Crisis Theology & the Jewish Community
A DOZEN years have passed since Irving Kristol, in a savage critique of Milton Steinberg’s Basic Judaism,* sought to demonstrate that Jewish thought in America was powerless to answer the great questions-questions about man and his condition, about destiny and the meaning of history-that the war had raised in the troubled minds of so many intellectuals in the West. Kristol’s article challenged Jewish thinkers to face these questions instead of taking refuge in the kind of calm, confident faith that he accused Milton Steinberg, and most American rabbis, of preaching. To this challenge a group of younger theologians -among them Emil Fackenheim and Will Herberg-soon responded, and for a time it seemed that a new Jewish theology-a theology concerned with the crisis of the age-was in process of being born. But the effort miscarried. Aside from a few articles and one book, perhaps two, the promise of these first few exciting efforts remained unfulfilled.
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