The Pursuit of the Ideal

Jewish Writings of Steven Schwarzschild

Edited by Menachem Kellner

Subjects: Jewish Studies, Jewish Philosophy, Jewish Religious Studies, Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Jewish Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791402207, 394 pages, April 1990
Hardcover : 9780791402191, 394 pages, April 1990

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Table of contents

Foreword by Kenneth R. Seeskin


Introduction by Menachem Kellner

1. The Personal Messiah - Toward the Restoration of a Discarded Doctrine

2. Do Noachites Have to Believe in Revelation? (A Passage in Dsipute between Maimonides, Spinoza, Mendelssohn, and Hermann Cohen) A Contribution to a Jewish View of Natural Law

3. The Lure of Immanence - The Crisis in Contemporary Religious Thought

4. On the Theology of Jewish Survival

5. A Note on the Nature of Ideal Society - A Rabbinic Study

6. The Legal Foundation of Jewish Aesthetics

7. The Question of Jewish Ethics Today

8. Moral Radicalism and "Middlingness" in the Ethics of Maimonides

9. Jean-Paul Sartre as Jew

10. A Critique of Martin Buber's Political Philosophy - An Affectionate Reappraisal

11. On Jewish Eschatology

12. Modern Jewish Philosophy

13. Shekhinah and Eschatology



Bibliography of the Writings of Steven S. Schwarzschild



Steven Schwarzschild—rabbi, socialist, pacifist, theologian, and philosopher—is both the last of the major medieval Jewish philosophers and the most modern. He is in the tradition of the Jewish thinking that began with Sa'adia Gaon and reached its highest expression in Maimonides. These thinkers believed that Judaism must confront some systematic view of the universe. Sa'adia did this with Kalam, ibn Gabirol with Neo-Platonism, and Maimonides with Aristotelianism. Schwarzschild does it with Neo-Kantianism. From this confrontation, Schwarzschild derives important insights into the nature and structure of contemporary Judaism and Jewish existence in the post-modern world.

Menachem Kellner brings together thirteen of Schwarzschild's Jewish (as opposed to straightforwardly philosophical) writings. Included are important discussions of messianism, death of God theology, ethics, aesthetics, and politics. The common concerns underlying these essays are Neo-Kantian idealism and messianism. In an afterword written especially for this book, Schwarzschild shows that these two foci are really one.

In an introductory essay, Menachem Kellner explores the philosophic underpinning of Schwarzschild's non-Marxist socialism, pacifism, and messianism; and of his critiques of Christianity, political conservatism, and Zionism.

Menachem Kellner is Professor in the Department of Jewish Thought at the University of Haifa in Israel.