Reviewing the Covenant

Eugene B. Borowitz and the Postmodern Renewal of Jewish Theology

Edited by Peter Ochs
With Eugene B. Borowitz

Subjects: Jewish Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791445341, 214 pages, March 2000
Hardcover : 9780791445334, 214 pages, March 2000

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Table of contents



1. The Emergence of Postmodern Jewish Theology and Philosophy
Peter Ochs

2. Postmodern Judaism: One Theologian's View
Eugene B. Borowitz

Readings of Borowitz' Renewing the Covenant

3. Gene Borowitz' Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew
Yudit Kornberg Greenberg

4. Reading the Covenant: Some Postmodern Reflections
Edith Wyschogrod

5. Post-Modern or Chastened Modern?
Eugene B. Borowitz' Vision for Jewish Fidelity
Thomas W. Ogletree

6. Is the Covenant a Bilateral Relationship?
A Response to Eugene Borowitz' Renewing the Covenant
David Novak

7. A Critique of Borowitz' Postmodern Jewish Theology
Norbert M. Samuelson

Readings of the Readings

8. Borowitz and the Postmodern Renewal of Theology
Peter Ochs

9. 'Im ba'et, eyma —Since You Object, Let Me Put It This Way
Eugene B. Borowitz

Postmodern Theological Renewal: A Meditation

10. "Crossing and Recrossing the Void": A Letter to Gene
Susan Handelman



Index of Biblical and Rabbinic Sources

This major intellectual response to the leading theologian of liberal Judaism provides a significant indication of future directions in Jewish religious thought.


In Reviewing the Covenant, six Jewish philosophers—and one Christian colleague—respond to the work of the renowned Jewish theologian Eugene B. Borowitz, one of the leading figures in the movement of "postmodern" Jewish philosophy and theology. The title recalls Borowitz's earlier book, Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew, in which he lent this movement a theological agenda, and the essays in this book respond to Borowitz's call: to revitalize contemporary Judaism by renewing the covenant that binds modern Jews to re-live and re-interpret the traditions of Judaism's past.

Together with the introductory and responsive essays by Peter Ochs and Borowitz himself, the essays offer a community of dialogue, an attempt to reason-out how Jewish faith is possible after the Holocaust and how reason itself is possible after the failings of the great "-isms" of the modern world. This dialogue is conducted under the banner of "postmodern Judaism," a daunting term that by the end of the book receives a surprisingly direct meaning, namely, the condition of disillusionment and loss out of which Jews can and must find a third way out of the modern impasse between arrogant rationalism and arrogant religion. Representing a major intellectual response to the leading theologian of liberal Judaism, the book provides a significant indication of future directions in Jewish religious thought.

Contributors include Eugene B. Borowitz, Yudit Kornberg Greenberg, Susan Handelman, David Novak, Peter Ochs, Thomas W. Ogletree, Norbert M. Samuelson, and Edith Wyschogrod.

Peter Ochs is Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia and founder of the Postmodern Jewish Philosophy Network. Eugene B. Borowitz is the Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion/New York.


"This book offers a concise yet panoramic overview of a crucial contemporary debate." — Allan Arkush, author of Moses Mendelssohn and the Enlightenment

"Borowitz invited a discussion of postmodernism and Judaism in his book, but the battle over the term yields to what is one of the clearest expositions of the context in contemporary disciplines, and more importantly the reasons why Judaism needs a postmodern turn now. This is not merely taxonomy, but is rather a deep reflection and, better still, conversation about the way Judaism faces the crisis of modernity." — Robert Gibbs, author of Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas