Knowing God

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Contemporary Jews often find meaning in Judaism's family and communal orientation, its beautiful rituals, its enriching culture, its sense of ethnic rootedness, and its moral values. For the classical Jewish tradition, however, all of these features of Judaism depend on a belief in God. Since many modern Jews do not know what to make of that belief, it is often ignored. They may be inspired by Judaism's high regard for education and its passion for justice, but their belief in God rests on childhood images of the Almighty. They are often embarrassed and uneasy, for they sense that their attachment to Judaism may be based upon intellectual quicksand.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780876685990
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Elliot N. Dorff was ordained a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1970 and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 1971. Since then he has directed the rabbinical and master's programs at the University of Judaism, where he is currently rector and professor of philosophy.

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Table of Contents

1 A Personal Quest 1
Seeking an Honest, Integrated Faith
The Traditional Stance
The Modern Reality of Jewish Belief
My Own Growth into Religious Belief
Epistemological Moorings
God in Contemplation versus God in Action and Prayer
2 Using Reason to Know God 17
Knowing God as One Knows an Object
Discerning Patterns in Experience: Knowledge through Nonhypothetical Discovery
Appropriate Methods to Know a Personal God
3 Knowing God through Human Action 43
Methodology: How Action Affords Theological Knowledge
Content: Two Examples of What We Learn of God through Action - Duties to Parents and Observance of the Sabbath
The Role of Law in Effectuating Principles
The Truth Value and Wisdom of These Theological Claims
4 Knowing God through Words of the Divine: Revelation 91
Understanding Revelation
Experiencing Revelation
5 Knowing God through Divine Action 129
The Related Problem of Evil
Fusing Conceptions of God
Differentiating the Two Definitions of God
God's Justice and Goodness
Truth at the Price of Consistency and Fantasy
6 Knowing God through Human Words: Prayer 149
Experiencing God through Prayer
The Philosophical Problems and Promise of Prayer
7 Our Images of God 209
Anthropomorphism as a Form of Idolatry
Images, Creeds, and Symbols
The Functions of Images in Worship
How Images Mean
The Truth of Images
The Authority of Images
A Sample Case: Feminine Images for God
Good and Bad Images
Epilogue 249
Endnotes 253
Index 289
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