Page 139 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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ELLENSON / EUGENE B. BOROWITZ: A TRIBUTE
131
was one of linking this commitment to self-assertion to a ground
for Jewish action.
In order to provide some answers for these problems,
Borowitz turned, as he had in the 1960s, with characteristic
openness to the writings of Jewish and Christian theologians
for guidance. In 1980 he wrote
Contemporary Christologies: A Jew­
ish Response.
This book was the outgrowth of an address he was
invited to deliver at the predominantly Christian American The­
ological Association, and in it he asserted that Jews could rec­
ognize and learn from these modern Christian writings directed
to the service of God, even though a Jew might detect in them
tonal elements distinct from the commanding-forgiving
rhythms of a Jewish view of the Divine. In addition, 1983 wit­
nessed Borowitz’s publication of
Choices in Modern Jewish
Thought
, a revision and reformulation of his earlier
A New Jewish
Theology in the Making.
Finally, in 1984 and 1985 Borowitz pub­
lished
LiberalJudaism,
and
Explaining ReformJudaism,
a children’s
textbook co-authored with Naomi Patz. Published by the Union
of American Hebrew Congregations, both reflected Borowitz’s
continuing quest not only to articulate an authentic liberal Jew­
ish faith for American Jews, but, in so doing, to provide these
Jews with guidance in the practical realms of life’s demands
and complexities.
Borowitz’s theological projects, and his concern for their prac­
tical applications, reached their crescendo in two works pub­
lished in 1990 and 1991. The first year saw his publication of
forty-one papers collected under the title,
ExploringJewish Ethics:
Papers on Covenant Responsibility,
while the latter was the occasion
for his most comprehensive, mature, and systematic theological
statement,
Renewing the Covenant: A Theology fo r the Postmodern
Jew.
In his preface to
Renewing the Covenant,
Borowitz observed,
“For all its reach, this book deals with but one aspect of my
theology. To my surprise and consternation, the theological task
I early set for myself refused to remain unified, but ramified
into three independent, if correlated, foci of interest: (1) the
response to our culture, (2) the dialogue with Jewish tradition,
and (3) the testing of these ideas in Jewish action.”
Exploring Jewish Ethics,
in Borowitz’s own view, is the fulfill­
ment of the third item on his agenda, while
Renewing the Cov­
enant
represents his attempt to mediate the relationship between
Judaism and contemporary culture. The two books, as Borowitz