The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Overview

A window into the Jewish understanding of God throughout history and today—written especially for Christians.

In Jewish Scripture—Christianity's foundation—God's presence is everywhere: in nature, in history, and in the range of human experience. Yet the Torah, Maimonides, and 4,000 years of Jewish tradition all agree on one thing: that God is beyond any form of human comprehension. How, then can Judaism be so crowded with descriptions and ...

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The Jewish Approach to God: A Brief Introduction for Christians

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Overview

A window into the Jewish understanding of God throughout history and today—written especially for Christians.

In Jewish Scripture—Christianity's foundation—God's presence is everywhere: in nature, in history, and in the range of human experience. Yet the Torah, Maimonides, and 4,000 years of Jewish tradition all agree on one thing: that God is beyond any form of human comprehension. How, then can Judaism be so crowded with descriptions and images of God? And what can they mean to the ways Christians understand their own faith?

In this special book, Rabbi Neil Gillman guides you through these questions and the countless different ways the Jewish people have related to God, how each originated and what each may mean for you. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or even Jewish, this nuts-and-bolts introduction will both answer your questions—and stimulate new ones.

A theologian who writes as a great teacher, Gillman addresses the key concepts at the heart of Judaism’s approach to God. From Ein Sof (Infinity) to Shekhinah (Presence), Gillman helps you understand what the search for knowing God itself says about Jewish tradition and how you can use the fundamentals of Judaism to strengthen, explore, and deepen your own spiritual foundations.

  • God Is Echad (Unique)
  • God Is Power
  • God Is Person
  • God Is Nice—Sometimes
  • God Is Not Nice—Sometimes
  • God Can Change
  • God Creates
  • God Reveals
  • God Redeems
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For a Christian, reading this book is like taking an introductory language course. You may not learn to speak the new language fluently, but in the process of studying it you discover a great deal about your own. The book's subject is God, not Judaism, and its perspective is generally Conservative (the author's denomination) and liberal/mystical in the tradition of his mentor Abraham Joshua Heschel. The Jewish understanding of God is based on the Shema: "The Lord our God alone is God." Gillman (The Death of Death) notes: "In Judaism since the beginning, God was not the conclusion of an argument but rather its point of departure. We begin with the conviction that there is a God in the world and that the world is all God's work." This God is powerful but self-limiting, personal and vulnerable, compassionate but sometimes angry or absent. In the Jewish worldview, God's work of creating, revealing and redeeming is shared with human beings. The mystical belief that "not only are Jews partners with God in redeeming the world, they are also partners with God in redeeming God" may sound radical, but "Christianity, by portraying a God who suffered and died on the Cross, extended this biblical notion... beyond anything that Judaism had ever imagined." Gillman teaches at the Jewish Theological Seminary and frequently speaks to Jewish and Christian congregations. This accessible volume, distilled from a lifetime of interaction with students of both faiths, is a warm and compelling introduction to the God of the Bible. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
At this moment in world history, when anti-Semitic violence is inexplicably on the rise in both Europe and America, it seems especially important to have competent explanations of Jewish life and spirituality for the uninitiated. Enter Rabbi Gillman (Jewish philosophy, Jewish Theological Seminary; Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew, etc.) and this brief, intelligent, honest approach to contemporary Jewish spirituality, written for a Christian audience. Gillman never oversimplifies a complex picture-indeed, he cherishes the "plurality and fluidity" of the images of God in his religion and speaks of the "unrequited thirst for religious sharing among people today." Whether or not this book reaches those who need its ideas most, it is a valuable addition to any library's collection. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580231909
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Series: A Brief Introduction for Christians Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 164
  • Sales rank: 1,035,311
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.52 (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

Introduction A Note on the Text God Is Echad God Is Power God Is Person God Is Nice (Sometimes) God Is Not Nice (Sometimes) God Can Change God Creates God Reveals God Redeems Conclusion: What It Means to Be Jewish Notes Glossary Suggestions for Further Reading

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