Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lonely Man of Faith” as Want to Read:
The Lonely Man of Faith
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lonely Man of Faith

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  491 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the rabbi known as “The Rav” by his followers worldwide, was a leading authority on the meaning of Jewish law and prominent force in building bridges between traditional Orthodox Judaism and the modern world. In The Lonely Man of Faith, a soaring, eloquent essay first published in Tradition magazine in 1965, Soloveitchik investigates the essential l ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Image (first published 1992)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lonely Man of Faith, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Lonely Man of Faith

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 10, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This profound, challenging theological argument is going to stay with me for a while. At some point in the past humanity didn't keep records, created no "creature comforts" in the way that we enjoy them today; agriculture, medicine, and warfare existed only in its primitive forms; all in all we appear to have had very little self-consciousness as a species. Then everything changed: we became aware of some larger purpose on this earth. We started organizing ourselves better for the greater good o ...more
Dec 11, 2014 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short but dense book was, I'm not afraid to admit, way over my head. There were fleeting moments that provided complete clarity for me but mostly I felt like I was just reading sentences that I couldn't connect together in my head. Had I chosen to study the book I'm sure I would have been able to get at some of the meat but in my cursory reading I'm not sure I took anything the author intended. However, upon stepping back, I realized (I think) that I'd read a fascinating meditation on what ...more
Robin Friedman
Jun 17, 2014 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
First published in 1965 in the Orthodox Jewish Journal, "Tradition", Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's essay, "The Lonely Man of Faith" has become a much-studied exploration of the nature of religious life. Soloveitchick (1903 -- 1993) is widely regarded as the intellectual leader of Jewish Orthodoxy in the United States. He was born into a family of rabbis and in 1931 received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Berlin. In 1932, he moved to Boston where he lived for the remainder of his life ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Martin rated it really liked it
This is my first ever reading experience with the Rav, which is actually surprising to me. Nonetheless, the experience was enriching. While I don't necessarily agree with a fine heap of his finer points, the educated clarity is refreshing. I always say that books should make me reach for a dictionary. This one certainly did, especially for fascinating latin phrases.

The book opens with an eloquent d'var torah, which serves as the basis for the entire book's message, which is: we must be engaged i
May 03, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw a TED talk by David Brooks on living for your resume or your eulogy, and he mentioned this work by Soloveitchik. This is a pretty good essay on the difference between two sides of us: Adam 1 and Adam 2. Adam 1 is described in Genesis 1:
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them. And God blessed them and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, ove
Ben McFarland
Oct 08, 2013 Ben McFarland rated it liked it
Oh me of little faith ... I was mildly embarrassed to be checking this book out (never mind that I had no idea who the person at the desk even was!) because it was kind of like saying "I'm lonely." When in a way that's exactly what the author, Joseph Soloveitchik, intended. He writes about the two different creation stories in Genesis, how they describe the creation of two different Adams: the first Adam and the second Adam, both of which are contained in each of us. Deftly moving from the Scrip ...more
David Goldman
Sep 17, 2016 David Goldman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This profound, slender volume deals with a core conflict of modern life - between an active live based on material success vs. an internal contemplative life. Solivechick puts this in religious terms (as the name implies) but most of the concepts will apply to anyone.
- The two different stories in Genesis about Adam display two archetypes. Adam one - the utilitarian, social, material person motived by success and fame. The second Adam is the “lonely” Adam is focused on his relationship to the di
Jan 09, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Rabbi Soloveitchik's The Lonely Man of Faith is awe-inspiring and inspirational. I don't believe that Soloveitchik intended it as inspiration - he frames his essay as a discussion of a feeling that he himself has, and that he believes others may have as well: the loneliness experienced as a person engaged in a covenantal lifestyle rather than a utilitarian one.

He lays out the difference between a covenantal approach to God and a religious one - that is to say that the former is ineffable while t
Daphna Heisler
Apr 29, 2010 Daphna Heisler rated it it was ok
I think Soloveitchik's introduction is incredibly strong. I also really appreciated his interpretation as to why the Old Testament has two different stories of creation. However, half-way in, the book lost me and I felt like I was reading for completion's sake.

To Soloveitchik's credit, the following has become one of my all-time favorite book quotes: "All I want is to follow the advice given by Elihu the son of Berachel of old, who said, 'I will speak that I may find relief;' for there is a rede
Camilla Sofia
Feb 18, 2014 Camilla Sofia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
when i read this book, i was blown away by Soloveitchik's insight into the nature of man and woman and our relationship to God. his concept of Adam One and Adam Two was profound and made clear many of my own frustrations and confusions regarding my faith. a must-read for anyone struggling with faith, with God, with loneliness.
Kressel Housman
I should probably re-read this. I barely remember anything about it, other than I found the style dry at the time.
Feb 27, 2007 M rated it really liked it
Very powerful and thought provoking.
Dec 18, 2016 Tim rated it it was amazing
I became interested in Soloveitchik's concept of Adam I and Adam II when it was used as a major theme in David Brooks' The Road to Character (my favorite book of the past few years). I've found the theory invaluable and even life-changing: a concrete Adam I (Brooks' man of "resumé virtues") and Adam II (Brooks' man of "eulogy virtues", and Soloveitchik's lonely man of faith) have been essential in helping me bring into focus my own internal duality and struggle, and allowed me to define how I ho ...more
Simcha Wood
Aug 15, 2011 Simcha Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost 50 years after its appearance in the Summer 1965 issue of Tradition, Rabbi Soloveitchik's The Lonely Man of Faith remains a timely meditation on the dueling natures of man as agent of dominance, driven to knowledge and mastery of the world, and man as subservient and surrendering to the covenantal relationship with G-d (a concept which dovetails nicely with Rabbi Eliezer Berkovitz's thoughts on the distinction between what he calls faith history and power history, the implications of whic ...more
Jan 09, 2010 Jsavett1 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for serious students of Judaism. In fact, it is in many circles.

I've read Soloveichik's Halachic Man which I actually liked a bit more, but this is an amazing essay. The Rav begins with a textual conundrum which many notice, few inquire after. For many modern Jews, the mystery of the two stories of Adam's creation found in Genesis is solved by the Critical Theory to Biblical Scholarship: there are two stories because they're written by different authors.

The Rav no
Adam Jacobson
Feb 21, 2012 Adam Jacobson rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, judaism
I'm curious what a mainline Christian interested in theology would think of this book. As I write my review, prompted as Goodreads recommended this for me, I realize that my reactions to the book seem to be more a reflection of my own religious journey that the worth of the book itself or of its argument.

That said, when I first read this 20+ years ago in my newly religious stage, I thought it quite impressive and would have probably given it five stars. At the time I was in a nominally "modern"
Mike Garner
Oct 19, 2012 Mike Garner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-studies
The Jewish Rabbis bring to the Old Testament readings that have a long history and often surprise a person like me trained in hermeneutics by the Christian church. Long ago I realized that 'the teaching' is always determinate for measuring the value of a scriptural theological reading. The teaching of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik is in my estimation wonderfully adaptive to life and rooted in interpretive practices that precede my own interpretive readings of the two creation accounts. The Rabbis' u ...more
Oron Propp
Jul 22, 2014 Oron Propp rated it it was amazing
Though a somewhat harsh characterization of the believer's existential status, Soloveitchik here aptly delineates the tensions (both internal and external) inherent in the (specifically contemporary) "man of faith." A timeless and almost universally applicable read, exigent and evocative both intellectually and emotionally, and utterly consummate exegetically (although at times slightly abstruse in its vocabulary and nomenclature—but delightfully so). Guaranteed to provoke extensive religious ru ...more
Joshua Lister
Mar 30, 2016 Joshua Lister rated it it was ok
I struggled with exactly how to rate this book. Joseph Soloveitchik has brilliant insight into a person's inner conflict and he expresses his thoughts beautifully. Some of his thoughts also seem dangerously introspective and he offers very little solutions to how a man of faith can fulfill what God requires of him.
His arguments are predicated on two Adams that serve as types for different human experiences and he derives these two types of man from Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Sadly he dwells on th
David A-S
Jan 15, 2016 David A-S rated it really liked it
The Lonely Man of Faith is one of the spiritual classics of the 20th century in my mind. In this piece, he uses the two creation stories and specifically the Adam narrative to consider life in modernity. He contrasts an ambitious, technical Adam the first with a existential, spiritual Adam the second. Then brings the essay home by imagining them in a complementary frame. Soloveitchik shows an understanding of his particular era in the western world and why faith is timeless for individuals and c ...more
Jonah Kruvant
Dec 29, 2013 Jonah Kruvant rated it really liked it
One of the most difficult reads I've had in a long time. Dense, high vocabulary, and abstract concepts make this a tough one to get through. The concept of Adam I and Adam II, however, is brilliant, and Soloveitchik is one of the essential Jewish philosophers and writers of our time. Think the Rabbi Akivah of the 20th century. In addition, the last fifteen pages hit the key points in an accessible fashion and are genius.
Sara Cat
Apr 22, 2011 Sara Cat rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
Had some excellent points, I think I might have wanted to start with a different work by him. I will upload some of the quotes later. Essentially, well written, and again challenges the idea that faith should ever be comfortable, and that when the point is to "make people happier" - it's consumerism, not faith.
Jul 31, 2014 Mindy rated it really liked it
Great preparation for the High Holidays, and a provocative challenge to one's life. Probably not an "easy read" if one is not familiar with some philosophical/theological concepts he uses, but nevertheless valuable.
Oct 19, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it
This brief volume outlines a interesting take on "the two Adams" in the two creation stories. I won't take the time to outline Rabi Soltoveitchik's novel and thoughtful approach. It was, however, an thought provoking read.
Andrew Pessin
Apr 04, 2014 Andrew Pessin rated it it was amazing
Just revisited this quite amazing book.
Feb 27, 2007 rachel rated it liked it
i have to admit, i really liked the introduction but didn't really get much of the rest of the book. and i even took a class in it.....
Ellie Steinman
Mar 20, 2007 Ellie Steinman rated it liked it
What about Eve?
Oct 30, 2009 Isaac rated it it was amazing
book threw my brain for a loop.
Jeremy Tibbetts
Mar 26, 2013 Jeremy Tibbetts rated it liked it
Interesting read. Don't necessarily agree with his conclusions but very well written and brings up interesting points
Sasha Sapp
Feb 04, 2014 Sasha Sapp rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this very much. The perspective and position of the man of faith in today's society an interesting one.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Flower of God 1 4 Sep 18, 2015 10:18AM  
  • Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion
  • The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations
  • The Beginning of Desire
  • The Guide for the Perplexed
  • The Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel
  • As a Driven Leaf
  • Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
  • Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide
  • Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History
  • The Thirteen Petalled Rose: A Discourse on the Essence of Jewish Existence and Belief
  • This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation
  • Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism
  • The Complete Artscroll Siddur (Artscroll Mesorah)
  • The Jew in the Lotus
Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik (1903-1993)

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was born into a family already known for its great Torah learning. His grandfather and father, emphasized a thorough analysis of Talmud, and it is in this way that Rav Soloveitchik studied and taught his own students. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Berlin, and then settled in Boston in the early 1930’s. He became
More about Joseph B. Soloveitchik...

Share This Book

“I will speak that I may find relief”; for there is a redemptive quality for an agitated mind in the spoken word, and a tormented soul finds peace in confessing.” 4 likes
More quotes…