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Existentialism, Religion, and Death: Thirteen Essays Paperback – September 1, 1976

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library; 1st edition (October 1, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452006481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452006485
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,128,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on May 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
Rereading Walter Kaufmann is like meeting an old friend who you are not sure you will be happy to see but once you do gives you immediately the understanding of why you enjoyed and valued his friendship so much. Kaufmann is great in these essays, truly insightful and deeply meaningful. He opens with an essay on Kierkegaard and writes on Neitzsche, on Martin Buber, on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, on Jaspers and Heidegger. Some of the best essays concern his relationship to Jewish history. Kaufmann converted to Judaism at the age of eleven only to discover that all four of his grandparents were Jewish. Later in life he would move away from any kind of formal religious connection but remain loyal to Jewish history. One of the interesting sections of the book involves his discussion of the Jews as a people who more than any other in antiquity valued 'social justice'. He writes of the Jewish love of scholarship,and their strong connection with Literature and Music. He has a strong sense of the Jewish people as a creative one who has contributed greatly to Mankind. Impatient with the idea of Identity Crisis , impatient with the goal of Survival alone, he puts forth the idea that the Jewish people must by its creative contributions continue to give much to Mankind.
Kaufmann rejects the ideas of salvation in the world- to- come of all religions. He writes about facing Death without dread. He speaks of the foolishness of wanting to live on and on just to live on and on. In his pivotal essay 'The Faith of a Heretic' he explains why no formula religious answer can work for him. Yet he highly values religious experience as central to the human search for Meaning.
Kaufmann writes with highest praise for Buber and Neitzche.
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Format: Paperback
Walter Arnold Kaufmann (1921-1980) was a German-American philosopher, translator, and poet, who taught for over 30 years at Princeton University. He wrote many other books, such as Critique of Religion and Philosophy, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, The Faith of a Heretic, Without Guilt and Justice: From Decidophobia to Autonomy, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1976 collection, "These essays raise some important questions. This volume should advance the discussion. Some of these essays were originally written for books, and most of the rest have long been reprinted in books by others... Here they are assembled, and the new context adds to their meaning---perhaps also to their force. My first collection of essays, From Shakespeare to Existentialism (1959), consisted of twenty historical studies... the time has come for another, smaller collection. It is smaller because since that first collection appeared, I have written few essays and articles while concentrating my energies on books...
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...and nothing more to say. Arrived on time, as it was described. Everything just fine. Humbug to use so many words.
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