This page contains a brief description of those books which are most often read. For a full bibliography, see curriculum vitae. Most of these books are available from amazon.com.
|DAVID R. BLUMENTHAL
KEEPING GOD AT THE CENTER:
CONTEMPLATING AND USING THE PRAYERBOOK
This book contains four kinds of teaching: first, insights derived from pondering the meaning of selected phrases and prayers from the traditional liturgy; second: four chapters on the personalist theology behind traditional Jewish prayer; third, meditations on the liturgy and clear instructions on how to pray certain prayers; and, fourth, instructions on how to pray certain prayers mystically. It is a continuation of the main themes of Blumenthal’s earlier work in Jewish spirituality, theology, and mysticism.
Rowman and Littlefied, 2016.
|DAVID R. BLUMENTHAL
LIVING WITH GOD AND HUMANITY
This book is about my professional oeuvre. It was edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron Hughes as vol. 7 of the Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers. It contains an introductory essay by Prof. Tirosh-Samuelson, four seminal essays by myself, the transcription of an interview of my by Prof. Tirosh-Samuelson, and a selected bibliography.
E. J. Brill, 2014.
|PHILOSOPHIC MYSTICISM: ESSAYS IN RATIONAL RELIGION
This book is collection of essays on the overlap between medieval philosophy and mysticisim. The essays comprise my work over many years, first on Hoter ben Shelomo, a Yemenite scholar from the 15th century, and then on the great philosopher, Maimonides.
The thesis of the book is that medieval philosophers had a type of religious mysticism that was rooted in, yet grew out of, their rationalist thinking. The religious experience of “philosophic mysticism” was the result of this intellectualist and post-intellectualist effort.
Bar Ilan University Press, 2006.
This book attempts a post-shoah theology. Starting with insights gained from the study of adult survivors of child abuse, the book goes on to point out that Jews in the post-shoah world feel like children who have been abused by their Father. After determining whether abuse is an attribute of God, the book proposes, following Jewish tradition, that protest, intellectual and liturgical, is the proper response to God in light of the shoah.
Westminster / John Knox, 1993.
This book attempts a post-shoah ethics. Starting with the evidence from sociology and history, the book goes on to analyze the factors that facilitate the doing of both good and evil, focusing primarily on obedience, childhood discipline, and modeling. After analysis, the book proposes specific recommendations for inculcating prosocial attitudes and behaviors and discouraging antisocial attitudes and behaviors. Finally, sources from the Jewish tradition relevant to ethics are cited and explained.
Georgetown University Press, 1999.
|LA BANALITE DU BIEN ET DU MAL
This book is a translation of The Banality of Good and Evil by A. Blum
Le Cerf, 2009.
|GOD AT THE CENTER
This book is a series of divrei Torah, or spiritual homilies based on the weekly ritual reading of the Torah. Drawing on the commentary to the Torah of the hasidic leader, Rabbi Levi Yitzhaq of Berditchev, the book presents the textual problem that prompted Levi Yitzhaq’s interpretation, gives and explains his interpretation, and then gives a modern response. The topics covered include: prayer, sexuality, spiritual leadership, war and peace, chosenness, finding a life partner, and many others.
Jason Aronson, 1994.
|DIEU AU COEUR
This book is a translation of God at the Center by H. Krief.
Le Cerf, 2002.
|THE PLACE OF FAITH AND GRACE
This booklet, written in the context of Jewish-Evangelical dialogue, focuses on faith and grace rather than law and deeds in Judaism. Drawing strongly of the works of the late Abraham Joshua Heschel, the booklet argues that both faith and grace have a significant role in traditional Jewish theology.
|UNDERSTANDING JEWISH MYSTICISM
This book was the first anthology of Jewish mystical texts in English with explicatory commentary and guiding questions. After many years, it remains in print as an early classic in the field.
This volume presents two of the four mystical traditions: the Heikhalot tradition and the Zoharic tradition. The former deals with the ascent through the seven heavens to the Throne room as well as with the Sefer Yetsira (Book of Creation). The latter deals with what is usually understood as “Kabbala,” the theosophic personality of God. It describes how to decipher a zoharic text and explicates texts dealing with God, humanity, and mystical prayer.
Ktav Publishing, 1978.
|UNDERSTANDING JEWISH MYSTICISM
This volume, published several years after the first and intended as a continuation of that effort, presents two other mystical traditons: the philosophic tradition and the hasidic tradition.
The formulation of the philosophic mystical tradition is unique to this book. It proposes that religious philosophers, including Maimonides, were mystics of a special kind for whom philosophy was a step toward mystical experience. The hasidic tradition is divided into three types of analysis: the hasidic story, the hasidic prayer-life, and the zaddik or rebbe and his community. Creative student efforts are also included here.
Ktav Publishing, 1982.
|YANKELE: A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR’S BITTERSWEET MEMOIR
In the second part, Alex recounts the reconstruction of his life in England and then in America, including his successes and the series of additional personal tragedies that followed him through life.
University Press of America, 2001.
|“AND BRING THEM CLOSER TO TORAH” : THE LIFE AND WORK OF RABBI AARON. H. BLUMENTHAL
This book is collection of the works of my late father. Part one contains his halkhic papers, including the one on granting women the right to be called to the Torah. Part two contains an interview on the subject of old age. And part three contains a sampling columns he wrote for Jewish newspapers. The whole is preceded by a reflection written by me.
My father was a distinguished rabbi and played a crucial role in the development of Conservative Judaism. This book tries to catch that. Copies are available directly from me.
Ktav Publishing, 2001.