Synopses & Reviews
This engaging argument for the future of Jewish theology, written by a renowned Jewish scholar, provides a masterly examination of the faith, its history, and its place in the modern world.
Exploring both its historical evolution and Judaism’s relationship with Israel and the wider world today, this fascinating book traces foundational Jewish structures and concepts through the discussion and interpretation of Jewish texts, rituals and prayers. It outlines the history of Jewish theology, considering the notion of monotheism and its manifestation in the Jewish faith; the ethics of the Jewish character; and considers thematic elements of Judaism, including the centrality attached to sacred locations including Jerusalem. In debating Judaism’s future as a religion, Kepnes strikes a positive note. He argues that we must acknowledge holiness as a ritual and ethical reality in order to heal the rift between different forms of Jewish practice and theology. In doing so, he speaks to both Jews and non-Jews, and demonstrates through textual readings how Jews, Christians, and Muslims can understand and share their theological riches.
“A signally important book that argues for the intrinsically hermeneutical character of Jewish theology [from] one of the founders of the contemporary Jewish theological circle of ‘textual reasoning.’ This work of contemporary Jewish theology provides real instruction to the hermeneutical tasks of Christian and Islamic theology as well. A major work.”—David Tracy, University of Chicago
"Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals/practitioners; theologians." (Choice, 1 August 2013)
About the Author
Steven Kepnes is Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Professor of Jewish Studies and Religion and Director of Jewish Studies at Colgate University, USA. His research and teaching focuses on Judaism, Jewish philosophy and ethics, and Western traditions in religion and philosophy. He is the author of numerous publications including Jewish Liturgical Reasoning (2007) and editor of Studying the ‘Other’, Understanding the ‘Self’: Scripture, Reason and the Contemporary Islam-West Encounter (with Basit Koshul, 2007).
Table of Contents
1 You Shall Be Holy 1
Part One 27
2 Holy Blessings, Torah, People 29
3 Holy Shabbat 48
4 Holy Food and Holy Sacrifices 76
5 The Ethics of Holiness 102
6 Prophetic Holiness 124
Part Two 145
7 Ethical Monotheism 147
8 Textual Reasoning 172
9 Liturgical Reasoning 200
10 Scriptural Reasoning 219
11 High Holiness 246