Religious Truth

BookReligious Truth

Religious Truth

Towards a Jewish Theology of Religions

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


April 2nd, 2020

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Truth informs much of the self-understanding of religious believers. Accordingly, understanding what we mean by ‘truth’ is a key challenge to interreligious collaboration. The contributors to this volume, all leading scholars, consider what is meant by truth in classical and contemporary Jewish thought, and explore how making the notion of truth more nuanced can enable interfaith dialogue. Their essays take a range of approaches: some focus on philosophy proper, others on the intersection with the history of ideas, while others engage with the history of Jewish mysticism and thought. Together they open up the notion of truth in Jewish religious discourse and suggest ways in which upholding a notion of one’s religion as true may be reconciled with an appreciation of other faiths.
By combining philosophical and theological thinking with concrete case studies, and discussion of precedents and textual resources within Judaism, the volume proposes new interpretations of the concept of truth, going beyond traditional exclusivist uses of the term. A key aim is to help Jews seeking dialogue with other religions to do so while remaining true to their own faith tradition: in pursuit of this, the volume concludes with suggestions of how the ideas presented can be applied in practice.
CONTRIBUTORS: Cass Fisher, Jerome Yehuda Gellman, Alon Goshen-Gottstein, Avraham Yizhak (Arthur) Green, Stanislaw Krajewski, Tamar Ross

'[Religious Truth] allows for a much more profound variety of interfaith dialogue than the mere comparison of doctrines. It allows a person belonging to one religion to appreciate (perhaps even ineffable) truths that are embodied in the lives of people belonging to another faith. [...] Goshen-Gottstein is to be congratulated for bringing these contributions together, for his insightful introduction, his own excellent chapter on the multiple possible meanings of Israel being a Kingdom of Priests, and his very helpful summary at the end of the book.'
 Samuel Lebens, Religious Studies

"[Religious Truth] fleshes out a Judaic response to other faiths, with some contributors adapting ideas from the Chasidic masters."
Simon Rocker, The Jewish Chronicle

Author Information

Alon Goshen-Gottstein is the founder and director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute. He is the author of Same God, Other God, Judaism, Hinduism and the Problem of Idolatry (2016), Religious Genius: Appreciating Outstanding Individuals Across Traditions (2017), Luther the Antisemite: A Contemporary Jewish Perspective (2018), and Coronaspection: World Religious Leaders Reflect on Covid-19 (2020), and the editor of Religious Truth: Towards a Jewish Theology of World Religions (Littman Library, 2020).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Note on Transliteration13
Introduction: The Scope of Religious Truth - Project Overview14
1. Old-Fashioned Truth, Telic Truth, and Interreligious Understanding42
2. History and Truth in Religion60
3. The Cosmic Eye and Its Pupil: Divine Perfection and the Mediation of Universal and Particular Truth in Rabbinic Theology74
4. Da’at Universalizing a Hasidic Value96
5. The Truth Beyond and Beyond Truth: Religious Truth in Teachings of the Breslav Tradition and Their Contemporary Interreligious Application120
6. The Cognitive Value of Religious Truth Statements: Rabbi A. I. Kook and Postmodernism146
Religious Truth: A Process Summary190
Notes on the Contributors210