Page 101 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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N a d i ch — T h e W r i t i n g s o f M o r d e c a i M . K a p l a n
95
structionist Answers
(1956), Dr. Kaplan publishes his answers to
275 questions about various aspects of Reconstructionism. In
addition to a number that had appeared in the pages of
The
Reconstructionist
magazine, the answers are also to questions
addressed personally to him in letters and asked of him at forums
throughout the country.
In
Judaism Without Supernaturalism
(1958), the author pre­
sents what he calls “the only alternative to Orthodoxy and secu­
larism.” He feels that Judaism stands to gain by the elimination
of supernaturalism. Ritual practices are not to be dispensed with,
but should be given a rational motivation. Myth, as the term is
now understood, and poetry are essential elements in any great
tradition, but should be frankly recognized as such. The book
deals with the title’s theme from the standpoint of the challenge
to the Jewish religion and of the future of the Jewish people.
In his latest major work,
T h e Greater Judaism in the Making,
subtitled
A Study of the Modern Evolution of Judaism
(1960),
Dr. Kaplan plays a reprise of some of the themes in
Judaism as a
Civilization.
However, he reckons with the changes in world
events and in Jewish life occurring in the intervening quarter
century. Some of the earlier ideas are modified or elaborated
upon. First, the theology and structure of medieval Jewry are
analyzed. The shattering impact upon them of the scientific and
cultural revolutions, technological development, modern natural­
ism and democratic nationalism is shown. An evaluation follows
of the strength and weaknesses of its several responses: Reform,
Orthodoxy, Conservatism and Zionism. The author thus pre­
pares the reader for his new approach which calls for a re­
orientation to the Jewish tradition, a restructuring of the Jewish
people and a rethinking of the belief in God. Stress is laid on
the principle of unity in diversity and of continuity in change
as integral to the next stage in Judaism.
In tribute to Dr. Kaplan on his seventieth birthday, The
Jewish Theological Seminary of America published a
festschrift
in two volumes, one in Hebrew and the other in English, con­
taining essays by scholars, colleagues, friends and admirers in
the United States, Israel and Europe. His disciples and co­
workers wrote another series of essays, edited by Rabbis Ira
Eisenstein and Eugene Kohn under the title
Mordecai M. Kaplan:
An Evaluation,
describing Dr. Kaplan’s influence and analyzing
his philosophy. In this book an autobiographical piece, “The Way
I Have Come,” is from the pen of Dr. Kaplan himself.
The Other Writings— The Second Twenty-Five Years
The founding of
The Reconstructionist
magazine, whose first
issue appeared on January 11, 1935, marked the renewal of Dr.
Kaplan’s tremendous productivity in writing for periodicals,