Who is Man?

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Stanford University Press, 1965 - Philosophy - 119 pages
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One of the world s most illustrious and influential theologians here confronts one of the crucial philosophical and religious questions of our time: the nature and role of man. In these three lectures, originally delivered in somewhat different form as The Raymond Fred West Memorial Lectures at Stanford University in May 1963, Dr. Heschel inquires into the logic of being human: What is meant by being human? What are the grounds on which to justify a human being s claim to being human?

In the author s words, We have never been as openmouthed and inquisitive, never as astonished and embarrassed at our ignorance about man. We know what he makes, but we do not konw wha he is or what to expect of him. Is it not conceivable that our entire civilization is built upon a minsinterpretation of man? Or that the tragedy of man is due to the fact that he is a being who has forgotten the question: Who is Man? The failure to identify himself, to know what is authentic human existence, leads him to assume a false identity, to pretending to be what he is unable to be or to not accepting what is at the very root of his being. Ignorance about man is not lack of knowledge, but false knowledge.

 

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It is impossible to describe how great this book i in my view. It should be the foundation text for all professional training.
It is a travesty that it is all but ignored by the Jewish community and even worse it is not honoured for its exquisite wisdom and beauty by the wider community.

Contents

To thinly of man in human terms
1
Some definitions of man
18
Preciousncss
33
Manipulation and appreciation
81
How to live
94
TAf precariousness of being human
100
am commandedtherefore lam
111
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About the author (1965)

Heschel received his doctorate at the Hochschule fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin but was deported to Poland by the Nazis in 1938. He went to London in 1940 and after the war accepted a professorship in ethics and mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Heschel articulated a depth theology, arguing that the divine-human encounter takes place at a deeper level than is attainable by the rational mind. Reaching out to skeptical Jews and seeking to make Judaism accessible and meaningful in the modern world, Heschel stressed the interdependence of God and humanity, and maintained that God recognizes and supports ethical human action and that humans express their faith through their actions. Heschel lived according to his word and played an active role in social change, including the civil rights movement.