BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH by Fran Wfel

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Those who read The Song of Bernadette and the probably larger number who saw the motion picture, have perhaps wondered how it was possible for a Jew to demonstrate such a keen appreciation of the spiritual values of the Christian faith in its Catholic form. This book gives an answer, although not a completely satisfying one. Frans Werfel is more effective when using the novel as his medium than in semi-philosophical writings such as are contained in this volume. The first part of the book is composed of lectures originally delivered in German in the pre-war period. They are typical of the arguments in which European Intellectuals delight, but in which even the intellectuals of the Anglo-Saxon world seldom indulge. The second part of the book, which bears the impossible name of ""Theologoumens"", consists of disconnected observations on religion written recently, and therefore represent Werfel's present point of view. One will find it difficult to pigeonhole Werfel religiously. In fact, Werfel rejects for himself and for his fellow-Jews all definite alignments either with liberalism or nationalism or Christianity, and comes at last to the difficult conclusion that ""complete human detachment is the first psychological sympton of spirituality"". The great outstanding contribution of this book is its frank and well reasoned rejection of a materialistic philosophy and emphasis in favor of the spiritual interpretation of life. There are beautiful passages written with expected artistry. There are others in which Werfel's ""inner perception of the Divine"" is expressed in phraseology which few besides himself could understand.

Publisher: Philosophical Library