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The Limits of Orthodox Theology


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Table of Contents

Preface 1 Introduction 2 The Existence and Unity of God 3 The Incorporeality of God 4 Creation Ex Nihilo 5 Only God is to be Worshipped 6 Prophecy and the Significance of Moses 7 Revelation of the Torah 8 Eternity of the Torah 9 God's Knowledge, Reward and Punishment 10 The Messiah, Resurrection of the Dead Conclusion Appendix Bibliography Index

About the Author

Marc B. Shapiro holds the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Brandeis and Harvard universities, he is editing the collected writings of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, the first volume of which appeared in 1998, and the second in 2003.


'Inspiring and breath-taking ... highly recommended.'
- Yisrael Dubitsky, Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

'Marc Shapiro puts an explicit contemporary context on this remarkable collection of sources that disagreed with one part or other of Maimonides' Thirteen Principles ... By showing the extent to which past authors disagreed with those Principles, Shapiro seeks to debunk assertions by contemporary writers that place those Principles at the core of Orthodox belief ... the work is astonishing in its rage. Shapiro uses his daunting biographical abilities and his considerable skill as a writer to present his material-well-known and obscure-cogently and entertainingly. To the reader interested in the limits of the theological imagination of Jews, it is not likely to be soon rivalled.'
- Gidon Rothstein, AJS Review

'A courageous and meticulously research book that straddles two worlds-that of abstract scholarship and of practical religious vision ... The real tour de force of the book is the enormous amount of material he musters to make his case.'
- Bradley Shavit Artson, Conservative Judaism

'Combines remarkable erudition with clarity of vision.'
- Menachem Kellner, Edah Journal

'His research is exhaustive, almost encyclopedic, and it is highly convincing ... his aim is truly constructive and his tone is passionately concerned.'
- Erin Leib, Jerusalem Report

'This exhaustive yet readable study ... is astonishingly well researched ... a polemical work of considerable erudition, which will find a broad audience.'
- Harvey Belovski, Jewish Chronicle

'Ground-breaking ... As Shapiro so clearly demonstrates in this landmark work, the need is not only for theological discussions, but for theology.'
- Miriam Shaviv, Jewish Quarterly

'Shapiro's book is doubly remarkable: it is at the same time a commentary on Maimonides' Thirteen Principles, and a successful summary of the central themes of Jewish theology, offering deep insight into what the blurb calls traditional Jewish thought".'
- Stefan Schreiner, Judaica

'Articulate and thought-provoking ... This book is no less important on social than on scholarly grounds. Shapiro presents his stance with great passion, giving readers the sense that he is involved in a truth spreading mission. His passion appears to me justified and legitimate, since abstract theology is indeed an essential element in the shaping of current Orthodox society, particularly in Israel but also outside it. In sum: this book provides scholars with a justification for a view that most of them had already sensed and accepted and opens up to a broader intellectual public a path to understanding Jewish philosophy.'
- Dov Schwartz, Review of Rabbinic Judaism

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