Distinguished philosopher Hilary Putnam, who is also a practicing Jew, questions the thought of three major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century—Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas—to help him reconcile the philosophical and religious sides of his life. An additional presence in the book is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who, although not a practicing Jew, thought about religion in ways that Putnam juxtaposes to the views of Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas. Putnam explains the leading ideas of each of these great thinkers, bringing out what, in his opinion, constitutes the decisive intellectual and spiritual contributions of each of them. Although the religion discussed is Judaism, the depth and originality of these philosophers, as incisively interpreted by Putnam, make their thought nothing less than a guide to life.
|"In yoking Jewish thought to his efforts to give philosophy a human face, and in giving us glimpses of three men who helped shape a vibrant and beautiful form of Jewish thought, Hilary Putnam—to his profit, and to ours—has sided with Isaiah." —FIRST THINGS , October 2008
"Hilary Putman has been in the thick of philosophical discussion for more than half a century . . . engagingly personal . . . there are interesting, characteristically Putnamian insights to be had throughout." —Abraham Socher, Times Literary Supplement , November 7, 2008
"One of the most distinguished analytical philosophers, Putnam has written an unusual book that uses the thought of key philosophers to find points of commonality between the religious and the philosophical." —Library Journal , October 1, 2008
". . . Putnam has . . . discovered a barely contemplated terrain, where American pragmatism and Continental Jewish existentialism are happily intermarried. Mazel tov." —Michael Fagenblat, Common Knowledge , Volume 15, Number 2 (rec'd 6/09)
"Philosopher Hilary Putnam, who is also a practicing Jew, examines the thought of three major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century—Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas—to help him reconcile the philosophical and religious sides of his life. . . . Although the religion discussed is Judaism, the depth and originality of these philosophers, as incisively interpreted by Putnam, make their thought nothing less than a guide to life." —Joseph Haberer, Book Editor, SHOFAR , Vol. 28.1 Fall 2009
"Written by the distinguished emeritus professor of analytical philosophy, this intriguing little study is a concise presentation of three figures in modern Jewish thought: Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas." —AJS Review , Vol. 33/2
"Putnam is a master teacher, and his elucidations of four difficult thinkers are valuable in themselves." —Shofar , Vol. 28, No. 3, 2010
"In these attractive and important essays, Hilary Putnam, one of the most brilliant, influential, and important philosophers of the second half of the 20th century, invites us to listen in as he talks about how his turn to Judaism has involved an encounter with these major Jewish philosophers and thinkers and what the result has been in terms of the significance of Judaism for him and potentially for others." —Michael L. Morgan, author of Interim Judaism
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Table of Contents
1. Rosenzweig and Wittgenstein
2. Rosenzweig on Revelation and Romance
3. What I and Thou Is Really Saying
4. Levinas on What Is Demanded of Us
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