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The Genius of Judaism
by Bernard Henri Levy and Steven B. Kennedy


Overview - From world-renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy comes an incisive and provocative look at the heart of Judaism.

"A smart, revealing, and essential book for our times."-- The Washington Post

For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri Levy has been a singular figure on the world stage--one of the great moral voices of our time.  Read more...


 
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More About The Genius of Judaism by Bernard Henri Levy; Steven B. Kennedy
 
 
 
Overview
From world-renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy comes an incisive and provocative look at the heart of Judaism.

"A smart, revealing, and essential book for our times."--The Washington Post

For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri Levy has been a singular figure on the world stage--one of the great moral voices of our time. Now Europe's foremost philosopher and activist confronts his spiritual roots and the religion that has always inspired and shaped him--but that he has never fully reckoned with.

The Genius of Judaism is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we're used to. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict, rather than biblical commandments, borne out in struggle and study, not in blind observance. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as Levy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing "lost causes," from Bosnia to Africa's forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga's desperate fight against the Islamic State, a battle raging as we speak. Levy offers a fresh, surprising critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel from the left. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a "chosen people," Levy explains, but a "treasure" whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today.

Levy's most passionate book, and in many ways his most personal, The Genius of Judaism is a great, profound, and hypnotic intellectual reckoning--indeed a call to arms--by one of the keenest and most insightful writers in the world.

Praise for The Genius of Judaism

"In The Genius of Judaism, Levy elaborates on his credo by rebutting the pernicious and false logic behind current anti-Semitism and defends Israel as the world's most successful multi-ethnic democracy created from scratch. Levy also makes the case for France's Jews being integral to the establishment of the French nation, the French language, and French literature. And last, but certainly not least, he presents a striking interpretation of the Book of Jonah. . . . A tour de force."--Forbes

"Ardent . . . Levy's message is essentially uplifting: that the brilliant scholars of Judaism, the authors of the Talmud, provide elucidation into 'the great questions that have stirred humanity since the dawn of time.' . . . A philosophical celebration of Judaism."--Kirkus Reviews

"Levy (Left in Dark Times), a prominent French journalist and politically engaged philosopher, turns his observations inward here, pondering the teachings of Judaism and the role they have played in contemporary European history as well as in his own life and intellectual inquiry. . . . Levy's] musings on the meaning of the story of Jonah and the relevance of symbolic Ninevahs in our time are both original and poetic. . . . A welcome addition to his oeuvre."--Publishers Weekly

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780812992724
  • ISBN-10: 0812992725
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: January 2017
  • Page Count: 256
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Religion > Judaism - General
Books > Philosophy > Religious
Books > Social Science > Jewish Studies

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-11-14
  • Reviewer: Staff

Lévy (Left in Dark Times), a prominent French journalist and politically engaged philosopher, turns his observations inward here, pondering the teachings of Judaism and the role they have played in contemporary European history as well as in his own life and intellectual inquiry. Lévy produces some gems of fine prose and incisive thinkinghis musings on the meaning of the story of Jonah and the relevance of symbolic Ninevahs in our time are both original and poeticbut the books tone is uneven, shifting too frequently between French history, from Charlemagne to Proust, and his own history, citing his own contemporaries with whom a reader may be less familiar. An overall weakness, in fact, is the absence of context; for a reader without prior exposure to Lévys work, much of the prose reads as unshared allusions and strong assertions without evidence, which distract from his main argument around the importance of Jewish thought and reducing anti-Semitism. For those already interested in Lévys work, however, this will be a welcome addition to his oeuvre, especially his personal reflections and opinions on present-day politics. (Jan.)

 
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