The Many Faces of God: A Read­er of Mod­ern Jew­ish Theologies

Rifat Son­si­no
  • Review
By – August 20, 2012
Son­si­no, Rab­bi Emer­i­tus of Tem­ple Beth Shalom in Need­ham, MA and a teacher at Boston Col­lege, has assem­bled an inter­est­ing col­lec­tion of writ­ings from var­i­ous Jew­ish the­olo­gians and philoso­phers focused on their con­cep­tu­al­iza­tions of G‑d. Pre­ced­ing each selec­tion is a brief intro­duc­tion writ­ten by Son­si­no, includ­ing a bio­graph­i­cal sketch of the author and a syn­op­sis of his/​her major con­cepts. The 15 chap­ters include selec­tions from the writ­ings of many with whom I sus­pect the well-read Jew­ish read­er will be famil­iar as well as from some less­er-known authors. I found the chap­ters on Abra­ham J. Hes­chel, Emil Fack­en­heim, Eugene Borowitz, Richard Levy and Mar­garet Moers Wenig to be par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing. Son­si­no address­es in his intro­duc­tion the dif­fi­cul­ties inher­ent in the selec­tion process of rep­re­sen­ta­tive authors. From a reli­gio-polit­i­cal stand­point, how­ev­er, the com­plete absence of Ortho­dox thinkers appears to be point­ed and delib­er­ate. The pos­si­bil­i­ties from that world could have includ­ed Joseph B. Soloveitchik, David Hart­man, Irv­ing Green­berg and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the has­sidic world. From an intel­lec­tu­al stand­point, fail­ing to include sev­er­al Ortho­dox thinkers results in this small, user-friend­ly vol­ume per­haps over­stat­ing its breadth in its title; per­haps Some of the Many Faces of God would be more accu­rate. Biblio.
William Liss-Levin­son is vice pres­i­dent, chief strat­e­gy & oper­a­tions offi­cer of Cas­tle Con­nol­ly Med­ical Ltd., a con­sumer health research, infor­ma­tion, and pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny. He holds a Ph.D. in edu­ca­tion and is a mem­ber of the board of direc­tors of the Jew­ish Book Council.

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