the Jew as an individual but rather as a representative of a whole tradition, of a whole people. A Jew is never alone.
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I am not a consummate expert on Heschel, by any means, but I found these "Essential Writings" to be highly engaging and informative about Heschel's unique perspective on Judaism. This compilation made by his daughter provides just enough background information to give the beginning reader a sense of who Heschel was, why he believed the Jewish faith (and faith in general) is so important. For Heschel, the spirit of prophetic Justice, of making the world better, had to be guided by an inner life of reverential awe and of prayer. Experts of Heschel may find parts of his writings missing here, for in a career of so many writings, how can one volume summarize it all? Suffice it to say this book is a good way to whet the appetite of those curious for more of Heschel's thought.
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By Ken on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
I found this book, as well as others by Heschel, in the Thomas Merton section of the Abbey of Gethsemani bookshop. I will be forever grateful to Merton for introducing me to Heschel. This book by his daughter opened my eyes to a whole new world of philosophy and social awareness. One quote that I personally thought summed up so many aspects of life is, "Racial prejudice gives you the most amount of hate for the least amount of reason." I have ruminated on that one quote for many many hours. I feel this is a must read for anyone exploring, themselves, religion, or life in general.
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Susannah Heschel is the single best writer and interpreter of her father's vision for modern Judaism. Her language is eloquent and her organization of the master's thought produce a very accessible work that will be as significant for progressive Christians as for Jews.
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