Cover image for Judaism : a religion of reason
Judaism : a religion of reason
Melber, Jehuda, 1915-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Hermann Cohen's philosophy of Judaism
Publication Information:
Middle Village, N.Y. : Jonathan David Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxx, 503 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Hermann Cohen's philosophy of Judaism. [New York] : J. David, [1968]. With new introd.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM755.C63 M4C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Hermann Cohen (1842-1918), the author of Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism, is the pivotal figure of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Jewish philosophy and theology. The Jewish thinkers influenced by him include Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Mordecai Kaplan, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Emmanuel Levinas. A thoroughgoing rationalist, Cohen was an opponent of mythology and mysticism, which he viewed as cheapening and corrupting religion. Cohen summoned Jews back to the truths of reason, the centrality of ethics, the primacy of humanity in theology, and the moral law as the essence of religious life and thought. What is essential to Cohen is the notion that God can be discovered by the processes of reason itself. It is not necessary to "believe" in God. God can be known through the exercise of reason and the pursuit of the ethical life. In this important study, Rabbi Jehuda Melber presents a comprehensive reformulation, analysis, and interpretation of Cohen's philosophy of Judaism for the contemporary reader. Book jacket.

Author Notes

Jehuda Melber, a native of Germany, was ordained at Poland's world-famous Hachmei Lublin yeshiva. He was awarded an M.A. in General Philosophy by Tufts University and a doctorate in Modern Jewish Philosophy by New York's Yeshiva University.
The late Rabbi Melber was a chaplain in the Haganah during Israel's War of Liberation and subsequently received the Ben Gurion Award for outstanding service. He chaired the Department of Culture of Mizrachi in Israel and later served as vice-president of the Religious Zionists of America in New England. He was rabbi of the Jewish Community in Havana, Cuba; of Young Israel and Congregation Kadimah, in Boston, Massachusetts; and of the Briarwood Jewish Center, in Long Island, New York
Jehuda Melber is the author of The Universality of Maimonides as well as of an elaborate translation of the talmudic tractate Hagigah. In addition, he contributed numerous articles to English and Hebrew periodicals
Emanuel S. Goldsmith is professor of Jewish Studies at Queens College of the City University of New York and rabbi of Congregation M'vakshe Derekh in Scarsdale, New York

Table of Contents

Emanuel S. Goldsmith
Forewordp. ix
Recent Publications on Hermann Cohenp. xxiii
Prefacep. xxv
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 Monotheismp. 94
Chapter 2 Creationp. 106
Chapter 3 The Infinity of Spacep. 114
Chapter 4 The Name of Godp. 120
Chapter 5 The Prohibition Against Representing God by Imagesp. 124
Chapter 6 Revelation on Mount Sinaip. 133
Chapter 7 The Concept of the Torahp. 141
Chapter 8 The Meaning of "Halakha le'Moshe Mi'Sinai"p. 153
Chapter 9 Sin--Against "Original Sin"p. 161
Chapter 10 The Social Value of the Sabbathp. 169
Chapter 11 The Historical Development of the Sabbathp. 180
Chapter 12 The Ethical Value of the Day of Atonementp. 193
Chapter 13 Love of a Friend: The Meaning of "Rea"p. 214
Chapter 14 Freedom of Willp. 235
Chapter 15 The Autonomy of the Individualp. 252
Chapter 16 Morality in Judaismp. 279
Chapter 17 Aestheticsp. 319
Chapter 18 Messianismp. 339
Chapter 19 Against Zionismp. 376
Chapter 20 Death, Immortality and Resurrectionp. 407
Epiloguep. 435
Notesp. 437
Bibliographyp. 469
Indexp. 477