Autonomy in Jewish Philosophy

Autonomy in Jewish Philosophy

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Kenneth Seeskin
Cambridge University Press, 4/2/2009
EAN 9780521114622, ISBN10: 0521114624

Paperback, 268 pages, 21.6 x 14 x 1.5 cm
Language: English

Autonomy in Jewish Philosophy examines an important theme in Jewish thought from the Book of Genesis to the present day. Although it is customary to view Judaism as a legalistic faith leaving little room for free thought or individual expression, Kenneth Seeskin argues that this view is wrong. Where some see the essence of the religion as strict obedience to divine commands, Seeskin claims that God does not just command but forms a partnership with humans requiring the consent of both parties. Looking at classic texts from Biblical, Rabbinic, and philosophical literature, Seeskin shows that Judaism has always respected freedom of conscience and assigned an important role to the power of human reason. The book considers both existing arguments and presents its own ideas about the role of autonomy in Judaism. Clear and concise, it offers a refreshing alternative to the mysticism and dogmatism prevalent in much of the literature.

1. The problem of autonomy
2. Covenant and consent in the Bible
3. From the prophet to the sage
4. From the sage to the philosopher
5. The rise of modernity
Spinoza and Mendelssohn
6. The height of modernity
Kant and Cohen
7. Modernity under fire
Buber and Levinas
8. Conclusion
a partnership with God