Judaism: A Way of Being

Judaism: A Way of Being
The “Look Inside” link won’t work, but this one will.

My commitment to liberty and my belief that we’re all different and as free citizens (as opposed to mere subjects) we make our own decisions usually keeps me from telling other people what they should do with their lives, but here and now I would like to tell you to get this book and read it. It is nothing short of great, and greatness is always scarce and much appreciated when it is found.

If you are already familiar with Yale computer science professor David Gelernter but were not yet aware of this book you’ve probably left this page by now and gone straight to Amazon to order it. But for anyone not acquainted with Professor Gerlernter you will find this Powerline post to be a wonderful introduction. And there’s this from the Weekly Standard:

“David has written a spectacular book. It’s at once short and deep; it’s a fun and easy read with many stop-let-me-think-about-that moments; it’s both scholarly and inspiring. David’s exploration of the role of images, or what he calls ‘image-themes,’ in Judaism is fascinating, and his explanation of how Judaism’s ‘multi-layered images’ reveal and explain ‘the unique beauty and truth of the Jewish worldview’ is extraordinary.

“Gelernter writes that his is a book primarily for Jews, and I’d think that will prove to be the case. But his account of ‘Judaism at full strength, straight up; no water, no soda, aged in oak for three thousand years’ will I suspect prove fascinating to many serious people of other faiths, especially Judaism’s little brother or cousin, Christianity. For David has written a book that, in its exploration of Judaism, tells us something-tells us a lot-about the human condition.”

You need not be Jewish to read this book, although Professor Gelernter says he wrote it mostly for Jews. That’s because he counsels Jews to give up their hostility to Christianity and Christians. He says, in a letter to the Powerlineblog:

My book argues in closing that Judaism must relax its traditional (and understandable) hostility towards Christianity: this prodigal son wants to return, and Judaism must forgive injuries and rise to the occasion–as Jews must, also, take their place as the senior nation of the Western world–and frankly acknowledge Judaism’s role (a mixed blessing) as the most important intellectual development in Western history.

But even if Gelernter wrote this book mainly for Jews I think it’s for anyone because it’s about Judaism in human civilization.

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