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God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism Paperback – June 1, 1976


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God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism + Man Is Not Alone : A Philosophy of Religion + The Sabbath
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (June 1, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374513317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374513313
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism is among Abraham Joshua Heschel's most comprehensive studies of the Jewish religion. It is a work of impeccable scholarship conveyed with absolute clarity, in a spirit of utmost reverence and compassion. "Religion is an answer to man's ultimate questions," Heschel declares on the book's first page. Religion that forgets its roots in humanity's lived experience, religion that inadequately addresses the earthly realities of life, Heschel says, is false religion. And yet, Heschel asserts that religion is not a vehicle by which humanity draws closer to God; it is always God who reaches out to humanity through religion. "Judaism is God's quest for man. The Bible is a record of God's approach to His people. More statements are found in the Bible about God's love for Israel than about Israel's love for God."

God in Search of Man is almost as exhausting as it is exhaustive. Detailed analyses of "Awe," "Wonder," and "Glory" stand alongside discourses on religion and time, the nature of prophesy, and the problem of evil. Heschel's encyclopedic knowledge of and omnivorous interest in the nature of Judaism is, for most readers, more productively taken in small doses than swallowed whole. The book's table of contents, however, will get a considerable workout over the years, as readers return again and again to find Heschel's opinions about various aspects of spiritual life. --Michael Joseph Gross

Review

"One of the most compelling books about being human that has been written in this century." --The Boston Globe

"Prose that sings and soars in the warm, intuitive tradition of the great 18th-century Hasidic leaders from whom [Heschel] is descended . . . God in Search of Man is subtitled 'A Philosophy of Judaism,' but it speaks to all those for whom the Bible is a holy book." --Time

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

This is undoubtedly one of the best books I have ever read.
Blueberry
Heschel was a great poetic and religious soul , who feels and teaches God's searching for , and connecting with us.
Shalom Freedman
Heschel is simply wonderful if you wish to read and be amazed at the depth of Jewish thought and mysticism.
Charlie Perkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By M. Stein on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Reverence and awe are what come to mind when I discuss Heschel, and this work in particular. He was an incredible scholar, steeped in multiple cultures (Eastern European Hasidism, Early twentieth-century Berlin, post WWII America) and he embodied so much. He was a poet as well, which is why this book, while an explication of Jewish philosophy (which can be complex at times), is also beautifully written. If you want to understand the worldview of the Hebrew Bible, God in Search of Man is a must read. If you want to understand Judaism (and to a certain extent Christianity and Islam) this book will help you. The book is so powerful because Heschel wrote it in such a way as to evoke the very emotions (and lessons) that he felt the Bible was trying to teach.
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Steven Marks on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Heschel is simply amazing. It was not until his 40's that he learned English. His precision of writting in English (this is not a translation!) is amoung the best in the world.
This book is both a philosophic/logical progression as well as poetic gem.
This book changed my life. My father was Jewish, my mother not. When I got to a quote from Exodus (Sh'mot) "This is my God and I will glorify Him; The God of my father and I will exalt Him." I made up my mind to convert from nothing to Judaism.
The idea of repair of the world, Tikkun Olam,is well and alive: "It is in the employment of his (a Man's) will, not in reflection, that he meets his own self as it is; not as he should like it to be. Heschel marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and inspired many Jews to fight for the rights all all citizens in the USA.
This book is thoughtful, makes one reflect and is filled with poetry from end to end. Examples. "The heart is a often lonely voice in the marketplace of the living." "Halacha (laws) without agada (heart / self transformation) is dead, agada without halacha is wild."
As a practicing Scientist I agree with, "God is not a scientifc problem, and scientific methods are not capable of solving it."
Great book, super inspriring.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1997
Format: Paperback
"God in Search of Man" combines scholarship with lucidity, and reverence and compassion as Heschel elucidates the nature of religious thought, how thought becomes faith, and how faith creates responses in the believer. Section one discusses ways to God's Presence, and the legacy of wonder that religion gives; the sense of divine mystery; the illusion of nature worship; man's metaphysical loneliness; God in search of man and the concept of "the chosen people". Section two of this book is concerned with the idea of Revelation, a study of what prophetic inspiration is, and the mysery and paradoxes of revelation. He discusses revelation as a process as opposed to an event, Israel's committment to God, and the principle of revelation. Section three discusses a Jew's real life response to the Jewish Religion, and looks at Judaism as a science of deeds; There is a study and rejection of the idea that mere faith (without law) alone is enough, yet there is also a cautioning against of those rabbis that add too many hedges to the law, who mistakenly act as if all Jewish law was revealed at Mount Sinai. It discusses the need to correlate ritual observance with sprituality and love, the importance of kavanah (religious intention) when performing mitzvot , and a discussion of religious behaviorism - in which people strive for external compliance with the law, yet disregard the importance of inner devotion. A classic work of theology that has been accepted by Conservative, Orthodox and Reform Judaism.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1997
Format: Paperback
My room abounds in books that all promise their little secrets and yet there is just one always near me. One book that is exalted in my eyes despite the unassuming cover that adorns it. I am referring to God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism by Abraham Joshua Heschel. I recommend anything by this man whom Martin Luther King Jr. called a prophet but this has to be the deserted island pick. There is simply no book that has calmed me through a sleepless night so reassuringly, that has peeled more scales off my eyes and heart, and has had more to speak to the questions I'd just as soon forget than this work of religious art.
Don't let the title ward you off, by the way. This book is accessible to those who know nothing of philosophy, to Jews and non-Jews alike, to everyone who still feels awe at the great mystery of existence. I recommend it with great pride
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
The general assumption of people of the modern era has been that we must look for and search for and wait for God. The image is of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'. God has disappeared and is not part of our lives and we have to wait for God to return. Or if we are real searchers we would not wait, but would make the effort ourselves looking in various aspects of our experience to find the ultimate religious meaning.

But Heschel's premise here is the opposite one. God is actually looking for us. God wants us. I remember speaking with one of the most loving teachers of Hasidism of modern times, the late David Herzberg of blessed memory. When I asked him about the meaning of the religious concept 'Avodat Hashem' service of God' His answer surprised me because it was different from anyone else's. He said it was God's service, God's work what God does to help and connect with us. This is very much like what Heschel is saying here. God is calling out to us ,God is Present as the Kotzker Rebbe says 'wherever we let God in'.

Heschel was a great poetic and religious soul , who feels and teaches God's searching for , and connecting with us.

This is a tremendously inspiring and thought- provoking work.

I will only say one more word. That as a ' poetic thinker' Heschel's meaning is something suggested and sublime, something we cannot be sure we understand.

What we can understand is the underlying tone of holiness throughout this work.
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