Jewish Existentialists: Buber, Heschel, Rosenzweig and Soloveitchik

Course Dates: 
Sept. 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8, 2011
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Ron Manheimer
Course Catalogs: 
2011 Fall

Explore the impact of nineteenth century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s religious existentialism on the modernizing movement within early twentieth century European Judaism. Discover the historical, philosophical and theological influence of existentialism on renowned Jewish thinkers Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Abraham Heschel as their writings throw light on contemporary issues in Jewish theology, Israeli politics, responses to the Holocaust, the mystery of the divine, and the nature of faith. This course is relevant to interfaith dialogue concerning faith, love, identity, authority, mortality and mysticism. The course will include lectures, reading assignments and discussion. Students may be asked to keep a journal of their responses to all three elements, with optional sharing in class. Recommended texts: Between Man and Man, Martin Buber, ISBN:0-415-27825-9. Cost: $4.76 (used). Franz Rosenzweig: His Life and Thought , Nahum Glatzer, ISBN:0- 87220-428-6. Cost: $9.50 (used). A Passion for Truth, Abraham Joshua Heschel, ISBN:10-9781879045415. Cost: $6.00 (used). “Confrontation,” Soloveitchik, on line free at soloveitchik/index.html#2

Ron Manheimer (, who holds a PhD in philosophy from UC Santa Cruz, is the author of several books on philosophy including Kierkegaard As Educator and A Map to the End of Time (works that have been translated into Korean and Chinese). He is currently writing a book on philosophers’ autobiographies. He is the founding director of the NC Center for Creative Retirement.