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The Conversation: A Novel

David Goldstein is a fairly typical Jewish-American college student. All he really knows about his Jewish identity is that he’s expected to marry a Jewish girl and that the State of Israel is important, but that’s about it. In his freshman year, though, even as a brainy and beautiful non-Jewish coed catches his eye, David begins to wrestle with some of the major philosophical questions. Is the purpose of life just to seek pleasure? Is there an objectively good way to live one’s life? Over the next four years, as his romantic and personal lives take several twists and turns, David begins to reflect more deeply on issues of faith, religion, and heritage. In this fresh, unique novel, readers follow David on a philosophical, spiritual, and intensely personal quest as he learns about God and Judaism—as well as a few other things—along the way.

"The Conversation is a rare combination of an intellectually engaging and enjoyable read. It enlivens various philosophical and religious positions, and then puts Judaism into an animated conversation with them. It's a kind of Chaim Potok meets Philosophy 101. The results are rich in narrative, tradition and ideas. It is also an excellent book for young adults and their parents to read at the same time, to stimulate discussion about important issues and challenges."


- Faydra Shapiro, Associate Professor of Religion and Culture, and author of Building Jewish Roots


Rationality and Religious Theism

Throughout the ages one of the central topics in philosophy of religion has been the rationality of theistic belief. Philosophers and theologians have debated whether it is rational to believe certain propositions about God’s existence and nature. This book proposes that parties on both sides of this debate might shift their attention in a different direction, by focusing on the question of whether it is rational to be a religious theist. Utilizing a Pascalian strategy, Golding argues that it can be pragmatically rational to be a religious theist even if the evidence for God’s existence is minimal. Offering a new approach to an ancient topic, whilst also engaging in a discussion of classic and contemporary writings on the rationality of religious commitment, this book provides fresh insights to scholars of philosophy of religion, theology and Jewish studies.

"Joshua Golding offers a carefully wrought explanation of how it can be rational for someone to live a religious life, in particular (but not necessarily only), a traditional Jewish life. His basic strategy is similar to that of Pascal's famous wager, while making a number of crucial improvements which address both the more technical (e.g., the notion of an infinite good) and spiritually substantive (the role of belief and of community in religious life) shortcomings of Pascal's argument. However, this book is far more than a mere up-dating of Pascal; it is an important and strikingly original work of religious philosophy in its own right. It should be especially appealing to adherents of traditional faiths (especially Judaism) who are grappling with the challenges of reason."

- Professor Berel Dov Lerner of Western Galilee College, Israel

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