Dr. Joshua Furnal

I found Heschel's emphasis on the wonder that we are . . . profound.

Assistant Professor, Systematic Theology, St. Patrick’s Pontifical University
Maynooth, Ireland
A Catholic Perspective

Where did you first encounter Heschel’s work?

As a young student, I read his theological writings, but it was through his daughter, Susannah, that I encountered his writings in a more personal way when I was lecturing on religious existentialism at Dartmouth.

How did Heschel and his thinking inspire your work, religious life, or civic engagement?

For me as a Roman Catholic, I find Heschel’s involvement in shaping Nostra Aetate with Cardinal Bea is something that needs more attention. Heschel’s treatment of Kierkegaard is something that I hope to explore further when an opportunity presents itself.

What of Heschel lives in you?

I found Heschel’s emphasis on the wonder that we are, which awakens us to action, profound. This quote highlights Heschel’s approach to the Torah:

We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Additional Text:

Abraham Joshua Heschel and Nostra Aetate: Shaping the Catholic Reconsideration of Judaism during Vatican II

The Time and Name of Mercy: Rabbi Abraham Heschel and Pope Francis in Dialogue

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Man Is Not Alone Heschel's ideas about prophecy, radical amazement, and communal responsibility have inspired me for decades. Rabbi Dan Orenstein It was as if my whole religious world had been challenged, in a good and positive (if earth-shattering) way. Rabbi Gerald Skolnik