An Introduction to Modern Jewish Philosophy

By Norbert M. Samuelson

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Paperback : 9780887069604, 330 pages, February 1989
Hardcover : 9780887069598, 330 pages, March 1989

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Part I Historical Background

1. Migrations from Spain and the Popularization of Kabbalah

2. Emancipation and Its Consequences

3. Settlement in America

4. The Holocaust and the State of Israel

Part II Popular Expressions of Modern Judaism

Introduction to Part II

5. Jewish Religion

6. Jewish Secularism

Part III Modern Jewish Philosophy

Introduction to Part III

7. Baruch Spinoza

8. Mendelssohn and Modern Jewish Thought

9. Hermann Cohen

10. Martin Buber

11. Franz Rosenzweig

12 Mordecai Kaplan

13. Emil Fackenhim and Contemporary Jewish Philosophy

Name Index

Subject Index


The book is divided into three sections. The first provides a general historical overview for the Jewish thought that follows. The second summarizes the variety of basic kinds of popular, positive Jewish commitment in the twentieth century. The third and major section summarizes the basic thought of those modern Jewish philosophers whose thought is technically the best and/or the most influential in Jewish intellectual circles. The Jewish philosophers covered include Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Mordecai Kaplan, and Emil Fackenheim.

The text includes summaries and a selected bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Norbert M. Samuelson is Professor of Religion at Temple University.


"It delivers exactly what it promises—an introduction to a mature study of Jewish thought from the expulsion from Spain in 1492 up to the 1980s. The thought of major thinkers is presented clearly in its historical context. There are a number of good insights and stimulating questions. This book could become the standard text for courses in modern Jewish thought." — Kenneth Seeskin, Northwestern University