“Thinking About the Torah: A Philosopher Reads the Bible” by Kenneth Seeskin— The Deeper Meanings


Seeskin, Kenneth. “Thinking About the Torah: A Philosopher Reads the Bible”, Jewish Publication Society, 2016.

The Deeper Meanings

Amos Lassen

Using ten core Biblical verses and the ideas that come out of them, Kenneth Seeskin invites us into a conversation about issues that are at the center of human existence. We explore how finite beings can relate to the infinite, the meaning of love, the role of ethics in religion, and the meaning of holiness. Seeskin gives us his commentary and what he has drawn from philosophers such as Maimonides, Spinoza, Buber, Rosenzweig, and Levinas, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Luther, Kant, and Kierkegaard.

Hence we see the Bible as an enduring source of inspiration for the human heart and mind. Seeskin gives us a new understanding of the deeper meanings that we find in the Hebrew Bible and he does so by drawing on Western philosophy and Jewish philosophy. Seeskin speaks to us on every page and invites us to join his conversation. He raises questions that we all ask and answers them with curiosity and compassion. He includes his own insights and those of others.

On a personal level, the Bible is really about how we think as well as how we follow the commandments, rituals, and customs. Seeskin asks us to read the Torah with an open mind and think about the lessons we learn here. 

Seeskin in a wonderful writer and his prose is clear and easy to understand even when he deals with complicated philosophies. We quickly see how philosophy enhances understanding and we gain new ideas with which to read further.

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