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For Fear of an Elective King
Reinventing Dance in the 1960s
The French and Indian War and the Conquest of New France
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Humble before the Void
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Three Days in the Shenandoah
Beyond Bombshells

Jewish Philosophy as a Guide to LifeJewish Philosophy as a Guide to Life

Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas, Wittgenstein

Hilary Putnam

Narrated by Dan Lenard

Available from Audible

Book published by Indiana University Press

Distinguished philosopher Hilary Putnam, who is also a practicing Jew, questions the thought of three major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century—Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas—to help him reconcile the philosophical and religious sides of his life. An additional presence in the book is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who, although not a practicing Jew, thought about religion in ways that Putnam juxtaposes to the views of Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas. Putnam explains the leading ideas of each of these great thinkers, bringing out what, in his opinion, constitutes the decisive intellectual and spiritual contributions of each of them. Although the religion discussed is Judaism, the depth and originality of these philosophers, as incisively interpreted by Putnam, make their thought nothing less than a guide to life.

Hilary Putnam is Cogan University Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Harvard University. His most recent books include Pragmatism: An Open Question, The Threefold Cord, Ethics without Ontology, and Words and Life.


“Hilary Putman has been in the thick of philosophical discussion for more than half a century... there are interesting, characteristically Putnamian insights to be had throughout. ”

Times Literary Supplement

“One of the most distinguished analytical philosophers, Putnam has written an unusual book that uses the thought of key philosophers to find points of commonality between the religious and the philosophical.”

Library Journal

“Written by the distinguished emeritus professor of analytical philosophy, this intriguing little study is a concise presentation of three figures in modern Jewish thought: Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas.”

AJS Review

“Putnam is a master teacher, and his elucidations of four difficult thinkers are valuable in themselves.”


“Hilary Putnam, one of the most brilliant, influential, and important philosophers of the second half of the 20th century, invites us to listen in as he talks about how his turn to Judaism has involved an encounter with these major Jewish philosophers and thinkers and what the result has been in terms of the significance of Judaism for him and potentially for others. ”

—Michael L. Morgan, author of Interim Judaism

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University Press Audiobooks