August 8, 2016
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v2.1 Reference

Judaism and the West

From Hermann Cohen to Joseph Soloveitchik

Grappling with the place of Jewish philosophy at the margin of religious studies, Robert Erlewine examines the work of five Jewish philosophers—Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Joseph Soloveitchik—to bring them into dialogue within the discipline. Emphasizing the tenuous place of Jews in European, and particularly German, culture, Erlewine unapologetically contextualizes Jewish philosophy as part of the West. He teases out the antagonistic and overlapping attempts of Jewish thinkers to elucidate the philosophical and cultural meaning of Judaism when others sought to deny and even expel Jewish influences. By reading the canon of Jewish philosophy in this new light, Erlewine offers insight into how Jewish thinkers used religion to assert their individuality and modernity.

About the Author

Robert Erlewine is Associate Professor of Religion at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is author of Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (IUP, 2009).


"Judaism in the West is an excellent book, which reaches further than its unassuming tone would have one assume. It is essential reading for scholars of Jewish thought, and valuable for anyone interested in religious studies methodology, and the relationship between Jewish and religious studies. "—Reading Religion

"[The] author has done an important service for the fields of Jewish studies and religious studies by linking the thought of five great modern Jewish philosophers directly to the problem of the West and of Judaism's place in it. "—Harvard Theological Review

"Erlewine's book provides a distinctive, indispensable introduction to modern Jewish thought. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"While the thinkers examined here are hardly unknown, each chapter offers an original analysis that builds on but also importantly adds to previous scholarship. One of the book's important contributions lays in the philosophical credit that is granted to Buber, Heschel, and Soloveitchik, who are often taken to be of less philosophical rigor than Cohen and Rosenzweig, and Erlewine's justification for giving this credit."—Religious Studies Review

"An important study that provides a good overview of some of the problems and growing pains inherent to modern Jewish philosophizing. Taken as a whole, the book provides an excellent introduction to modern Jewish philosophy."—Aaron Hughes, author of The Invention of Jewish Identity

"A veritable tour de force and will certainly be greeted as a seminal contribution to the study of modern Jewish thought."—Paul Mendes-Flohr, author of The Promises and Limitations of Interfaith Dialogue

"Overall, this short book offers an engaging take on some of the classics of modern Jewish philosophy and makes a spirited case for debating their legacy in light of the contemporary study of religion."—Journal of Religion
Indiana University Press
New Jewish Philosophy and Thought

9780253022257 : judaism-and-the-west-erlewine
242 Pages
$49.00 USD

Other Titles by Robert Erlewine

Judaism, Liberalism, and Political Theology

edited by Randi Rashkover, Martin Kavka, with contributions by Robert Erlewine, Eric Jacobson, Gregory Kaplan, Daniel Weidner, Sarah Hammerschlag, Zachary J. Braiterman, Eisenstadt Oona, Jerome E. Copulsky, Dana Hollander
Dec 2013 - Indiana University Press
$85.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Monotheism and Tolerance

Robert Erlewine
Jan 2010 - Indiana University Press
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from New Jewish Philosophy and Thought

When We Collide

Rebecca J. Epstein-Levi
Mar 2023 - Indiana University Press
$75.00 USD - Hardback
$34.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Martin Buber

edited by Sarah Scott, with contributions by Peter A. Huff, Claire E. Sufrin, Samuel Hayim Brody, Yemima Hadad, William Plevan, Zachary J. Braiterman, Asaf Ziderman
Dec 2022 - Indiana University Press
$40.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$90.00 USD - Hardback

The Father of Jewish Mysticism

Daniel Weidner, translated by Sage Anderson
Oct 2022 - Indiana University Press
$75.00 USD - Hardback
$40.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in PHILOSOPHY / Religious

Becoming What We Are

Jude P. Dougherty
Mar 2024 - The Catholic University of America Press
$29.95 USD - Paperback / softback

A Contemporary Introduction to Thomistic Metaphysics

Michael Gorman
Mar 2024 - The Catholic University of America Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Summa metaphysicae ad mentem Sancti Thomae

edited by Therese Scarpelli Cory and Gregory T. Doolan
Feb 2024 - The Catholic University of America Press
$75.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in Islamic & Arabic philosophy

Cross and Cosmos

John D. Caputo
Jul 2019 - Indiana University Press
$90.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

The Inconspicuous God

Jason W. Alvis
Jun 2018 - Indiana University Press
$65.00 USD - Hardback

Richard Kearney's Anatheistic Wager

edited by Chris Doude van Troostwijk, Matthew Clemente, with contributions by Patrick Burke, Richard Colledge, Pierre Drouot, Pierre Drouot, with contributions by Emmanuel Falque, Theo Hettema, Sarah Horton, Richard Kearney, L. Callid K...
Apr 2018 - Indiana University Press
$65.00 USD - Hardback