Discussions of Jewish responses to modernity often focus on what is new or what has adapted or evolved in Judaism in the face of modernity’s challenges. However, contrary to convention, this paper argues that, at least in principle, neither has the challenge nor the response changed all that much. Through an examination of several key modern Jewish thinkers, including Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Rosenzweig, and Buber, and by focusing on a traditional Jewish concept and value, the Love of God, this paper claims that the Love of God functions as the orienting principle for much of modern Jewish thought, just as it did throughout the history of Judaism. Upon demonstrating the consistent presence of the concept of the Love of God throughout the Jewish tradition, and especially in much of modern Jewish thought, this paper goes on to briefly reflect on the importance and vitality of the concept of the Love of God for both Judaism and modernity, despite and beyond the commercialization and cheapening of the concept of Love in recent times.
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