As German-Jewish philosopher Franz ­Rosenzweig observed a hundred years ago, Jewish chosenness is not one of the thirteen principles of faith enumerated by Maimonides, although it is surely at the heart of Jewish life and consciousness. More than any other doctrine, save for the singularity of the law God gave to Israel, it distinguishes Judaism from other religions. More than any other doctrine, it defies the universalism at the core of modern liberalism.

Jerome Gellman, professor emeritus at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, is a veteran analytic philosopher of religion trained under Alvin ­Plantinga. As Yehudah Gellman, he has occasionally brought his tools to bear on Hasidic thought, the mystical theology of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and Kierkegaard. He now proposes a new “contemporary” understanding of Jewish election that combines both of his authorships, though my ears discern more ­Yehudah than Jerome.

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