Wayne AllenAug 3, 2022
Thinking about Good and Evil
Jewish Views from Antiquity to Modernity
University of Nebraska Press 2021
Today I talked to Rabbi Wayne Allen about his book Thinking about Good and Evil: Jewish Views from Antiquity to Modernity (U Nebraska Press, 2021).
Starting with the Bible and Apocrypha, Rabbi Allen takes us through the Talmud; medieval Jewish philosophers and Jewish mystical sources; the Ba’al Shem Tov and his disciples; early modern thinkers such as Spinoza, Mendelssohn, and Luzzatto; and, finally, modern thinkers such as Cohen, Buber, Kaplan, and Plaskow. Each chapter analyzes individual thinkers’ arguments and synthesizes their collective ideas on the nature of good and evil and questions of justice. Allen also exposes vastly divergent Jewish thinking about the Holocaust: traditionalist (e.g., Ehrenreich), revisionist (e.g., Rubenstein, Jonas), and deflective (e.g., Soloveitchik, Wiesel).
Rabbi Allen’s engaging, accessible volume illuminates well-known, obscure, and novel Jewish solutions to the problem of good and evil.
Matthew Miller is a graduate of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah. He studied Jewish Studies and Linguistics at McGill for his BA and completed an MA in Hebrew Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. He works with Jewish organizations in media and content distribution, such as TheHabura.com and RabbiEfremGoldberg.org.