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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2023
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Book description

There is a lively discussion in contemporary philosophy that explores the meaning of life or, more modestly, meaning in life. Philosophers, for the most part, assume that religion has little to contribute to this inquiry. They believe that the Western religions, such as Judaism, have doctrinaire beliefs which have become implausible and can no longer satisfy the search for meaning. In this book, Alan L. Mittleman argues that this view is misconceived. He offers a presentation of core Jewish beliefs by using classical and contemporary texts that address the question of the meaning of life in a philosophical spirit. That spirit includes profound self-questioning and self-criticism. Such beliefs are not doctrinaire: Jewish sources, such as the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes, are, in fact, open to an absurdist reading. Mittleman demonstrates that both philosophy and Judaism are prone to ineliminable doubts and perplexities. Far from pre-empting a conversation, they promote honest dialogue.

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