Heschel, Abraham Joshua

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Heschel, Abraham Joshua

Abraham Joshua Heschel (hĕsh´əl), 1907–72, American Jewish philosopher and theologian, b. Warsaw, Poland. He succeeded Martin Buber as director of the Central Organization for Jewish Adult Education in Frankfurt and then taught in Warsaw and London before going to the United States in 1940. He taught philosophy and rabbinics at the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, and in 1945 became professor of Jewish ethics and mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where he remained until his death. He developed an influential philosophy and theology that sought to renew the ability to grasp the reality of the relationship between God and humans, and of the holiness of life. He played a significant role in the civil-rights movement and in the Christian-Jewish dialogue. Heschel's major works are Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion (1951), God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (1955), The Prophets (1962), Who Is Man? (1965), Israel: An Echo of Eternity (1969), and A Passion for Truth (1973).

See M. Friedman, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Elie Wiesel (1987); D. J. Moore, The Human and the Holy: The Spirituality of Abraham Joshua Heschel (1989).

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