By Jack J. Cohen

Publications for an Age of misunderstanding compares and contrasts the perspectives of the 2 nice Jewish philosophers Avraham Y. Kook and Mordecai M. Kaplan. even supposing those thinkers stand at contrary ends of the spectrum of Jewish suggestion, they're united of their love for the Jewish humans and of their trust within the desire for Jewish cohesion. Following an advent to either males, the writer, a disciple of Kaplan's, explores their perspectives relating to the most very important matters confronting the Jewish buyers. those contain traditions reminiscent of Israel's chosenness; the prestige of the Halakhah, conventional Jewish legislations, in modern day society; prayer and its revitalization; repentance (Teshuvah) resulting in the go back to God; and the position of Eretz Yisrael within the lifetime of the Jewish humans. different subject matters lined are the assumption of and the quest for God, the location of ladies in Jewish society, and philosophies of schooling, besides an exploration of esthetics in Jewish lifestyles and the demanding situations of democracy. every one bankruptcy offers an outline of the topic after which discusses the divergent perspectives of the 2 thinkers, in addition to their components of contract. eventually, the e-book endeavors to painting the way forward for Jewish lifestyles as envisaged during the eyes of those nice males. within the author's view, a discussion needs to be confirmed among the fans of either Kook and Kaplan. purely during this manner can Jewish cohesion be maintained and the Jewish destiny secured. This e-book is an attempt to open that discussion.

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Extra info for Guides for an age of confusion: studies in the thinking of Avraham Y. Kook and Mordecai M. Kaplan

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Obviously, thinkers of the caliber of Kook and Kaplan do not grow or function in vacuums. They are stimulated and conditioned by their spiritual and intellectual antecedents. They, in turn, motivate disciples and arouse critics. After the death of inspiring thinkers, their message is often beclouded by the interpretations given to them by supporters and critics alike. Hence, to comprehend the full range and impact of the philosophies of Kook and Kaplan, we have to trace their intellectual heritage and correct the many errors made by their followers and detractors.

Kaplan created his system to include the whole spectrum of Jewry, from the many free-thinkers on his left, whom tradition would exclude from the word-to-come, to those who stand to the right of Kook. This global inclusiveness is an innovation of the pluralist approach, namely, that the right to Jewish identity and participation in Jewish affairs must not be denied any Jew because of divergence from traditional beliefs or practices. Kaplan does not proclaim that all ideas and forms of behavior are of equal worth, but he argues that the determination of what is or is not of value should be made through debate and public opinion.

Nevertheless, it is preferable to continue the debate rather than to curtail it artificially by coercing one side or the other into surrender without conviction. Such a resolution can lead only to bitterness and further unrest. Kook made an important contribution to reasoned debate when he wrote, "[T]he pure and righteous do not complain about wickedness; they add to the measure of righteousness. They do not cry out against heresy; they increase faith. " 14 Page 15 I repeat. I do not pretend to be a neutral observer.

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