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Good and Evil in Jewish Thought by Shalom…

Good and Evil in Jewish Thought

by Shalom Rosenberg

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$20 (1) 24 (1) 1801 (1) C2 (1) chavurah (1) Jewish Philosophy (2) Jud/Trad Jud (1) Judaica (1) Shelf 4 (1) Studio2 (1)



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“Good and Evil in Jewish Thought” (“טוב ורע בהגות היהודית”) is the only “heavy” book I read this month. It’s not heavy in the literal sense; this is a small volume, part of the “Broadcast University” series from Galey Tsahal (the IDF radio station). It is basically a collection of short essays by Shalom Rosenberg, professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, originally broadcast as 25-minute lectures on air.

The title of the book might be a little misleading. The essays cover the issue of good and evil mainly from the perspective of two main schools of thought: medieval Jewish philosophy and Kabbalistic writings. There is also a chapter about the Halachic approach to the problem and another on the implications of the Holocaust, but Rosenberg’s forte, as in other books, is in the former two areas. He covers well the approach of Rambam and his contemporaries, and then delves (perhaps in too much detail for a popular book) into the esoteric Kabbala approach. He also attempts to give a wider context of the theodicy problem by saying a few words about contemporary philosophers, such as Buber and Rosenzweig, but not convincingly enough in my opinion.

Perhaps it’s the subject matter, but it seems that the format of short essays is not well suited for such complex philosophical discussions. I was left feeling the book only skimmed the issues without giving proper explanations to any of the ideas discussed. ( )
  ashergabbay | Oct 4, 2012 |
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