Abraham Joshua Heschel Joseph Soloveitchik (Modern Crypto-Aesthetics)


I am sure I have never seen the actual resemblance between Heschel and Soloveitchik, but there it is in The Earth is the Lord’s.  It’s the priority placed by Heschel on the form-pattern before empirical reality. In both cases, there is a distinct, even complete unmooring of consciousness and thought from the plane of a surface reality.  Except in Heschel’s case, the effect is softer than is the case with Soloveitchik in Halakhic  Man. Does this have to do with what? A common root in the East European tradition? A proclivity towards a deep inner and autonomous world? More likely, it has as much to do with modernism, with the passage from Germany to  America, with the modernism that inflects the thought of both thinkers. Both of them were aesthetes –no  matter what they had to say about the matter.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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2 Responses to Abraham Joshua Heschel Joseph Soloveitchik (Modern Crypto-Aesthetics)

  1. Mel Scult says:

    Very important perspective Zach. I always think of Kaplan as representing the Americanization of Judaism and its democratization. Reminding us of ” The EArth is the lord’s” indicates the predominance of Heschel’s East European roots. This work coming as it did soon after the war represents our grief over the loss of East European Jewry. Heschel still appeals to our nostalgia for that past. Nostalgia is much easier than searching for what will work [ the pragmatic ] in an open democratic society.

    Mel Scult

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