In this TRADITION classic from our archives: Prof. Gerald Blidstein z"l offered possible explanations for Hazal’s suppression of the Jewish Hellenizers in the Hanukka story. In a subsequent exchange of letters, a writer claimed to find several references to the Hellenizers in Hazal and locates a hint to them in Al ha-Nissim as well. Blidstein’s response challenges the identification of the "zedim and temeim" with Jewish Hellenizers, arguing that these terms refer to the Greeks. The exchange includes insightful ideas about reading texts correctly.
Responding to his interlocutors, Todd Berman defends the position he staked out in his recent TRADITION essay, maintaining that as far as the doctrine of Divine Pathos goes, Abraham J. Heschel offered an authentic reading of Jewish tradition—against the critique penned by Eliezer Berkovits in TRADITION in 1964.
Todd Berman’s recent TRADITION essay defending Abraham J. Heschel from a 1964 critique penned in our pages by Eliezer Berkovits has helped to revive a six-decade old debate, no less relevant (or controversial) to today’s Jewish thought than it was back then. David Curwin and Rafi Eis push back on some aspects of Berman’s reading of Berkovits. The author will be afforded the right of reply in a few days.
TRADITION’s most recent issue featured a lengthy essay by Todd Berman exploring a nearly 6-decade-old critique launched by R. Eliezer Berkovits on Dr. Abraham J. Heschel’s “Theology of Pathos.” In brief, the debate centered on Heschel’s contention that God experiences emotion after a fashion. Berkovits’ essay aroused debate among our editorial board, and Berman’s essay has evoked similar sharp differences of opinion among our readers. In advance of an exchange of letters between critics and the author, TRADITION’s editor has done a deep-dive of our archives to helped to resurface some interesting related content and context.