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Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition (The Franz Rosenzweig Lecture Series)

19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300152326
ISBN-10: 0300152329
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Editorial Reviews


"Green emerges as a decidedly non-traditionalist theologian through this illuminating and evocative discussion about such topics as classic metaphors for God, evolutionary theory, and Kabbalistic theories of creation. Radical Judaism is highly accessible, and the issues addressed are very much those of our contemporaries."—Neil Gillman, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
(Neil Gillman)

“A credible spirituality for our tumultuous times. Green draws richly from the Jewish mystical tradition, but also writes from the heart of his own experience. This lucidly written and wise book will reach far beyond the Jewish community.”—Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith

(Harvey Cox)

“Filled with interesting observations . . . deliberately provocative [and] accessibly written.”--Rabbi David Wolpe, Jewish Journal

(Rabbi David Wolpe Jewish Journal)

“A brilliant, complex work . . . deeply satisfying . . . a welcome pushing of the boundaries by a master thinker.”—Jewish Book World

(Jewish Book World)

“Rabbi Arthur Green . . . makes his clearest and boldest case yet . . . a valuable contribution . . . Green has now produced some of the best Jewish theology of our time.”—Jay Michaelson, The Forward


(Jay Michaelson The Forward)

“An indispensable, reader-friendly introduction to the new immanence in contemporary theology read out of the sources of Judaism.”—Zachary Braiterman, Religious Studies Review
(Zachary Braiterman Religious Studies Review)

"[A] rich and thoughtful work . . . Radical Judaism ought to be read by anyone who wants to get a sense of one major position on the contemporary American Jewish theological landscape, as well as by those interested in the theoretical relationships between science and mysticism."—Samuel H. Brody, Journal of Religion
(Samuel H. Brody Journal of Religion)

About the Author

Rabbi Arthur Green is professor and rector of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Franz Rosenzweig Lecture Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300152329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300152326
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By AJL Reviews on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Arthur Green's Radical Judaism is just what it says, Judaism returned to its roots. Typical of Green's writing is the fact that he is steeped in the classical sources of Jewish and especially kabbalistic tradition, but he is also informed by the insights of scientists and secular thinkers. For anyone who has followed his career and read his books, little between these covers will come as a surprise. Green is a Jew who wants very much to be traditional but who cannot find himself within the parameters of a traditional Jewish theology. He fully accepts evolution and a kabbalistic concept of God that sees the Almighty more as Process than as personal being, and yet he talks about God in ways that may make us think that he has an ongoing personal dialogue with the Divinity.
What draws me most to Green is his ability to be both radically traditional and radically creative as he approaches the modern world. He characterizes himself as a seeker and directs himself to seekers of all persuasions. That having been said, one can in no way doubt his own personal commitment to being a part of the Jewish people. This book is profound and challenging, and yet written in a language that anyone with a basic undergraduate education should be able to understand. I highly recommend it to all libraries frequented by religious seekers. Kudos to author and publisher for producing a book that is in every sense worthy of its topic and audience.
Daniel J. Rettberg
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51 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Walter Ziffer on June 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arthur Green, Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2010.

Jewish theology has gone through many a metamorphosis over roughly two thousand years since the closing of the biblical canon. It is precisely thanks to this flexibility of the Jewish theological tradition that Judaism has been able to survive many extremely critical periods in its lifespan. In responding to the many dangers Jews have had to face during the three millenia of their existence perhaps none has been as threatening as the one brought about by relatively recent scientific advances such as Darwin's theory of evolution, the insights of modern astro-physics and the Shoah, (the catastrophe also known as the Holocaust). These three have placed a huge question mark over the traditionally accepted existence of the biblical theistic God. While in the end it is true that the existence or non-existence of God cannot be proved, it can be said that, by and large, science and the non-responsiveness/absence of a God-from-beyond have put an end to the plausibility of the existence of the biblical God.
In view of most Jewish theologians' apparent fear that the survival of Judaism without the biblical God is an impossibility, they have, and this has been done a number of times before, set out once again to reinterpret the Bible God in order to enable his continued existence..
Arthur Green's book, in my opinion, is yet another such desperate attempt at rescuing the biblical God from oblivion. Although to me, as a Jewish theologian and Bible scholar, it is perfectly clear that Judaism is well able to survive and to continue making a valuable contribution to world society without the biblical God, it seems that this is not the case for Green.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rabbi Green strikes a good balance in this book between a scholarly and personal exploration of non-dual Judaism. He takes on topics that others would fear to go: God and Being, Evolution and the History of God, the nature of the Torah, and the meaning of Israel, both in the ancient and modern sense.

This is a great deal of ground to cover in 166 pages. But Green is deeply committed to his view of Judaism, and the path it should take in the future. I view this work, and some of his other writings, as a prologue and challenge to create a `new' and more vibrant Judaism. He wants to shift the focus of Judaism away from theism and dualism and toward panentheism and monism. He can't do this alone. He invites readers to do their own work and investigations along this unique path.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Oram on October 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Radical Judaism creatively combines many of the trends in modern
Judaism--with Art Green's unique way of rendering issues and debates
as urgent calls to action--to bring us closer to solving many of the
problems that bother religious and other thoughtful people: how to
reclaim religious passion from its misdirection into divisiveness and
atrophy, how to make our colleagues wake up and take action on the
disasters facing humanity and the rest of the world today, how to
respect our heritage while fully accepting modern knowledge.

If enjoyed the book a lot and know that it represents a summary of
Green's life work so far, but I don't know his other books enough to
say how many steps forward this one takes. Readers should also be
aware that Green is in an exploratory stage of this fusion of ideas.
The book is not a doctrine and perhaps not even a signpost pointing us
in a clear direction; it is an invitation to join him in creating new
forms for the practice of religion and social action based on these

Green's Judaism is radical, yes, but true to its meaning as understood
by most Jews today. For instance, although he explicitly brings its
core message close to the "we are all One with the universe" message
of well-known Eastern religions, he also insists on celebrating the
diversity of life and the unique perspectives each person brings.
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