George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Compassionate Judaism: The Life and Thought of Samuel David Luzzatto

by Marc Gopin

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  • Pages: 504
  • Published Date: November 12, 2017
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • ISSN: 978-1976549960


In his theological and philosophical analysis of the ideals of Samuel David Luzzatto, Marc Gopin critically examines the process that brought Luzzatto to his revolutionary conclusions about the compassionate nature of Judaism.

Unlike his contemporaries, Luzzatto wasn’t content with the division of secular Enlightenment thinking and traditional religious values. He believed that these schools of thought and their moral implications could synergize; in fact, he found a basis for honoring universal moral commitments within the construct of rabbinical Judaism.

Learn how Luzzatto reconciled his passion for scientific reasoning, enlightened thought, and universal humanitarianism with his staunch religious conviction. The process of reaching such an unprecedented marriage of beliefs is uncovered by Gopin’s study. He explores the influence of moral sense theory, a precursor to modern scientific approaches to ethics, on Luzzatto’s premises.

Luzzatto believed that compassion, not tribalism, was the medium by which we all might learn to live in peace. In a modern world plagued by hatred, destruction, and war, it is sometimes necessary to look to the past for a way to move forward.


"Marc Gopin in Compassionate Judaism has brought to American public awareness the passionate life and work of the Jewish religious and Enligtenment thinker, Samuel David Luzzatto, as a model of the possibility and vital importance of integrating and reconciling the life of traditional faith with a commitment to both the universal value of compassion toward all and to a respect for empirical and scientific inquiry and outlook. This book serves as the underlying bedrock and spring of Gopin’s own passionate commitment and, I must say also, noble life devoted to bringing different and opposing religious figures and communities together into compassionate and practical mutual understanding and common projects in his ongoing practice and teaching of Citizen Diplomacy. I recommend this book most highly to anyone and everyone who cares about of resolving world conflicts."

---- Heidi M. Ravven, Ph.D., Bates & Benjamin Professor of Classical & Religious Studies and Professor of Jewish Philosophy, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Hamilton College Fellow in Neurophilosophy, Integrative Neurosciences Research Program, Vilayanur Ramachandran and Kjell Fuxe, Co-Directors.

"Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, one of the foremost scholars and practitioners of religious and peacebuilding, and author of numerous books has written a long awaited scholarly master piece. *Compassionate Judaism* not only opens a window into the fascinating past of one of Judaism’s greatest ethicists, Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto, but also a window into the future of what a compassionate and ethical Judaism could look like if Luzzatto’s teachings could be truly internalized."

----- Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth, Director of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Teaching Faculty, Bar Ilan University.

Topics: Religion