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Every Person's Guide to Jewish Philosophy and Philosophers Hardcover – June 30, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0765760173 ISBN-10: 0765760177

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc. (June 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765760177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765760173
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,649,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This new volume in Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs's "Every Person's Guide to..." series is precisely what the title claims it to be. It describes not philosophy in its narrow meaning but the general principles of Jewish religion as well as some philosophical issues expressed in the religious writings or derived from the theological doctrines. Notable for its inclusiveness, this work starts from biblical philosophical or para-philosophical ideas and continues in chronological order to explicate the main views of Jewish theologian-philosophers through the ages, right up to Emil Fackenheim. At the end, the basic premises of different branches of Judaism are described, with the notable absence of secular Judaism, political philosophy, and the different factions of Zionism. Several philosophers have been excluded, e.g., Emanuel Levinas and Yehuda Alkalai, though some of the omitted philosophers are included in the "Glossary of Philosophic Terms." The book lacks scholarly apparatus, but it can serve as a guide for beginners studying Jewish philosophy and for undergraduates both as an introductory and reference work.?Hayim Y. Sheynin, Gratz Coll. Lib., Melrose Park, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

This new volume in Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs's "Every Person's Guide to..." series is precisely what the title claims it to be. It describes not philosophy in its narrow meaning but the general principles of Jewish religion as well as some philosophical issues expressed in the religious writings or derived from the theological doctrines. Notable for its inclusiveness, this work starts from biblical philosophical or para-philosophical ideas and continues in chronological order to explicate the main views of Jewish theologian-philosophers through the ages, right up to Emil Fackenheim. (Library Journal (But Listed On Amazon Reviews))

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Format: Hardcover
This book introduces the reader to Jewish philosophers going back to Philo Judeaus (20 BC - 50 AD) all the way through to the modern era. Many of the names are familiar to philosophy fans: Spinoza, Maimonedes, Buber, for example. Others are probably not well known by the general public, such as Bachya Ibn Pakuda or perhaps Leo Baeck. Author Rabbi Ronald H. Isaacs provides a snapshot summary of each subject's background and thinking, although a few receive somewhat more extensive coverage. The reader can glimpse the development of Jewish thought over time and get some understanding how place and time deeply affect human thinking in general. For example, the idea of God's face being hidden from man arose after the Holocaust as a way of explaining that horrific tragedy. For a non-Jew, it is interesting to see the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs, in many ways not dissimilar from the schisms and divisions that exist in Christendom. One thing that stood out was how many Jewish thinkers influenced and were influenced by their living in Spain. It's as if that country was a vibrant breeding ground for not only Jewish thinkers but Muslim and Christian thinkers too. I also noted the emphasis that many branches of Jewish thought place on the duty the individual to live a good moral life and to support those in need, not just a social project but as a means to reflect God's presence in the world. There is some repetition within each summary, and this is compounded by more repetition as each chapter, already a summary, has its own summary. Nevertheless, the book is a useful introduction the variety of thinking in Jewish and religious philosophy as well as the various strands of Jewish denominations.
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