Approaching the Great Questions ...and tackling them with clarity and precision
Robert Leiter, Literary Editor
As he was writing Judaism: A Way of Being, David Gelernter printed portions of the work as several long essays in Commentary magazine. Reading each new installment, I remember thinking that the completed manuscript would surely be a distinctive piece of work. But little could I have known from these samples alone just how exceptional it would be, unlike anything that's been done since the likes of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mordecai Kaplan.
The work is not long. Even including its three appendices, it comes in at a little more than 200 pages. Still, it's as inclusive and evocative as works twice or three times its size. It will please those looking for a challenging introduction to the religion, and will challenge those who have read widely in the great books of Judaism.
Gelernter, who is perhaps best known as a professor of computer science at Yale University and the man who was severely injured by one of "the Unibomber's" lethal mailings, makes it clear at the start what Judaism is not: It's not a book about Jewish history, religious practices, teachings or doctrines, though all those things are discussed in the course of the work....more...
Truly a rave review for a book of Jewish philosophy from a brilliant scientist. Like most philosophy, this book explores how one Jew can approach one God - we could call this "monojudaism" -- a unitary philosophical construct that exists in a book. In this case the reviewer deems the work distinctive, as no doubt it is.