Denison Journal of Religion


This essay explores Abraham Joshua Heschel's post-Holocaust theology as a hopeful, worship-oriented option that can continue to be a source of comfort and inspiration to men and women struggling through tragedies today. The memory of the Holocaust can easily inspire a crisis of faith. In fact, post-Holocaust theology is frequently defined by this crisis.

The theology of Abraham Joshua Heschel, an Eastern European Jew who barely escaped the death camps, however, continued to assert the active existence of God. By exploring religion in terms of polarities"Sinai (the starting place of his people) and Auschwitz (a deplorable end for many of his people)"Heschel found not a God who abandoned people, but rather a God who demanded action in defense of human integrity. This was a God who existed in Divine Pathos and Divine Exile"he sought out his people and he suffered with them in their exile.

Eanet argues that this theological perspective is particularly relevant in today's world that is overwhelmed with crisis because Heschel does not claim that we need to search beneath the disasters to find God in a place untouched by them. Instead, Heschel argues that we must turn towards God amidst these crises, and find the strength to demand integrity and respect for all people.