Highlighting well-known Jewish thinkers from a very wide spectrum of opinion, the author addresses a range of issues, including: What makes a thinker Jewish? What makes modern Jewish thought modern? How have secular Jews integrated Jewish traditional thought with agnosticism? What do Orthodox thinkers have to teach non-Orthodox Jews and vice versa? Each chapter includes a short, judiciously chosen selection from the given author, along with questions to guide the reader through the material. Short biographical essays at the end of each chapter offer the reader recommendations for further readings and provide the low-down on which books are worth the reader's while. Introduction to Modern Jewish Thinkers represents a decade of the author's experience teaching students ranging from undergraduate age to their seventies. This is an ideal textbook for undergraduate classes.
Alan Levenson — Dr. Alan Levenson teaches Jewish history and thought at Siegal College.
Every thinking Jew today is heir to Spinoza and Herzl, Buber and Rosenzweig, Kaplan and Heschel. Levenson has written an essential sourcebook for understanding the modern thinkers behind the various strands of Jewish life. Adult learners and university students alike will benefit from Levenson's artful blend of intellectual rigor and probing questions about the meaning of these thinkers for our own time.
— Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B'nai Torah, Past President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Alan Levenson's anthology is the best textbook on modern Jewish thinkers available for college courses and adult Jewish learning today. He offers biographical background, historical context, a description of the author's significance and contribution, focused passages in translation, study questions, and suggestions for further reading. This book is at the top of my list for anyone who wishes to go back to the modern Jewish sources themselves.
— David S. Ariel, Siegal College of Judaic Studies, Cleveland
Alan Levenson's…book is clear, concise, and easy to use. Levenson writes an excellent introductory essay on each thinker and his analysis of their philosophy is thoughtful.
— Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, Congregation Beth Shalom
The book is an excellent sourcebook for understanding the modern thinkers behind the various strands of Jewish life, and is an artful blend of intellectual rigor and probing questions about the meaning of these thinkers for our own time. This anthology is an excellent book for college courses and adult Jewish learning. Prof. Levenson offers biographical background, historical context, a description of the author's significance and contribution, focused passages in translation, study questions, and suggestions for further reading.
— Dov Peretz Elkins; Jewish Media Review
...a concise, accurate pen portrait of the thinker under scrutiny is followed by a description of his overall intellectual contribution....By the end of the book, the student will have a sound grounding in the major trends of Jewish thought over the last 350 years.
— Spring 2008; Journal Of Jewish Studies
Alan Levenson provides a superb introduction to the many varieties of Jewish self-understanding in the modern world. His presentation is remarkably clear and fascinating.