Post-Holocaust Consciousness in Theology

A section from a paper I currently working on. It is still in the works, so keep in mind my thoughts are incomplete on this.

Kearney’s third chapter subtitle, “After Auschwitz who can say God?” gives us a more concrete vantage point from which to look at Kearney’s interest in the question of speaking of God. Jewish scholar and rabbi Eugene Borowitz observes that while Christianity wrestled with the philosophical pronouncement of the death of God in the 20th century, Judaism was not phased by this realization that “empiricist-oriented philosophers found it difficult to speak meaningfully about a nonempirical God.”[1] However, while Judaism seemed to avert the questions posed by the death of God philosophers and theologians, the Holocaust became the foremost challenge to Jewish thought. Emil Fackenheim saw the Holocaust as a veritable “radical rupture in history––and that among things ruptured may be not just this or that way of philosophical or theological thinking but thought itself.”[2] Fackenheim expands his theory of rupture by stating it is not merely a rupture of a particular religion or ethnicity, i.e. Judaism and the Jewish people, but of the very rupture of what it means to be human. Borowitz adds that the Holocaust “radically throws into doubt the Jewish people’s very Covenant with God and the way of life it authorizes––and by extension it also threatens the covenant between God and all humankind, the children of Noah.”[3]

Continue reading

Advertisements

Sidebar: The Idea of God in (Reform) Judaism

Kearney’s discussion of rabbinic commentaries’ explorations of Exodus 3.14 have prompted me to take a little dip into Jewish theology, for a very brief moment.

So I’m looking through a few of Eugene Borowitz’s lectures in Studies in the Meaning of Judaism. From my understanding, Borowitz is writing from the Reform Jewish tradition.

The Idea of God

Until modern times it is almost impossible to find a Jewish book whose major purpose it is to expound the idea of God. (34)

Continue reading