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Antitheodicy, Atheodicy and Jewish Mysticism in Holocaust Theology


Atheodic Theologies After Auschwitz


The Holocaust has provoked many different Jewish theological responses, yet upon closer inspection interesting commonalities can be observed between even seemingly antithetical thinkers. One of these common trends within Holocaust theology has been the rejection and replacement of traditional theodicies which explain and justify suffering, with responses centred on ideas of recovery, consolation and divine mystery. Another widespread, though largely unrecognized trend is use of Jewish mystical themes by Holocaust theologians. This study shows how the presence of Jewish mysticism can be explained, at least in part, by this post-Holocaust collapse of theodicy.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0176-0
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Apr 20,2012
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 263
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0176-0
$181.28
$108.77

The Holocaust has provoked many different Jewish theological responses, yet upon closer inspection interesting commonalities can be observed between even seemingly antithetical thinkers. One of these common trends within Holocaust theology has been the rejection and replacement of traditional theodicies which explain and justify suffering, with responses centred on ideas of recovery, consolation and divine mystery. Another widespread, though largely unrecognized trend is use of Jewish mystical themes by Holocaust theologians. This study shows how the presence of Jewish mysticism can be explained, at least in part, by this post-Holocaust collapse of theodicy.

Beginning with a constructive critique of Zachary Braiterman’s analysis of Holocaust theology, this study argues that his concept of antitheodicy is in need of a tighter definition in order to avoid the charge that it is too broad for use. The concept of atheodicy is then introduced as a complementary concept, which along with antitheodicy can help in understanding the nature of Holocaust theology in greater depth and detail. Atheodicy is defined as a form of response to suffering which focuses on divine mystery, divine co-suffering and recovery. These modes are then identified in the responses of Kalonymous Shapira, Emil Fackenheim, Arthur Cohen and Melissa Raphael - therefore demonstrating the importance of atheodicy across the spectrum of Jewish Holocaust theology. Jewish mysticism is identified as an important resource for these theologians, and the two trends are then shown to be related in virtue of certain kabbalistic concepts lending themselves symbolically to the atheodic dimensions of these theologies.

The Holocaust has provoked many different Jewish theological responses, yet upon closer inspection interesting commonalities can be observed between even seemingly antithetical thinkers. One of these common trends within Holocaust theology has been the rejection and replacement of traditional theodicies which explain and justify suffering, with responses centred on ideas of recovery, consolation and divine mystery. Another widespread, though largely unrecognized trend is use of Jewish mystical themes by Holocaust theologians. This study shows how the presence of Jewish mysticism can be explained, at least in part, by this post-Holocaust collapse of theodicy.

Beginning with a constructive critique of Zachary Braiterman’s analysis of Holocaust theology, this study argues that his concept of antitheodicy is in need of a tighter definition in order to avoid the charge that it is too broad for use. The concept of atheodicy is then introduced as a complementary concept, which along with antitheodicy can help in understanding the nature of Holocaust theology in greater depth and detail. Atheodicy is defined as a form of response to suffering which focuses on divine mystery, divine co-suffering and recovery. These modes are then identified in the responses of Kalonymous Shapira, Emil Fackenheim, Arthur Cohen and Melissa Raphael - therefore demonstrating the importance of atheodicy across the spectrum of Jewish Holocaust theology. Jewish mysticism is identified as an important resource for these theologians, and the two trends are then shown to be related in virtue of certain kabbalistic concepts lending themselves symbolically to the atheodic dimensions of these theologies.

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Contributor Biography

Daniel Garner

Daniel Garner gained his PhD in Religions and Theology at The University of Manchester. He holds a BA Hons in Religious Studies and Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies, both from Lancaster University. His main research interests include Holocaust Theology and Jewish Mysticism.

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS (page 5)
  • PREFACE (page 9)
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (page 11)
  • INTRODUCTION (page 13)
  • CHAPTER 1:THEODICY, ANTITHEODICY ANDATHEODICY IN JEWISH THEOLOGY (page 27)
    • Jewish Theodicy (page 30)
    • Antitheodicy in Holocaust Theology (page 43)
    • The Place of Antitheodicy in Jewish Tradition (page 51)
    • The Place of Atheodicy in Jewish Tradition (page 56)
  • CHAPTER 2: JEWISH MYSTICISMAND HOLOCAUST THEOLOGY (page 67)
    • Jewish Mysticism as a Feature of Holocaust Theology (page 67)
    • Key Kabbalistic Ideas for the Studyof Holocaust Theology (page 75)
    • Ayn Sof (page 79)
    • Tsimtsum (page 81)
    • Sefirot (page 81)
    • Theurgy (page 83)
    • Shekhinah (page 86)
    • Tikkun (page 88)
    • Conclusion (page 90)
  • CHAPTER 3: KALONYMOUS SHAPIRA (page 91)
    • A„Shapiras Background and Thought (page 91)
    • Biography, Intellectual Context,and Main Concerns (page 91)
    • Methodological Considerations (page 93)
    • Shapiras Response (page 95)
    • B„Antitheodicy and Atheodicy in Shapiras Thought (page 98)
    • Antitheodicy (page 98)
    • Atheodicy (page 106)
    • C„Jewish Mysticism and its Relationship to Atheodicyin Shapiras Thought (page 117)
    • Sefirah Binah (page 117)
    • The Shekhinah (page 119)
    • Theurgy and Tikkun (page 121)
  • CHAPTER 4: EMIL FACKENHEIM (page 127)
    • A„Fackenheims Background and Thought (page 127)
    • Biography, Intellectual Context,and Main Concerns (page 127)
    • Methodological Considerations (page 131)
    • Fackenheims Response (page 131)
    • B„Antitheodicy and Atheodicyin Fackenheims Thought (page 140)
    • Antitheodicy (page 140)
    • Atheodicy (page 147)
    • C„Jewish Mysticism and its Relationship to Atheodicyin Fackenheims Thought (page 154)
    • Tikkun and Theurgy (page 155)
  • CHAPTER 5: ARTHUR COHEN (page 163)
    • A„Cohens Background and Thought (page 163)
    • Intellectual Context, and Main Concerns (page 163)
    • Methodological Considerations (page 166)
    • Cohens Response (page 167)
    • B„Antitheodicy and Atheodicy in Cohens Thought (page 176)
    • Antitheodicy (page 176)
    • Atheodicy (page 179)
    • C„Jewish Mysticism and its Relation to Atheodicyin Cohens Thought (page 186)
    • Ayn Sof (page 187)
    • Tsimtsum (page 188)
  • CHAPTER 6: MELISSA RAPHAEL (page 191)
    • A„Raphaels Background and Thought (page 191)
    • Intellectual Context and Main Concerns (page 191)
    • Methodological Considerations (page 196)
    • Raphaels Response (page 196)
    • B„Antitheodicy and Atheodicy in Raphaels Thought (page 202)
    • Antitheodicy (page 202)
    • Atheodicy (page 205)
    • C„Jewish Mysticism and its Relationship to Atheodicyin Raphaels Thought (page 211)
    • The Shekhinah and Tsimtsum (page 212)
    • Tikkun and Theurgy (page 216)
  • CONCLUSION (page 221)
    • A. Antitheodicy (page 221)
    • B. Atheodicy (page 226)
    • C. Jewish Mysticism (page 234)
    • D. Prospects for Atheodic Theology (page 245)
  • Bibliography (page 251)
    • Reference (page 251)
    • Books (page 251)
  • Index (page 259)