Heart of Wisdom, A

Religion and Human Wholeness

By Maurice Friedman

Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791412169, 254 pages, September 1992
Hardcover : 9780791412152, 254 pages, September 1992

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Table of contents



Part One: A Way That One Walks

1. Religion and the Religions

Part Two: Religions with Which I Have Been in Dialogue

2. My Dialogue with the Religions
3. The Biblical Covenant: Exile, Contending, and Trust
4. Jesus: Image of the Human or Image of God?
5. Hasidism

Part Three: Religious Communication

6. The Meeting of Religion and Human Experience
7. The Via Humana
8. Religious Sumbolism and "Universal" Religion
9. Legend, Myth, and Tale
10. Religion and Literature
11. Solitude and Community

Part Four: The Tension between Past and Present

12. Peter Pan's Shadow: Tradition and Modernity
13. The Dialectic Between Spirit and Form
14. The Paradox of Religious Leadership

Part Five: Religion and Human Wholeness

15. Spontaneity, Decision, and Personal Wholeness
16. Religion and Ethics: "The Way to Do Is to Be"
17. World View and Existential Trust
18. Is Religion the Enemy of Humankind?



Drawing on almost half a century of immersion in the world's great religions, coupled with an ever-deepening understanding of the philosophy and phenomenology of religion, the author takes a dialogical approach through which religious reality is not seen as external creed and form or as subjective inspiration, but as the meeting in openness, presentness, immediacy, and mutuality with ultimate reality. Religion has to do with the wholeness of human life. The absolute is found, not just in the universal, but in the particular and the unique. When it promotes a dualism in which the spirit has no binding claim upon life and life falls apart into unhallowed fragments, religion becomes the great enemy of humankind.

Maurice Friedman is Professor of Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University and is Co-Director of the Institute for Dialogical Psychotherapy in San Diego. He is the author of over twenty books, including, Martin Buber: The Life of Dialogue; Martin Buber's Life and Work (3 volumes); Martin Buber and the Eternal; Abraham Joshua Heschel and Elie Wiesel: "You Are My Witnesses"; and Religion and Psychology: A Dialogical Approach.


"Wisdom is a tradition of knowing that has fallen out of favor in recent decades. Piaget, among others, has called for its return. Judaism has never lost touch with this tradition and Friedman is a good exemplar. The book is most readable and stimulating. It takes a strong position rooted in Judaism and integrates a breadth of exemplification from other religions and from literature. " — Harold Coward

"This work is a wonderful presentation of fundamental issues facing all intelligently religious people. The author provides remarkable insight into the matter of religious commitment in a religiously plural age. Written with wit and clarity, this work provides its reader with nourishing food for thought. At many points in my reading of the manuscript I wished I was able to discuss a particular matter with the author — that's the sort of work this is. Very thought provoking. " — Jeffrey R. Timm, Wheaton College