LOVE AND TERROR IN THE GOD ENCOUNTER: The Theological Legacy of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Vol. 1

David Hartman, Author . Jewish Lights $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58023-112-1

In a densely written discourse, Hartman, a Jerusalem-based theologian and philosopher, pays tribute to his mentor, Rabbi Soloveitchik (known as "the Rav"), by examining several of his publications. Hartman reserves analysis of other writings for a forthcoming second volume. A brief introduction reveals something about the Rav as a leader of modern Orthodoxy, but one has to turn to sources such as Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff's The Rav for biographical information. Born in Poland in 1903, Soloveitchik studied with his father, a noted rabbi, and with private tutors. He earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Berlin and then came to the United States in 1932, settling in Boston, where he became the rabbinic leader of the Orthodox community. For 40 years, he commuted weekly to New York, where he served as senior rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University. As Hartman states, the Rav was "the leading Orthodox talmudic scholar and theologian in North America." Using impenetrable language, Hartman scrutinizes three of the Rav's publications (Halakhic Man, The Lonely Man of Faith and Confrontation), and then devotes a chapter to his views on prayer. Hartman claims that the Rav reconciled studying Torah and Western philosophy simultaneously, but readers have to be experts in philosophy and Jewish theology to grasp Hartman's commentary. This book's severely restricted appeal fails to demonstrate just why the Rav's influence on modern Orthodoxy and Judaism in general was so profound. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-58023-592-1
Paperback - 219 pages - 978-1-58023-176-3
Hardcover - 234 pages - 978-1-68336-180-0
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