In this article the author addresses the issues that Franz Rosenzweig raises in his Büchlein as they affect the former’s own very personal manifestation of Judaism. The article therefore covers not only the contents of the “little book”, but aims more generally to say something about aspects of Rosenzweig’s thought that the author finds problematic. The article begins by looking at three notions that are often used in connection with the sorts of issues Rosenzweig raises (atheism, religion, and spirituality), goes on to stress the importance of Rosenzweig’s “religious existentialism”, and endsby keeping its distance from some of Rosenzweig’s central claims, with an eye to both reconciling the author’s religiosity with a plausible naturalism and salvaging a suitable space for philosophical speculation about God.
In this article I will discuss Rosenzweig’s Büchlein,1 but I do not want to simply interpret the “little book”—that I did in chapter one of my Jewish Philosophy as a Guide to Life.2 I want to address the issues that Rosenzweig raises as they affect my own very personal manifestation of Judaism. So my article will range more widely than just the contents of the “little book”, and also say more about aspects of Rosenzweig’s thought that I find problematic. To do that, I will begin by looking at three notions that are often used in connection with the sorts of issues Rosenzweig raises: atheism, religion, and spirituality.
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