Academic journal article Shofar

Studies in Modern Theology and Prayer, by Jakob J. Petuchowski

Academic journal article Shofar

Studies in Modern Theology and Prayer, by Jakob J. Petuchowski

Article excerpt

Studies in Modern Theology and Prayer, by Jakob J. Petuchowski

This is the fourth in the Jewish Publication Society's "Scholar of Distinction" series (following similar anthologies of the scholarly writings of Gerson D. Cohen, Moshe Greenberg, and Judah Goldin). It includes 21 papers by this rabbi-scholar, who served on the Faculty of the Hebrew Union College from 1956 to his death in 1991, and who played a decisive role in shaping American Reform ideology and practice in the second half of our century.

It is appropriate, in this context, to begin by expressing our gratitude to the Jewish Publication Society for the series as a whole. These collections, under one cover, of the scholarly output of our most notable teachers, until now scattered in various publications, are a gift to us all.

The papers in this volume are divided into five broad categories: "Biblical and Rabbinic Thought," "On the Frontiers of Theology," "Confrontation with Modernity," "Liturgy and Reform," and "History of Reform Judaism." An introductory essay by Professor David Ellenson traces Petuchowski's biography from the enlightened German Orthodoxy of his early years -- he was born in Berlin in 1925 -- through his gradual shift to a more "liberal" (his word) reading of Jewish belief and practice in England after the outbreak of the War, to his mature years as a leading spokesperson for the more traditionalist wing of contemporary Reform. The volume concludes with a comprehensive bibliography of Petuchowski's writing, two indices of biblical and rabbinic passages cited, and a generous index of authors and topics.

Taken as a whole, these papers reveal an inherent, albeit familiar, tension between Petuchowski's "liberal" theology and his ardent advocacy of a more conservative (with a lower-case "c") approach to halakhic development for contemporary Reform. …

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