The Conversation

A Novel

By Joshua Golding

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 528

ISBN: 13: 978-965-524-066-5

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by Joshua Golding
Published by Urim Fiction / Urim Publications
Hardcover, 528 pages
ISBN 13: 978-965-524-066-5
publication: 2011
David Goldstein is a fairly typical Jewish American college student. All he really knows about his Jewish identity is that he's expected to marry a Jewish girl and that the State of Israel is important, but that's about it.
In his freshman year he develops a passionate interest not only in a beautiful and brainy non- Jewish coed, but also in some of the major philosophical questions. Is the purpose of life just to seek pleasure? Is there an objectively good way to live one's life?
In his sophomore year, as his romantic life takes several twists and turns, David delves into Judaism and the philosophy of religion. Is the belief in God rational or is it a matter of faith? If there is a God, why is there evil and suffering in the world? How do Jewish teachings differ from Eastern mystical religions? Why don't Jews accept Christianity? Soon, a disturbing personal event in his life propels him toward even deeper reflection.
In his junior year, a chance meeting draws him into the study of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. Finally, in his senior year, he charts his own path and comes to a conclusion that will shape his life forever.
David's four-year journey takes him through a series of conversations with rabbis and professors, bull sessions with friends, emails, phone calls, letters, journal entries, exams, term papers, lectures, and even a Talmud study session. Follow David on this philosophical, spiritual, and intensely personal quest as he learns about God and Judaism - as well as a few other things along the way.
About the author:
Joshua Golding is a professor of philosophy at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. He has held research positions at the University of Haifa and at the University of Notre Dame and is the author of Rationality and Religious Theism (Ashgate, 2003). He has published articles in Religious Studies, Faith and Philosophy, Modern Schoolman, Tradition, and Torah U-Madda Journal, and has rabbinical ordination. This is his first work of fiction.
Praise for The Conversation:
"Joshua Golding's book brings to mind Judah Halevi's Kuzari (for its spirited and intelligent defense of traditionalist Judaism) and Samson Raphael Hirsch's Nineteen Letters (for its epistolary form). But unlike these earlier polemics, this book is also an academically sound introduction to Jewish philosophy. Most surprising, perhaps, given its attempt to both defend a Jewish position and teach philosophy, the book is actually fun to read - I really wanted to find out what eventually happened to the book's two central protagonists!"
-Menachem Kellner, Professor of Jewish Thought and author of Must a Jew Believe Anything?, Maimonides' Confrontation with Mysticism, and Science in the Bet Midrash
"The Conversation is a rare combination of an intellectually engaging and enjoyable read. It enlivens various philosophical and religious positions, and then puts Judaism into an animated conversation with them. It's a kind of Chaim Potok meets Philosophy 101. The results are rich in narrative, tradition and ideas. It is also an excellent book for young adults and their parents to read at the same time, to stimulate discussion about important issues and challenges."
-Faydra Shapiro, Associate Professor of Religion and Culture, and author of Building Jewish Roots (winner of the National Jewish Book Award)