The major topic of Professor Weiss’s present work is the experience of and concern with God in privacy and in community. His purpose is to reveal the primary nuances and distinctions essential to an adequate grasp of the nature of religion, and he seeks to isolate the pure, undistorted relation men have to God. The God we seek is thus, in Mr. Weiss’s viewpoint, no distillate, no abstract desiccated element but something at least as rich and as concrete as the specialized forms of experience and concerns exhibited in particular religionsbut without their bias.
Presupposing only those rudimentary experiences which are shared by everyone, Mr. Weiss focuses on that pure, rich, concrete relation which connects men and God, a relation which is diversely ritualized and specialized by the various religions.” Mr. Weiss makes evident that there are many ways in which men make contact with God, apart from special revelations, messages, or miracles.” God, he shows, is enjoyed in dedicated communities, is reached through the fissures of experience, and is present in sacred objects and in service.
Written in Professor Weiss’s usual incisive, clear style and addressed to the general reader as well as to the theologian, minister, and philosopher, the work as a whole is challenging and highly quotable in its observations. The virtues and limitations of the different religions, the nature of faith, prayer and worship, mysticism and religious language are some of the topics dealt with in a fresh and illuminating spirit. Mr. Weiss’s discussion of religious history is particularly noteworthy for sharply marking out an area that is neglected in most modern religious and historical studies.
An independent work, The God We Seek serves also as the capstone of Paul Weiss’s entire philosophic system: a philosophic system dealing with the whole of being and knowledge, both in a highly abstract form (The Modes of Being), and in concrete, specialized guises (The World of Art, Nine Basic Arts, History: Written and Lived). His intellectual diary, Philosophy in Process, is now appearing in a series of twelve fascicles, published at intervals of three months.