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.
In yoking Jewish thought to his efforts to give philosophy a human face, and in giving us glimpses of three men who helped shape a vibrant and beautiful form of Jewish thought, Hilary Putnam - to his profit, and to ours - has sided with Isaiah.