Thinking about the Prophets: A Philosopher Reads the Bible

Kenneth Seeskin. The Jewish Publication Society, $21.95 trade paper (162p) ISBN 978-0-8276-1505-2
Seeskin (Searching for a Distant God), a professor of the philosophy of religion at Northwestern, analyzes in this sharp study the biblical books of Amos, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Job through the lens of Western philosophy. Seeskin starts with a summary of each prophet’s background before examining the worldview presented in each book and relevant philosophical questions. For instance, in Amos, the proposition that “no one has ever come to God with completely pure hands” is followed by Aristotle and Hegel’s answer to “set standards which, though not perfect, are at least attainable.” In Jeremiah, he asks, “How could an all-powerful God allow a chosen servant” to be harmed or disrespected? He then uses the arguments of Bertrand Russell and Hermann Cohen to claim that “qualities like faith, love, courage, or commitment to an ideal have to be tested to be real.” While Seeskin’s strength is Jewish scholarship, he takes an ecumenical approach by showcasing how the works of the prophets are foundational texts for multiple religions and emphasizing their modern relevance. Erudite and accessible, this insightful analysis will appeal to any reader interested in the Bible, the philosophy of religion, or simply the history and literature of the ancient world. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/24/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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