Talking about God: Exploring the Meaning of Religious Life with Kierkegaard, Buber, Tillich and Heschel

Will help you break through the superficial generalities to plumb the depths of religious differences and embrace the commonalities.

Daniel F. Polish, PhD

6 x 9, 160 pp | 978-1-59473-272-0

Click below to purchase


  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Indie Bound


  • kindle
  • nook
  • itunes

Large Print edition available from

Challenge Yourself to Delve into a Deeper Interfaith Dialogue

“To wrestle with the ideas these thinkers present is to find ourselves challenged to look at our own religious lives in new ways; and to appreciate the spiritual endeavors of others, whatever form their religious expression may take. To engage with these thinkers can leave us enlarged in our perception of human religiousness and deepened in our appreciation of it.”

—from the Conclusion

The modern age of religion is characterized by dialogue. Jews and Christians together explore the realities and meaning of living in proximity to one another. Yet for all the good will and sincerity of intention, too often such discussions fail to progress beyond well-intentioned pleasantries to the challenging content that can truly deepen our understanding of each other.

This fascinating and accessible introduction to the theologies of four modern religious thinkers will help you break through the superficial generalities to plumb the depths of religious differences and embrace the commonalities. Examining the lives and works of Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Buber, Paul Tillich and Abraham Joshua Heschel through the lens of their treatment of the Bible and the biblical patriarch Abraham, you will take part in a discussion of the very phenomenon of religion and what part it plays in living a fully engaged human life.

“A profound analysis of the forms of religion for our times. The value of this book lies in Polish’s ability to point out the value of all four authors’ works for an authentic interreligious dialogue.”

Catholic Library World

“Illumines the significance of four of the most profound Jewish and Christian thinkers of the modern period … offers a way of understanding religion as a stimulus for the common good.”

Sr. Mary C. Boys, Skinner and McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology, Union Theological Seminary; coauthor, Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other

“A very well written introduction to [religious] aspects of these influential writers.... Excellent reading.”

Journal of Ecumenical Studies

“Intimate, subjective, profound … an urgently needed model for interfaith sharing. Warmly and accessibly written.”

Dr. Beatrice Bruteau, author, Jesus Through Jewish Eyes and What We Can Learn from the East

“Polish brings together his wisdom and pedagogic skills and opens up to the reader the thought of four of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century.... A wonderful study group text, and a perfect book for anyone acquisitive for new knowledge and new understanding.”

Union of Liberal & Progressive Synagogues Newsletter

“Provocative.… Will speak to all of us who strive to make sense of our shared human experience. Will be particularly indispensable for those engaged in serious interfaith education. A notable accomplishment.”

Dr. Neil Gillman, professor of Jewish philosophy, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America; author, The Jewish Approach to God:
A Brief Introduction for Christians

“Finds common threads that unite rather than divide religious traditions.... A very accessible, thought-provoking introduction to four great religious thinkers.”

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

“An insightful and highly readable introduction to four religious giants whose thought continues to inform our philosophical and theological conversations today.”

Ron Miller, professor of religion, Lake Forest College; author, Healing the Jewish-Christian Rift: Growing Beyond Our Wounded History

“A fascinating dialogue with four of the greatest thinkers of modernity that prepares the groundwork for an enhanced conversation between Christians and Jews. Kierkegaard, Buber, Tillich and Heschel come alive and speak to us and to each other across all that divides human beings.”

Dr. Norman J. Cohen, author, Moses and the Journey to Leadership and  The Way Into Torah

“Challenges the reader to consider his or her own personal and religious understanding.... Provides a firm foundation from which readers can explore the writings of these influential religious thinkers.”

Congregational Libraries Today

Preface: Living in an Age of Dialogue ix
Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction: Thinking Religiously 1

1 S¿ren Kierkegaard
The Knight of Faith 21

2 Martin Buber
The Human-Divine Conversation: Religion as Relationship 49

3 Paul Tillich
The Quest for "The God Above God" 77

4 Abraham Joshua Heschel
God's Need for Man: Faith as a Call to Action 97

Conclusion: Naming the Unnameable:
Four Paths to Religious Understanding 125
Suggestions for Further Reading 129
Credits 133