Event Title

A Covenantal Theology of Protest: The Jewish Tradition of Moral Confrontation with God

Presenter Information

Ethan Aronson, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 243

Start Date

4-27-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

4-27-2018 12:20 PM

Abstract

In this thesis, I contend that a robust moral and political framework can be best located within theistic Judaism through a covenantal theology of protest that centers the Jewish tradition of moral confrontation with God. Prior attempts at Jewish liberation theology have relied on universalistic hermeneutics that weaken the authority of Jewish tradition, covenant, and commandment. I outline an alternative theological framework by tracing covenantal agency in the writings of theologians Abraham Joshua Heschel and David Hartman, explicating Hartman’s use of Maimonidean harmonization to reconcile religious and ethical imperatives. By presenting a short survey of Biblical and Rabbinic texts that understand unresolved moral confrontation with God as normative to the covenantal relationship, I suggest an emendation to Hartman’s theology that emphasizes confrontation over harmonization. This theological approach can both be rooted in Jewish sources and allow for a religious and political paradigm emphasizing justice and compassion for all human life.

Keywords:

political theology, liberation theology, Biblical and rabbinic literature, Israel/Palestine

Notes

Session I, Panel 3 - Political | Confrontations
Moderator: Zeinab Abul-Magd, Associate Professor of History and Chair of International Studies

Major

Religion

Advisor(s)

Cindy Chapman, Religion

Project Mentor(s)

Corey Barnes, Religion

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Apr 27th, 11:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:20 PM

A Covenantal Theology of Protest: The Jewish Tradition of Moral Confrontation with God

King Building 243

In this thesis, I contend that a robust moral and political framework can be best located within theistic Judaism through a covenantal theology of protest that centers the Jewish tradition of moral confrontation with God. Prior attempts at Jewish liberation theology have relied on universalistic hermeneutics that weaken the authority of Jewish tradition, covenant, and commandment. I outline an alternative theological framework by tracing covenantal agency in the writings of theologians Abraham Joshua Heschel and David Hartman, explicating Hartman’s use of Maimonidean harmonization to reconcile religious and ethical imperatives. By presenting a short survey of Biblical and Rabbinic texts that understand unresolved moral confrontation with God as normative to the covenantal relationship, I suggest an emendation to Hartman’s theology that emphasizes confrontation over harmonization. This theological approach can both be rooted in Jewish sources and allow for a religious and political paradigm emphasizing justice and compassion for all human life.