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God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  1,076 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Abraham Joshua Heschel was one of the most revered religious leaders of the 20th century, and God in Search of Man and its companion volume, Man Is Not Alone, two of his most important books, are classics of modern Jewish theology. God in Search of Man combines scholarship with lucidity, reverence, and compassion as Dr. Heschel discusses not man's search for God but God's ...more
ebook, 437 pages
Published June 1st 1976 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1955)
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Antimidas
Jun 28, 2008 Antimidas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaism
Beginning with the first page of this book, I was hooked on Heschel. In one paragraph, he summed up my thoughts on the religious experience and the problems with religion in modern society.

“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is complete
...more
Jana L.
Aug 02, 2013 Jana L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a couple days to write a review of this book, because I have had a hard time sorting out what I think about it. It's beautiful, intricate, winding, cohesive, dense... so many things. Heschel provides a rich Jewish mystical theology that explores God, God's revelation to man, and man's response to God. Every page contains something stirring and profound. A proper reading should take a while -- there is a lot to absorb and this book deserves full attention.

I have only two caveats to my
...more
Volkert
Mar 02, 2017 Volkert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is not easy to write a review of God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism, by Abraham Joshua Heschel. This book was recommended to me 20 years ago by a fellow seeker, an intellectual, and it came up again recently by another fellow seeker, who is also a deep thinker. So I checked out a copy from the library. But because it was a library copy, I was not free to highlight the many outstanding quotes I encountered.

Much of this book was over my head, but I persisted, and I’m glad I did. The
...more
Brian
Apr 09, 2013 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had pretty high hopes coming in to G-d in Search of Man, since I had heard a lot about it before I read it. However, my reaction to the majority of the book can pretty much be summed up in the following image:

 photo 1403595476720.png

I should have known that I wasn't going to like the rest of the book when Heschel started talking about the arrogance of science in thinking it can know everything, and then when he continued in talking about how science cannot be used to understand the ineffable and is therefore inappro
...more
Bob
Jun 13, 2012 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book though at times I had to plough through some sections; here is the opening paragraph;
"Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, and insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with
...more
Dan
May 15, 2012 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd been warned that this book was hard sledding and that I'd almost surely never make it all the way through.

I fought that warning. I denied it. But, finally, I've come to terms with the fact that it's true: I'm almost surely never going to pick this back up and I should stop pretending that I'm going to do so. It's just not going to happen.

Rabbi Heschel was a giant. His thoughts are intriguing. His influence enormous. But this book wasn't exactly written by him -- it's a reconstruction by his
...more
Andy Oram
Feb 08, 2015 Andy Oram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, I think, has helped me find my way as a person, as well as a Jew. Although Heschel focuses on Judaism and expects his readers to be observant Jews, I sense that his approach to spirit, action, and the purpose of life has a lot to say to sensitive non-Jews as well (although it’s hard for me to step outside of myself enough to be sure). The book is certainly a big commitment to the reader: long, repetitious, sometimes abstract. Although you can gain a lot by parsing and considering each ...more
Isaac
This holy and sacred sefer (book) poetically and logically portrays the essence and raison d'etre for believing in G-d and the sacredness of being a practicing Jew. No other book that I have ever read elucidated for me the depth and sublime nature of our relationship with G-d, as this one has.


Join us at http://philoofreligion.blogspot.com/ for extensive reviews and essays of Rav Heschel’s magnificent work – G-d in Search of Man.
Ryan
Aug 30, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick read for me. I read it during two overnight shifts. That is my biggest regret with this book. It deserves a slow, close reading and I did not do it justice. Herschel poetically extracts an inherent philosophy from within Judaism. Not only is it philosophically poignant, but it is a truly enjoyable read. I recommend this book for anyone interested in a Hebraic worldview.
Jim Killion
May 25, 2013 Jim Killion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the review from TIME: "subtitled 'A Philosophy of Judaism,' but it speaks to all those for whom the Bible is a holy book."
And with The Boston Globe: "One of the most compelling books about being human that has been written in this century."
Bob
Oct 25, 2007 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians & Jews
Shelves: world-religions
The depth of Dr. Heschel is overwhelming. He understands the spiritual journey and the Biblical story as no other.
Ron
Oct 01, 2013 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for any studious Christian.
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I love it!
Daniel Stefanski
May 30, 2017 Daniel Stefanski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be clear, I am not a theology student, and don't really have too much of a background in studying philosophy and religion. This is not a collection of inspiration nuggets-i.e. Rabbi Harold Kushner's work-but is compelling nonetheless, especially if you've inherited a Jewish or Christian religious background. That being said, the book is dense, and I have the feeling that there is some required reading to do before this one. I just don't know what direction to point you in-any answers?
catechism
Man, I don't know. I really, really dislike philosophy, but I really like religion, and the place where those things meet is very hit-or-miss for me. And so that's how this book went: parts of it really resonated with me and I read them quickly, and parts were nonstop ugh-ugh-move-ON. Probably I will buy a copy! The prose is lovely, and there's a lot here.
Wendy
Mar 05, 2017 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of many books by the same rabbi I have read. It seems that everything he wrote is dynamic, relevant, soul inspiring and extremely spiritual! Absolutely a must-have for any library.
Erin Lynch
Mar 23, 2011 Erin Lynch rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
I started reading this book as part of an effort to get a better understanding of Jewish intellectual history. Heschel is routinely mentioned as one of the great Jewish philosophers of the 20th century and so I was excited to delve into this, one of his "greatest works". I could hardly have been more disappointed.

Heschel is a mystic and as such, eschews rationalist approaches to religion. Ok, sure. I'm willing to suspend my rationalism in that area for long enough to get through the book. The d
...more
Braktheitalian
Jul 11, 2012 Braktheitalian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a while to read, not because it is obtuse, but because it is so rich. I had to take a while to digest each part and "chew the cud".

I am not a Jew, but a Gentile believer in Hashem (Christian), so my perspective in reading is not one of self-definition but of relation. As we Gentile believers have been 'grafted into God's olive tree (Israel)'[Rom 11:24], we should be able to celebrate our root and profess our commonalities.

All too often, we Christians have instead stumbled over
...more
Daniël Mok
Dec 20, 2012 Daniël Mok rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2005 verscheen een nieuwe druk van dit klassieke boek over de filosofie van het jodendom. Die was gebaseerd op een in 1985 verschenen uitgave in de vertaling van H. de Bie. In principe is daar geen verandering in aangebracht, maar wel is de redactie van de tekst aangepast aan eigentijdse lezers. Woorden zijn vervangen, moeilijke woorden worden toegelicht, zinnen zijn anders geformuleerd. In de voetnoten zijn ook veranderingen aangebracht, niet meer actuele verwijzingen zijn weggelaten, actuel ...more
Bryan
Nov 04, 2014 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tried reading this book and then put it down. On my second attempt I had to jump to the later sections of the book. It felt like the beginning of the book was so esoteric it made little sense to me. But starting with the final section was much more concrete. I then proceeded to work my way backward to section 2 then section 1 and the book was much easier for me to digest.

I think the book is difficult at parts to grasp especially for one coming out of a Christian background. But I feel that it
...more
Don
Like so many pure philosophical/theological texts, this one takes awhile to chew through. Some of it just has to deal with subject matter and writing style that makes it difficult to read in great volume, but much of it is intentional. The chapters themselves are broken down frequently into shorter sections resembling restricted content essays, that eventually build on themselves as the book progresses. Its the first book that I have read that approaches the Jewish faith from a philosophical vie ...more
Zuchra Pipin
Buku-buku agama banyak sekali membahas filsafat dari suatu agama. Membaca buku ini saya tidak menemukan kejutan apa-apa karena memang hal-hal seperti ikhlas/sukarela menjalankan pengabdian kepada Tuhan sering dibicarakan. Namun yang saya suka adalah buku ini memberikan gaya yang puitis, yang memberikan ruang untuk pembaca memahami secara 'personal'. Tema-temanya berada seputar bagaimanakah Agama Yahudi berada dan dilaksanakan dengan tiga macam kedalaman, yaitu percaya sepenuh hati, cinta dan suk ...more
Daniel
Apr 04, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Edson Fernando
Muitas reflexões sobre a relação homem/Deus, o Deus bíblico e o homem, a fé judaica, o serviço ao outro, o inefável, a liberdade, a prática da boa ação. Muitas referências aos costumes, termos e conceitos judaicos. O diferencial em relação a outros livros que tratam de espiritualidade é a abordagem mais analítica, mais abrangente, lançando questões que desafiam o senso comum e trazendo possíveis respostas. Não apresenta um caráter de solucionar as principais questões, mas de gerar um senso de re ...more
Martin
Jun 25, 2012 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book... but Rabbi Heschel is quite an intellectual. Even though it seems English is not his first language, I had to have a dictionary and a Bible open in order to follow his writings.

This book seems to be normally suggested as the second in a series with "Man is not Alone" as the first. I read this one first, and enjoyed it, although I can see why the other might be a better choice to read first.

This book has a lot of it specifically dealing with the Jewish religion. I am not Jewish,
...more
Drick
Sep 23, 2016 Drick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this 400 page tome, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel gives a philosophy of Judaism, explaining the deeper spiritual meaning of many Jewish practices and beliefs. His underlying them is that God is need of human beings and that all good acts are sacred deeds and that the bible is a treasure trove of wisdom not necessarily to be taken literally at all points but to be seen as a window into the divine.

I found many point of connection to my Christian faith and ways to deepen my practice. I came away
...more
Ron Tenney
Dec 22, 2012 Ron Tenney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
http://www.onbeing.org/program/spirit...

After hearing this podcast for the second time, I decided to buy this book. I previously bought his book on the Prophets.
So far, I am greatly enjoying this book. I can't read things like this without taking my time. He is a great writer and is expanding my vocabulary. He is allowing me to reflect on my on faith and beliefs. I always like that.


1/15/13 Troy stole my book. What I can say about this book so far is that the writing is colorful and very thougt-
...more
Shawn Brace
Feb 02, 2014 Shawn Brace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's probably worth 4.5 stars rather than 4. But alas . . . . not quite as good as "The Prophets," but still very awesome and inspiring. My one complaint with Heschel - and it's very minor - is that sometimes it's hard to detect a single train of thought woven throughout a book, keeping everything as a systematic whole. Oh, and also, with his works being so long, he seems to repeat himself rather frequently - both within a work, and within multiple works.

But I absolutely love this man and feel t
...more
Wm R Holzhueter
Feb 26, 2011 Wm R Holzhueter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that this is the best book concerning Jewish thought and philosophy that I have read. It might be about 100 pages longer than it needed to be, but that isn't to say that I didn't enjoy reading every page. I love the way that Heschel orders his ideas: working from a concern of philosophy - specifically metaphysics and ethics - and ties these questions and desires to the prophetic imagination and relevance to Torah; further on to halacha and agada and ends with Jewish Identity and Is ...more
Ciara Alley
Jul 23, 2014 Ciara Alley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, favorites
This volume, written by a Jewish rabbi and philosopher about the Jewish religion for Jewish people brought me the deepest and most beautiful understanding of who God is of anything I've ever read. It reads like a philosophy text, in that each chapter is a proof building upon the last to validate the thesis of a given section. But the ideas put forth are so replete with reverence, joy, and wonder that it feels like a love letter to Almighty God. This book is worth reading for anyone, religious or ...more
Erin B
This is easily one of my favorite books I have ever read. It took me nearly over half a year to read not because of difficulty but because I didn't want it to end. As a friend told me I would, I struggled with not underlining EVERYTHING. There was a slow bit in the introduction and a slow bit toward the end, but slow only because I am not as well-versed in philosophy as I should be to understand it all. This will easily go down as one of the most influential, meaningful, and powerful books I've ...more
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extensive reviews and essays on G-d in Search of Man 1 14 Feb 06, 2008 11:13PM  
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Heschel was a descendant of preeminent rabbinic families of Europe, both on his father's (Moshe Mordechai Heschel, who died of influenza in 1916) and mother's (Reizel Perlow Heschel) side, and a descendant of Rebbe Avrohom Yehoshua Heshl of Apt and other dynasties. He was the youngest of six children including his siblings: Sarah, Dvora Miriam, Esther Sima, Gittel, and Jacob. In his teens he recei ...more
More about Abraham Joshua Heschel...

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“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless.” 128 likes
“This is one of the goals of the Jewish way of living: to experience commonplace deeds as spiritual adventures, to feel the hidden love and wisdom in all things.” 10 likes
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