Liberating the Holy Name
A Free-Thinker Grapples with the Meaning of Divinity
Imprint: Cascade Books
For the back cover:
"Daniel Spiro's Liberating the Holy Name is an exciting and fresh new approach to understanding God. Neither believer nor atheist will be let off the hook as Spiro, ruthlessly honest about his own struggle with the contradictions of conventional theology, does not allow the reader to fall into easy skepticism either. As he reveals his own process of seeking to make sense of God without being constrained by orthodoxies of any sort, Spiro challenges the reader to rethink our own easy assumptions about God's existence or non-existence."
--Rabbi Michael Lerner, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, Berkeley, CA
"Clearly the result of many years of reflection, Liberating the Holy Name is a refreshing read for both theists and atheists. This insightful, thought-provoking, and philosophical piece is an exciting addition to God discourse in times when God has mostly become irrelevant to modern man and culture. The penetrating and masterful work is a welcome voice to interfaith dialogue and scholarship. It liberates the holy name from indulgences of traditionalists as well as secularists."
--Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Secretary General, Islamic Fiqh Council of North America, North America
"Dan Spiro ventures where too few ever do for an honest search in an area that most consider . . . untouchable. This gutsy book seeks to broaden our understanding of God, to go beyond the usual vague, incoherent, and off-putting theological observations, and to really wrestle with what it is we each think. In the process, the book honors God, honors us, and honors the others with whom we each interact in the world, no matter what their faith or lack of it. I rejoice, personally, in Spiro's notion of our role in being God's emissaries, reminding us that our actions make a difference and help to make real an ultimate force in the world."
--Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service, New York, NY
For the front matter:
"Daniel Spiro is fascinated by the subject of God and if you join him on his quest, you will soon be too. For the veteran seeker or the merely curious, this book invites you on an intellectual and spiritual journey you will not soon forget. With passion, clarity, and humility, Spiro introduces the joys of theological speculation while mounting a powerful argument for interfaith engagement as the great religious adventure of our time."
--Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Director, Multifaith Studies and Initiatives, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, PA
"This is an extraordinary book. Spiro has provided a feisty account of a spiritual journey that raises a host of fascinating issues. He clearly articulates in a refreshing manner his own hard-won efforts to answer the big questions of theology and philosophy. At one level, Spiro moves beyond the current temptation to settle for a thin dispute between theists and atheists. At another level, he shows theologians how things appear to an intelligent layperson who takes seriously the task of theology. For either theologians or laypeople to ignore this vista would be a failure of intelligence and love in relating to our sophisticated neighbors."
--William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
"Dan Spiro challenges both the religious skeptics and the fundamentalists of all faiths. His ability to clarify how a person can meaningfully occupy a middle ground between those positions is a welcome addition to the growing literature on spirituality. Most importantly, the book helps us understand the power of multi-faith engagement. Each of us can become better human beings if we are faithful to our respective religious heritages even as we explore, ally with, and learn from people of other faiths. Only then can religion help us chart a course to a more peaceful and just world."
--Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Senior Fellow, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, New York, NY
"This is a delightful book by a self-thinking mind inspired by the bold philosophy of Spinoza. The Talmud tells us that the Torah can function either as an elixir or as poison. Here is a remarkable attempt to spell out a religion free from the poison of contemporary fundamentalism."
--Yitzhak Melamed, Professor of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
"Daniel Spiro's Liberating the Holy Name is indeed a liberating work. I love the way in which he wrestles with a very touchy subject and the respect he gives to the range of believers and non-believers. He provides needed insight into the evolution of God-thought and composes a philosophy of religion that all can benefit from. In a world torn apart of competing needs and spiritual insecurity, Daniel Spiro offers us a light."
--Rabbi David Shneyer, Spiritual Leader of the Am Kolel Jewish Renewel Community and the Kehila Chadash Havurah, Beallsville, MD
"In this lucid and engaging book, Daniel Spiro makes the case for God and challenges God's 'cultured despisers' (like new-atheist Richard Dawkins) who have monopolized the American God-conversation for too long. Spiro demonstrates that intellectual honesty can co-exist with the God-smitten heart of a mystic as he invites readers to 'fall in love with God' without compromising their integrity. A Jewish advocate of interfaith dialogue, Spiro systematically develops his arguments in conversation with philosophers like Nietzsche and Spinoza and finds wisdom in the Torah and the Trinity, the Qur'an and Kabbalah."
--Mary Joan Winn Leith, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Stonehill College, Easton, MA
For the website:
"Liberating the Holy Name is an extraordinary book, a rare undertaking that succeeds in filling the immense gap between the negativism of the flaming atheists and the intransigent fundamentalists. Spiro writes as one who has spent the better part of five decades asking the deep questions of life that we all ask, and now puts it all together in a philosophical approach that embraces the uncertainty that both Socrates and Spinoza would applaud. It is an inquiry with all of the intellectual tools at our disposal, and a celebration of the journey that honors the best in contemporary thinking. How can reading a book with a new question for every answer be such an intellectual joy? You have to try it and discover for yourself."
--Rev. E. Maynard Moore, President, WesleyNexus