Page 92 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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Books inJewish Thought:
The Decade of the 1970s
om eo n e
on c e
ex pla ined
why the
which is placed on the
arm differs from the
which is place on the head. T he
placed on the arm contains a single com partm en t while the
placed on the head is divided into a num be r o f visibly
separate compartments. T h e
placed on the arm rep resen ts
Jewish law, while the
placed on the head rep resen ts Jewish
thought. Jewish law requ ires univocal action while Jewish though t
encourages diverse and separate views. T he commandments
which comprise Jewish law rema in the same, while the exp lana­
tions fo r those commandments provided by Jewish though t may
This b r ie f survey attempts to review some o f the more signifi­
cant and representative works in Jewish religious though t which
have been published in the 1970s in English. Limitations o f space
perm it mention o f bu t a sparse number o f these contributions to
Jewish self-understanding. As the field o f Jewish though t is so
am o rphous as to be all-encompassing, ou r subject must be n a r ­
rowed to include only the th ree central areas o f Jewish religious
thought: theology, philosophy, and mysticism.
For many years, it has often been claimed tha t the re is no such
entity as Jewish theology. Many scholars and laymen maintain
tha t theological speculation is foreign to Juda ism , tha t it is a
Christian en terprise engaged in by a few misguided Jews. O thers
maintain tha t Judaism is only a cultural tradition , or exclusively a
legal system, bereft o f theology. Solomon Schechter and Ab­
raham Joshua Heschel were in the fo re fron t o f those who have
tried to combat this prejudice against adm itting the existence o f
Jewish theology. As both Schechter and Heschel claimed, J u d a ­
ism is a way o f
as well as a way o f