Theodicy and antitheodicy : tradition and change in post-Holocaust Jewish theology / Zachary Braiterman.
My thesis--Theodicy and Anti-Theodicy: Tradition and Change in Post-Holocaust Jewish Theology--examines the collapse of theodicy by critically engaging the writings of Richard Rubenstein, Eliezer Berkovits, and Emil Fackenheim. These three Jewish theologians testify to how modern religious sensibilities irrevocably shift after Auschwitz. They illustrate in unique (even exaggerated) form how contemporary Jewish thinkers strategically reinvent theological and literary traditions in response to historical change. My research indicates that modern scholarship on religion needs to be radically rethought under the impact of non-Protestant religious cultures. I have found (based on readings of biblical, rabbinic and post-Holocaust Jewish texts) that religious life and thought are neither as theocentric nor as exercised by theodicy as western scholars have heretofore assumed. The methodological focus of my research is two-fold, both theological and literary. Theologically, I examine how Rubenstein, Berkovits, and Fackenheim displace theodicies found in rabbinic and modern philosophical strands of Jewish tradition. Instead, they engage a mode of discourse that I call anti-theodicy--by which I mean religious responses to catastrophic suffering that do not justify, explain, or accept the relation between God and evil. Instead of vindicating God, anti-theodicies defend afflicted human persons even against God and providence. My dissertation's second focus concerns the use of traditional texts. Rubenstein, Berkovits and Fackenheim reinvent tradition by sifting through a broad corpus of classical tropes and texts. They jettison time-honored theodicies and adopt a heretofore marginalized anti-theodic stance. Their revisions, I argue, reflect a powerful and distinctively "post-Holocaust" shift in the theological and readerly canons of modern Judaism.
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Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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