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Judaism, Human Values, and the Jewish State, by Yeshayahu Leibowitz

- Abstract

Yeshayahu Leibowitz has long been one of the most eccentric figures in Israeli intellectual life. A respected biochemist, maverick Jewish theologian, and outspoken political crank, he has captured the attention and admiration of many Israelis and American Jews with his radical approach to contemporary Judaism and Middle East politics. Though himself a rigorously Orthodox Jew and a Zionist, Leibowitz preaches a paradoxically transcendent, anti-nationalist Jewish theology while also freely engaging in attacks on the government and political culture of Israel.

As a theologian, Leibowitz denies that God actively intervenes in human affairs, and he thus rejects completely the traditional Jewish religious belief in divine providence and God’s miraculous involvement in the world. He nonetheless insists that, though the Creator of man is essentially uninterested in his mundane existence, the Jews are still expected to serve Him in their daily lives by observing the dictates of the Torah.

About the Author

Allan Nadler is professor of religion and director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University. He is currently completing a book about the reception of Spinoza in modern Yiddish thought and literature.