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36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fictionby Rebecca Goldstein
Synopses & Reviews
After Cass Seltzer's book becomes a surprise best seller, he's dubbed "the atheist with a soul" and becomes a celebrity. He wins over the stunning Lucinda Mandelbaum, "the goddess of game theory," and loses himself in a spiritually expansive infatuation. A former girlfriend appears: an anthropologist who invites him to join in her quest for immortality throughbiochemistry. And he is haunted by reminders of the two people who ignited his passion to understand religion: his mentor and professor--a renowned literary scholar with a suspicious obsession withmessianism--and an angelic six-year-old mathematical genius who is heir to the leadership of a Hasidic sect. Each encounter reinforces Cass's theory that the religious impulse spills over into life atlarge.
"36 Arguments for the Existence of God" plunges into the great debate of our day: the clash between faith and reason. World events are being shaped by fervent believersat home and abroad, while a new atheism is asserting itself in the public sphere. On purely intellectual grounds the skeptics would seem to have everything on their side. Yet people refuse to accept their seeminglyirrefutable arguments and continue to embrace faith in God as their source of meaning, purpose, and comfort.
Through the enchantment of fiction, award-winning novelist and MacArthur FellowRebecca Newberger Goldstein shows that the tension between religion and doubt cannot be understood through rational argument alone. It also must be explored from the point of view of individual people caught in theraptures and torments of religious experience in all their variety.
Using her gifts in fiction and philosophy, Goldstein has produced a true crossover novel, complete with a nail-biting debate("Resolved: God Exists") and a stand-alone appendix with the thirty-six arguments (and responses) that propelled Seltzer to stardom.
"From the Hardcover edition."
Equally adept at fiction (a winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and philosophy (a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” prize), Rebecca Newberger Goldstein now gives us a novel that transforms the great debate between faith and reason into an exhilarating romance of both heart and mind.
At the center: Cass Seltzer, a professor of psychology whose book, The Varieties of Religious Illusion, has become a surprise best seller. He’s been dubbed “the atheist with a soul,” and his sudden celebrity has upended his life. He wins over the stunning Lucinda Mandelbaum–“the goddess of game theory”–and loses himself in a spiritually expansive infatuation. A former girlfriend appears: an anthropologist who invites him to join in her quest for immortality through biochemistry. But he is haunted by reminders of the two people who ignited his passion to understand religion: his teacher Jonas Elijah Klapper, a renowned literary scholar with a suspicious obsession with messianism, and an angelic six-year-old mathematical genius, heir to the leadership of an exotic Hasidic sect. The rush of events in a single dramatic week plays out Cass’s conviction that the religious impulse spills out into life at large.
In 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein explores the rapture and torments of religious experience in all its variety. Hilarious, heartbreaking, and intellectually captivating, it is a luminous and intoxicating novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN’s novels include The Mind-Body Problem and Mazel, winner of the 1995 National Jewish Book Award. Her most recent book, Betraying Spinoza, won the 2006 Koret International Jewish Book Award.
From the Hardcover edition.
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