Publication Date

May 2012


The post-print of this article will be available in May 2014 in accordance with publisher policies.


While Abraham Joshua Heschel remains a celebrated figure in modern Judaism, one cannot help but notice beneath the veneer of approbation is a consistent lack of appreciation for his thought. In this essay, I argue that Heschel’s rigor and ingenuity has been largely overlooked because interpreters apply categories to his thought which are not only heterogeneous to it, but also whose foundation Heschel’s thought actively tries to subvert. Rather than elucidating a particular dimension of Heschel’s thought which I then critique—an endeavor I believe that scholars have been too eager to undertake—I attempt to clear away some of the ground of past Heschel scholarship which I believe has obscured his work more than elucidated it. In short, this piece is more exegetical than critical. Of course critical assessment is important, but before we can critique it is essential that we properly grasp our subject matter.


Jewish Studies | Religion