From the author of The Mind-Body Problem: a witty and intoxicating novel of ideas that plunges into the great debate between faith and reason.
At the center is Cass Seltzer, a professor of psychology whose book, The Varieties of Religious Illusion, has become a surprise best seller. Dubbed “the atheist with a soul,” he wins over the stunning Lucinda Mandelbaum—“the goddess of game theory.” But he is haunted by reminders of two people who ignited his passion to understand religion: his teacher Jonas Elijah Klapper, a renowned literary scholar with a suspicious obsession with messianism, and an angelic six-year-old mathematical genius, heir to the leadership of an exotic Hasidic sect.
Hilarious, heartbreaking, and intellectually captivating, 36 Arguments explores the rapture and torments of religious experience in all its variety.
The first decade of the 21st century will be remembered as a time of polarized debates between the new atheists on the one hand and the religiously fervent on the other. Few books have explored the fertile nexus in the middle, praising paradox, celebrating uncertainty, and enjoying the numinous without committing to any sacred particulars. Rebecca Goldstein's novel 36 Arguments for the Existence of God stakes out its territory in this middle ground, illuminating questions of faith in a tale set in the corridors of academia.