Speaking/Writing of God

Jewish Philosophical Reflections on the Life with Others

By Michael Oppenheim

Subjects: Jewish Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791434581, 201 pages, May 1997
Hardcover : 9780791434574, 201 pages, May 1997

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Table of contents


Introduction: The Question of Speaking/Writing of God

1. Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas: A Midrash or Thought-Experiment

2. Rosenzweig and Levinas: On Anthropomorphism, the Holocaust, and God's Presence

3. To Notice the Color of Her Eyes: Facing the Feminist Jewish Critique

4. Color II—A Dialogue: Toward an Inclusive Religious Language

5. Judaism and Religious Pluralism: Faith and Mystery

Conclusion: On Witnessing to the Divine Presence




Identifies and examines the central insights of Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas concerning the religious dimensions of the relationships between persons and extends these insights in order to explore the relevance of religious language to speak of post-Holocaust Jewish life, the critique of the tradition by feminist Jewish philosophers and theologians, and the challenges of religious pluralism.


Speaking/Writing of God explores the manner in which religious language develops in answer to the challenges and promise of three features of the life with others: the encounter between persons, the quest by Jewish women to be accepted—including their distinctiveness/otherness as women—as full participants in Jewish communal life, and the dialogue between Jews and non-Jews.

Although a major stream of modern Jewish philosophy has focused on the transcendent dimension of the relationship between persons, this book studies the contribution of feminist Judaism to modern Jewish philosophy and the impact of religious pluralism on Jewish religious life and thought.

Michael Oppenheim is Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Concordia University, Montreal. He is the coeditor of Truth and Compassion: Essays on Judaism and Religion in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Soloman Frank; and author of What Does Revelation Mean for the Modern Jew?: Rosenzweig, Buber, Fackenheim and Mutual Upholding: Fashioning Jewish Philosophy through Letters.


"This book offers the best teaching job I have seen of otherwise very difficult material on Rosenzweig and Levinas, together with a comparable introduction to twentieth-century, liberal, and feminist Jewish commentaries on a number of central theological issues. It is a work of introductory, constructive Jewish theology, particularly useful for students and those new to these topics. Without jargon, it introduces readers to a wide selection of modern and postmodern Jewish theologies. Oppenheim brings the reader gently from the central insights of Levinas and Rosenzweig into the contemporary discourses in dialogic, feminist, and post-Holocaust philosophy; he teaches the reader how to understand dialogic and other forms of post-enlightenment philosophy and then to use it in their own thinking and practice. No one has integrated feminist and recent Jewish philosophy the way Oppenheim does here. " — Peter Ochs, Wallerstein Professor of Jewish Studies, Drew University