The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought

Overview

Does death end life, or is it the passage from one stage of life to another?

Noted theologian Neil Gillman offers readers an original and compelling argument that Judaism, a religion often thought to pay little attention to the afterlife, not only presents us with rich ideas on this subject-but delivers a deathblow to death itself. Combining astute scholarship with keen historical, theological and liturgical insights, Gillman traces the evolution of Jewish thought about bodily ...

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The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought

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Overview

Does death end life, or is it the passage from one stage of life to another?

Noted theologian Neil Gillman offers readers an original and compelling argument that Judaism, a religion often thought to pay little attention to the afterlife, not only presents us with rich ideas on this subject-but delivers a deathblow to death itself. Combining astute scholarship with keen historical, theological and liturgical insights, Gillman traces the evolution of Jewish thought about bodily resurrection and spiritual immortality, and what it means for our lives today.
"Breaks through the silence of modern Jewish thought on immortality....A work of major significance."
-Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

"Sure to ignite discussion in the Jewish world."
- Forward

"Masterful...Gillman's lucid exposition offers valuable insight into the history of Jewish theology."
- Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a masterful survey of Jewish attitudes toward the concepts of resurrection and immortality, Gillman, who teaches Jewish philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, defies the common notion that Judaism is a religion that fails to address the afterlife. Gillman traces Judaic ideas of resurrection and immortality from their earliest formations through the medieval and modern eras to today. In the process, he discusses Psalms, the book of Daniel, Maimonides, Moses Mendelssohn, Martin Buber and contemporary Jewish thinkers like leading Reform rabbi Eugene Borowitz. Gillman demonstrates that the ideas of resurrection and immortality were introduced into Judaism as early as the fifth century B.C. and that debates about the existence of an afterlife in Judaism have often revolved around whether or not afterlife involves a resurrection of the physical body or the immortality of the soul. Gillman concludes from his study of biblical and historical texts that bodily resurrection will occur at the "end of days" and that through this resurrection "God will banish death forever." Gillman's lucid exposition offers valuable insights into the history of Jewish theology. (June)
From the Publisher

"Enables us to recover our tradition's understanding of the afterlife and breaks through the silence of modern Jewish thought on immortality.... A work of major significance."
Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman President, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“With a unique blend of erudition and clarity, Rabbi Gillman guides us through almost three millennia of evolving thought.... He has endowed his readers with a great scholar’s testament.... In a highly personal way, this remarkable book serves as a convincing demonstration that wisdom is not incompatible with passion, when they are united by faith.”
Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland author, How We Die; Clinical Professor of Surgery, Yale University

“A model of using textual and historical studies to provide new insights into contemporary religious issues.’
Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky Professor of Hebrew Bible, University of Chicago Divinity School; author, In the Wake of the Goddesses

“Why is it good for me as a Christian to read The Death of Death? … To read about such matters in a Jewish key is to allow 'like and unlike’ to become a stimulant to my faith.”
Rt. Rev. Krister Stendah former Dean of Harvard Divinity School; Bishop Emeritus of Stockholm

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580230810
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 961,024
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Gillman, rabbi and PhD, is professor of Jewish philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he has served as chair of the Department of Jewish Philosophy and dean of the Rabbinical School. He is author of Believing and Its Tensions: A Personal Conversation about God, Torah, Suffering and Death in Jewish Thought; The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year"; The Way Into Encountering God in Judaism; The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians; Traces of God: Seeing God in Torah, History and Everyday Life (all Jewish Lights); and Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew, winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD 11 I THE ESCHATOLOGICAL IMPULSE 17 II THE ORIGINS OF DEATH 37 III DEATH IN THE BIBLE 59 IV JUDAISM ON THE AFTERLIFE: THE EARLY SOURCES 83 V THE CANONIZATION OF A DOCTRINE 113 VI MAIMONIDES: THE TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRITUAL 143 VII THE MYSTICAL JOURNEY OF THE SOUL 173 VIII THE ENCOUNTER WITH MODERNITY 189 IX THE RETURN TO RESURRECTION 215 X WHAT DO I BELIEVE? 243 Notes 275 For Further Study 307 Index 309

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