To grasp the essential elements of Judaism as a philosophy, it is necessary to distinguish it from that which is more fundamental, namely, Jewish theology. This book begins with an analysis of both concepts. It maintains that as a theology, the basic tenets of Judaism should be perceived as axioms, so that they require no logical proof or empirical verification. As a philosophy, the application of reason in the form of demonstration or verification is mandatory. Since reason is universally acceptable, it makes sense to engage advocates of other religions in debates and discussion; it cannot be done with theology. This situation has some important consequences. In the category of religion, the book addresses the question of the ownership of the Holy Land, the end of Jewish history, the sacred status of the human body and the role of imagination in prayer. Many aspects of the Jewish religion can be analyzed philosophically. Attention is given to the concept of community which for millennia has served as a miniature equivalent of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, the rabbinic introduction of a moral imperative, namely ''for the sake of peace'', pleasure, creativity, power and authority, history and memory..
Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth was ordained by the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. He received the Ph. D degree in philosophy from Columbia University, and served as adjunct Professor of Philosophy and the Samson Raphael Hirsch Professor of Torah and Derech Eretz at Yeshiva University. He is the author of several books on Jewish thought. Among them are: Science and Religion, The Jewish Idea of Community, Halakha and Politics: The Jewish Idea of a State, The Jewish Idea of Culture, The Jewish Idea of Ethics and Morality, and Jewish Ideas in Morality and Religion.