“Through Heschel, Held’s work reaches out more broadly to treat us to a profound discussion of the great issues in contemporary Jewish theology” (Arthur Green, Hebrew College Rabbinical School).
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) was a prolific scholar, impassioned theologian, and prominent activist who participated in the black civil rights movement and the campaign against the Vietnam War. He has been hailed as a hero, honored as a visionary, and endlessly quoted as a devotional writer. In this sympathetic, yet critical, examination, Shai Held elicits the overarching themes and unity of Heschel’s incisive and insightful thought. Focusing on the idea of transcendence—or the movement from self-centeredness to God-centeredness—Held puts Heschel into dialogue with contemporary Jewish thinkers, Christian theologians, devotional writers, and philosophers of religion.
“Shai Held’s book is a master class in one of the most significant Jewish voices of our time.” —Tablet
“In this lucid and elegant study, one of the keenest minds in Jewish theology in our time probes the vision of one of the most profound spiritual writers of the twentieth century, uncovering a unity that others have missed and shedding light not only on Heschel but also on the characteristically modern habits of mind that impede the knowledge of God. The book is especially valuable for the connections it draws with other philosophers, theologians, and spiritual writers, Jewish and Christian. Enthusiastically recommended!” —Jon D. Levenson, Harvard University
“[A] thoughtful, illuminating new study of Heschel’s thought . . . It is one of the many virtues of Shai Held’s book that it helps us to place Heschel alongside not only Kaplan but Halevi, Horovitz, and Rav Nahman―as well as the Psalmist.” —Jewish Review of Books