Soloveitchik’s Children: Irving Greenberg, David Hartman, Jonathan Sacks, and the Future of Jewish Theology in America (Jews and Judaism: History and Culture) (Hardcover)

Soloveitchik’s Children: Irving Greenberg, David Hartman, Jonathan Sacks, and the Future of Jewish Theology in America (Jews and Judaism:  History and Culture) By Daniel Ross Goodman Cover Image

Soloveitchik’s Children: Irving Greenberg, David Hartman, Jonathan Sacks, and the Future of Jewish Theology in America (Jews and Judaism: History and Culture) (Hardcover)

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A revealing account of the three main disciples of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, an essential figure in Orthodox Judaism in America

Orthodox Judaism is one of the fastest-growing religious communities in contemporary American life. Anyone who wishes to understand more about Judaism in America will need to consider the tenets and practices of Orthodox Judaism: who its adherents are, what they believe in, what motivates them, and to whom they turn for moral, intellectual, and spiritual guidance.

Among those spiritual leaders none looms larger than Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, heir to the legendary Talmudic dynasty of Brisk and a teacher and ordainer of thousands of rabbis during his time as a Talmud teacher at Yeshiva University from the Second World War until the 1980s. Soloveitchik was not only a Talmudic authority but a scholar of Western philosophy. While many books and articles have been written about Soloveitchik’s legacy and his influence on American Orthodoxy, few have looked carefully at his disciples in Torah and Talmud study, and even fewer at his disciples in Jewish thought and philosophy.

Soloveitchik’s Children: Irving Greenberg, David Hartman, Jonathan Sacks, and the Future of Jewish Theology in America is the first book to study closely three of Soloveitchik’s major disciples in Jewish thought and philosophy: Rabbis Irving (“Yitz”) Greenberg, David Hartman, and Jonathan Sacks. Daniel Ross Goodman narrates how each of these three major modern Jewish thinkers learned from and adapted Soloveitchik’s teachings in their own ways, even while advancing his philosophical and theological legacy.

The story of religious life and Judaism in contemporary America is incomplete without an understanding of how three of the most consequential Jewish thinkers of this generation adapted the teachings of one of the most consequential Jewish thinkers of the previous generation. Soloveitchik’s Children tells this gripping intellectual and religious story in a learned and engaging manner, shining a light on where Jewish religious thought in the United States currently stands—and where it may be heading in future generations.

Daniel Ross Goodman is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Wonder and Religion in American Cinema and A Single Life.
Product Details ISBN: 9780817321666
ISBN-10: 0817321667
Publisher: University Alabama Press
Publication Date: July 18th, 2023
Pages: 322
Language: English
Series: Jews and Judaism: History and Culture
“In his important study of the great twentieth-century Orthodox Jewish theologian Joseph Soloveitchik and his enduring legacy, Daniel Ross Goodman gives us profound and fascinating insights. His book is a highly original analysis of contemporary trends in Jewish thought.”
—Susannah Heschel, Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor, Dartmouth College

“In Soloveitchik’s Children, Goodman presents an incisive portrait of modern Orthodox Jewish thought as presented by its greatest exemplars of the past century—Joseph Soloveitchik, Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, David Hartman, and Jonathan Sacks. Goodman himself is obviously an ‘insider’ to this world of modern Orthodox Judaism and his philosophical-theological erudition as well as rabbinic knowledge permits him to identify both the major topics and concerns that occupy his subjects and to provide an appropriate intellectual framework for the analysis of these men. No other individual has written a comprehensive book-length manuscript on this school of thinkers as Goodman has. Goodman demonstrates a complete command of the writings of the four men that are featured in this work. His erudition in rabbinics and secular philosophy and theology as well as his encyclopedic knowledge of Soloveitchik, Hartman, Greenberg, and Sacks allows him to weave together an interesting narrative and insightful analysis of their thought on the numerous topics these men address in their writings. The book superbly provides a description of two generations of modern Orthodox Jewish thinkers who provide a foundation for future thinkers in this school of thought—and I suspect Goodman will be included in that number one day."
—David Ellenson, author of Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice: Studies in Tradition and Modernity

"No one else besides Goodman has provided this kind of group intellectual history of such an important set of Orthodox thinkers. Whether the reader is interested in contemporary Jewish thought or modern Orthodoxy, Soloveitchik's Children fills in so many of our current holes in understanding these globally renowned Jewish intellectuals and their relationships with each other. All the while, Goodman helps us think through issues of legitimacy and influence in modern Orthodoxy."
Rachel Gordan is the Samuel "Bud" Shorstein fellow in American Jewish Culture at the University of Florida
 

"An excellent starting point for understanding Soloveitchik's theological legacy among his most prominent students. This rich and accessible study inaugurates a new chapter in the intellectual history of Modern Orthodoxy across the globe."
Eliyahu Stern, Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History, Yale University              

"Soloveitchik's Children is a welcome addition to the growing library of scholarship about Jewish thought in North America.  Goodman's fascinating protagonists, examined individually and comparatively, prove worthy heirs not only in their fidelity to "the Rav" but. in their sometimes-significant departures from his convictions.  Orthodox response to the Holocaust and opinion on the legitimacy of interfaith dialogue receive especially thorough attention. Goodman shows himself throughout to be a faithful "grandchild" and worthy guide."
Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor, The Jewish Theological Seminary

"This important study illuminates the diverse and lasting legacy of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik who remains, thirty years after his death, the towering figure of American Jewish Orthodoxy. Soloveitchik is most often publicly claimed as a defender of the unchanging contours of Orthodoxy, but by focusing on his diverse reception in the theologies of Greenberg, Hartman, and Sacks, Daniel Ross Goodman shows that Soloveithcik’s traditionalism was as innovative as it was traditional.  Anyone interested in the possibilities and future of Jewish Orthodoxy in America will have much to learn from this stimulating book."
Leora F. Batnitzky, author of How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought

"Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik stands out as the major Orthodox Jewish thinker in the second half of the twentieth century. As with all great thinkers he inspired others, some who followed in his footsteps and others who would move in different directions. In Daniel Ross Goodman’s important new book, Soloveitchik’s Children, he explores the thought of three groundbreaking figures, Irving Greenberg, David Hartman, and Jonathan Sacks, all of whom were influenced by Soloveitchik but who also charted their own course. Anyone interested in modern Jewish thought, and in particular Orthodox thought, will benefit greatly from Goodman’s incisive analysis."
Marc B. Shaprio is Weinberg Chair in Judaic Studies, University of Scranton

"An audacious and learned book, Soloveitchik’s Children ranks among the very best studies of contemporary Anglo-American Orthodox Jewish theology, and debuts a scholar of unusual breadth and depth.  Anyone interested in the thought of Irving Greenberg, David Hartman and Jonathan Sacks, including their agreements and disagreements with one another, and also with the teacher they revered, Joseph Soloveitchik, should savor this volume – text and footnotes alike."
Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University