Page 173 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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153
B
lau
— J
ew ish
P
h ilo sophy
and
R
eligion
lated volumes o f Maimonides’
M ishn eh T o ra h
in the Judaica
series from Yale University Press. In the same series, S. Rosen-
blatt has translated Saadya Gaon,
B ook o f B e lie fs an d O p in io n s
(Yale University Press, 1948).
Of more recent Jewish philosophers of religion, Leo Baeck
and Franz Rosenzweig are now at least partially translated. A
complete translation of Rosenzweig’s
S ta r o f R e d em p t io n
is still
needed. T h e most astonishing “success story” is, however, that
of Martin Buber. Before our period Buber was known only to
a few
cogno scen ti
in the English speaking world, and only as a
consequence of the 1937 translation of his
I an d T h o u .
Since
1946, however, no fewer than twenty volumes of translations
from Buber’s writings have been produced and distributed, many
in paperback mass editions. In addition, a major study of his
thought by Maurice Friedman,
M a r tin B u b e r : T h e L if e o f D ia-
logue
(University of Chicago Press, 1955), has been published.
A considerable audience for these books must have been Gen-
tile. Buber’s highly personalized and non-institutional philosophy
of Judaism has stirred a lim ited number of Jewish readers very
deeply, but on the whole Jewish response has ranged from gentle
criticism to the implication that Buber’s position is not Jewish
at all, as in Eliezer Berkovits’
A Jew ish C r i t iq u e o f the Phi-
losophy o f M a r tin B u b e r
(Yeshiva University, 1962).
Some significant philosophico-religious works have been pro-
duced in the Un ited States in this period. A volume of occasional
pieces by the late Professor Morris Raphael Cohen,
R e f le c t ion s
o f a W o n d e r in g Jew
(Beacon Press, 1950), while by no means
approaching the perspicuity of his professional writing, is none
the less worthy of being remembered. Mordecai M. Kaplan in
T h e
P u rpo se and M e a n in g o f J ew ish E x is ten ce
(Jewish Publication
Society of America, 1964), has presented an overview of the phi-
losophy of religion of Hermann Cohen together with a critique
that serves as an impressive restatement of Kaplan’s own posi-
tion. Here, too, Kaplan directly confronts and responds to the
thought of Martin Buber. Professor Horace Kallen has continued,
in a large number of articles and in his book
U to p ian s a t Bay
(Theodor Herzl Foundation, 1958), to speak ou t forthrightly
on behalf of a humanistic and secular Hebraism as an alterna-
tive to outworn and “tribal” Judaism. W ill Herberg, in
Juda ism
and M o d e rn M an
(Farrar, Straus, 1951) and in
P ro te s ta n t , Cath-
o lic , Jew : A n Essay in R e l ig io u s Soc io logy
(Doubleday and Co.,
1955), has made out a strong case for Judaism as one of the
“civic” religions of the Un ited States. Arthur Cohen, in
T h e
N a tu ra l an d th e Su p e rn a tu ra l Jew : A n H is to r ic a l an d T h e o
-
logical In tr o d u c t io n
(Pantheon, 1963), has produced a work of
great erudition and depth, challenging many of the easy assump-
tions of Jewish thought. It deserves a far wider audience and