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Abraham Heschel and the Phenomenon of Piety
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Abraham Heschel and the Phenomenon of Piety


Bloomsbury 2013

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Piety is often regarded with a pejorative bias: a “pious” person is thought to be overly religious. Yet historically, the concept of piety has played an important role in Christian theology and practice. For Abraham Heschel, piety describes the contours of a life compatible with God’s presence. While much has been made of Heschel’s concept of pathos, relatively little attention has been given to the pivotal role of piety in his thought, with the result that the larger methodological implications of his work for both Jewish and Christian theology have been overlooked.

Grounding Heschel’s work in Husserl, Dilthey, Schiller and Heidegger, Joseph Britton explores his phenomenological method of “penetrating the consciousness of the pious person in order to perceive the divine reality behind it.” He goes on to consider the significance of Heschel’s methodology in view of the theocentric ethics of Gustafson and Hauerwas and the post-modern context reflected in the works of Levinas, Vattimo, Marion and the Radical Orthodoxy movement.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Save more when you purchase this book as part of the T&T Clark Studies in Practical and Pastoral Theology collection.

Key Features

  • Examines Heschel’s work in light of Husserl, Dilthey, Schiller and Heidegger
  • Provides an extensive look at the phenomenon of piety
  • Considers the significance of Heschel’s methodology


  • Beginning with Piety
  • The Idea of Piety
  • The Range of Heschel’s Theology
  • Beyond Rationalism to Understanding
  • Polarity and Piety
  • A Phenomenology of Piety
  • Piety as Understanding
  • Piety as Virtue
  • Responding to the “Other”
  • Engaging Theology
  • Indications of Piety for a Relational Theology

Praise for the Print Edition

This lucid, meditative study provides the key to Heschel’s biblical thinking and develops substantial comparisons with Christian thinkers from Augustine, through Kant, Schleiermacher, Scheler, Heidegger, as well as Rowan Williams and postmodern theologians. The careful analyses of Dilthey and Levinas are especially welcome. Britton interprets the full range of Heschel’s works and the critical literature with both sympathy and critical candor. This book is indispensable to grasp Heschel’s phenomenology of piety which combines mysticism and ethics in a relational theology.

Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care

Product Details

About Joseph Britton

Joseph Britton is the president and dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, where he teaches Anglican history and theology as the McFaddin Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology. He completed his doctoral studies at the Institut Catholique de Paris.

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