James A. Diamond is a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Waterloo. His books include Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (2014) and, most recently, Jewish Theology Unbound (2018).
The word is freighted with both theological and national meaning, which points not just to a semantic tension but to a permanent tension within Jewish identity itself.
Elisha ben Avuyah became a vehicle for exploring the agonizing conundrums the rabbis were too honest to ignore but too pious to articulate.
Sermons from the Years of Rage, 1939-1942, hidden during the war and now released in a new edition, is a rabbinic work unlike any since the destruction of the First Temple.
The former seeks answers; the latter seeks the questions that can help situate human beings existentially and rationally within the universe.