Franz Rosenzweig, one of the century’s great Jewish thinkers, wrote his gem of a book in 1921 as a more accessible précis of his famous Star of Redemption. An elegant introduction to Rosenzweig’s “new thinking,” Understanding the Sick and the Healthy was written for a lay audience and takes the form of an ironic narrative about convalescence. With superb simplicity and beauty, it puts forth an important critique of the nineteenth-century German Idealist philosophical tradition and expresses a powerful vision of Jewish religion. Harvard’s Hilary Putnam provides a new introduction to this classic work for a contemporary audience.
“Today, more than three-quarters of a century after it was written, the critique of philosophy in this book is what makes it of such great interest. Critique of philosophy has been a central theme of twentieth-century philosophy, and many philosophers have attacked some of the targets that Rosenzweig attacked in his little book. Yet this early attack by a profound religious thinker is far more powerful and far more interesting than most.”—From the new Introduction by Hilary Putnam