Faith Finding Meaning

Faith Finding Meaning : A Theology of Judaism

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Popular books on various aspects of Jewish life and thought are published in substantial numbers. Yet there are few if any that offer a comprehensive, accessible, scholarly presentation of Jewish theology. Byron Sherwin fills this gap, utilizing a novel approach to the subject. The well-documented 'privatization' of American religion is characterized by the desire to identify one's religious faith with a quest for individual, personal meaning. In Judaism this takes the form of rejecting 'denominational' (Reform, Conservative, etc.) affiliation of 'ethnic identity' in favor of an understanding of Jewish identity as inextricably linked to an affirmation of Judaism as a faith. Those embracing this view are increasingly asking two questions: What is Judaism? How does Judaism address my quest for meaning? Available works on Jewish theology largely focus on abstract theological concepts such as the existence and nature of God and are consequently detached from the individual's engagement with existential issues such as the meaning of human existence.
Sherwin demonstrates that Jewish theological thinking can be understood as a response to such visceral existential issues and argues that human meaning and fulfillment can be discovered in the application of an authentic Jewish way of thinking and living.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 142.24 x 213.36 x 27.94mm | 340.19g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195336232
  • 9780195336238

Review quote

Sherwin shifts the center of the discussion to the quest for individual meaning. * Joseph Haberer, SHOFAR * Anyone who spends time with Sherwin's essay will be inspired... * Samuel H. Brody * According to the Jewish mystical tradition, the Torah reveals herself only to her lovers. Byron Sherwin is not only one of the most creative Jewish scholars of our generation, but is also a lover of the Torah. That enables him in this book, using the most important traditional Jewish sources and modern scholarship, to present us with an authentic Jewish theology by describing what Judaism is and what Judaism is not. * Harold Kasimow, George Drake Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus, Grinnell College * Based on his wide familiarity with classical Jewish texts and his broad reading of modern Jewish thinkers, Sherwin takes us on an intellectual exploration of what form American Jewish theology might take in the twenty-first century. He shows that any new Jewish theology has to rest not only on the Judaic tradition, but also on the lived experience of modern Jews being in a covenant relationship with the Divine. This book is indispensable for anyone interested in
thinking about how classical Jewish literature and liturgy can address the post-modern Jewish experience of faith, life and suffering. * Peter J. Haas, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies, Case Western Reserve University. * Byron Sherwin is, without doubt, one of the most informed and penetrating theological minds of American Jewry today. Faith Finding Meaning is instructive, if not required, reading for those wishing to participate in future discussions in constructive Jewish theology. Forthright, synthetic and always engaging, Sherwin assesses the condition of modern Jewry and provides the spiritual tools necessary for a Jewish faith that is both grounded in sacred texts and
profoundly inspiring. Scholars and spiritual pilgrims alike will come to use this volume as a window through which to view both the Jewish tradition and the contemporary Jewish soul. * Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, spiritual leader of Park Avenue Synagogue and author of Teyku: The Insoluble Contradictions in the Life and Thought of Louis Jacobs *
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About Byron L. Sherwin

Byron L. Sherwin is a Distinguished Service Professor at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
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Table of contents

1. Preface ; 2. From Crypto-Jews to Crypto-Judaism ; 3. Substitute Faiths ; 4. The Nature of Jewish Theology ; 5. Faith Finding Meaning ; 6. Living in the Covenant ; 7. Rendezvous with God ; 8. Meaning Despite Evil and Absurdity ; 9. Hope Despite Experience ; Notes ; Bibliography
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