Seeking the Hiding God

A Personal Theological Essay

by Arnold Eisen


This item will be released on September 17, 2024.

About this book

After nearly half a century of studying and teaching major works of modern Jewish religious thought, Arnold Eisen – one of the world’s leading scholars on American Judaism – has written a personal theological essay remarkable for its honesty, accessibility, and insight.

Like many Jewish theologians before him, Eisen is resigned to the fact that there is little mere mortals can know about God’s nature. His focus is rather the search for the “hiding God,” the meaning of fleeting encounters with the Creator, and the acts of justice and compassion that human beings are called to perform as God’s partners, in God’s name.

The book’s three chapters meet contemporary Jews of all persuasions, and non-Jews interested in Judaism, at the points where they are most likely to experience Jewish ritual and tradition: a Passover Seder, with its theme of past and future redemption; the Yom Kippur liturgy that guides worshippers through the difficult work of atonement, forgiveness and return; and the day-to-day responsibilities, personal and communal, of covenant, mitzvah and love.

Seeking the Hiding God is a rich, original, and moving work. It invites readers to join the author in asking, perhaps for the first time, what they actually believe about ultimate matters of faith and doubt – and rewards fellow- searchers for ultimate meaning with reassurance that the search itself can be a source of personal fulfillment, vibrant community, and great joy.

Advance Praise

“An inspired work of constructive theology that will… capture the attention of lay and academic readers in both the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds…

“The breadth of Jewish and non-Jewish sources…and his ability to weave them together so effortlessly is dazzling and leave the reader with a confidence that Eisen has fulfilled his goal of providing a profound and honest theological statement.”

— Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson

“Eisen demonstrates the ample rewards of grappling with God in light of our ethical sensibilities, lived experience, and community. In this intimate, learned reflection, Eisen invites contemporary Jews to wrestle with God anew.”

— Dr. Mara Benjamin

“This generation’s preeminent scholar of contemporary Jewry, Arnold Eisen has devoted his career to studying the spiritual strivings within the Jewish soul. In “Seeking the Hiding God,” Eisen provides a personal window into his own theological vision. Inspired by Eisen’s explorations, readers will be inspired to ask today’s urgent questions of meaning and faith.”
— Rabbi Dr. Elliot Cosgrove

About the Author

Arnold Eisen, one of the world’s foremost authorities on American Judaism, is Professor of Jewish Thought and Chancellor Emeritus at the Jewish Theological Seminary. During his tenure as Chancellor, Eisen oversaw curricular and programmatic innovations designed to give rabbinic, cantorial and educational leaders the skills needed to cope with the unprecedented societal and spiritual challenges confronting Jews today. A popular and charismatic lecturer, Eisen has conducted frank discussions of faith, commandment and community with hundreds of audiences at synagogues, universities, summer camps and other venues throughout the North America. Those conversations form the basis of Seeking the Hiding God.

Eisen is the author of a widely-read volume of personal reflection, Taking Hold of Torah: Jewish Commitment and Community in America. His scholarly publications include many dozens of articles on the contemporary Jewish situation as well as The Chosen People in America: A Study in Jewish Religious Ideology; Galut: Modern Jewish Reflection on Homelessness and Homecoming; Rethinking Modern Judaism: Ritual, Commandment, Community; and (with sociologist Steven M. Cohen) The Jew Within: Self, Family and Community in America. Eisen’s op-eds and blog posts have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Time Magazine, and the Times of Israel among other publications. His blog series, “On My Mind,” has reached many thousands of readers.

Seeking the Hiding God is his first published work of theology.