Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife

Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife

by Leila Leah Bronner


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Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife by Leila Leah Bronner

A number of the basic tenets of Jewish belief regarding the afterlife, resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the world to come are laid out in this fascinating and accessible volume. Beginning with the Bible’s references to Sheol and its allusions to resurrection, this survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah’s discussions of olam ha-ba, or the world to come, and how to merit entry into it; and the Talmud’s depictions of paradise and hell, and the soul’s journey through these metaphysical landscapes. The book also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief, as well as the evolving view of the Messiah over the course of Jewish history. This absorbing study demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism as it reveals how generations of Jews, from biblical times to the present, have grappled with the core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789655240474
Publisher: Urim Publications
Publication date: 06/14/2011
Pages: 206
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Leila Leah Bronner is a noted community activist, professor and writer. She is a former professor of Bible and Jewish history at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, as well as former visiting scholar at Bar Ilan University in Israel, Harvard University, and Yeshiva University’s Institute of Adult Studies in New York. She is the author of several books, including From Eve to Esther: Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women and Stories of Biblical Mothers: Maternal Power in the Hebrew Bible. She lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introduction 11

1 The Hebrew Bible: Glimpses of Immortality 17

2 Early Post-Biblical Literature: Gateways to Heaven and Hell 38

3 The Mishnah: Who Will Merit the World to Come? 59

4 The Talmud: What Happens in the Next World? 79

5 Medieval Jewish Philosophy: Faith and Reason 102

6 Mysticism: Reincarnation in Kabbalah 127

7 Modernity: What Do We Believe? 153

8 The Messiah: The Eternal Thread of Hope 164

Afterword 182

Notes 185

Index 201

About the Author 207

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