The Torah and Its God: A Humanist Inquiry

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9781573928205: The Torah and Its God: A Humanist Inquiry

This detailed examination of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) lays particular emphasis on the role and character of the Torah's transcendent God, as its central protagonist. Viewing both the Torah and its God as purely human creations, humanist Jordan Jay Hillman seeks in no way to devalue this hugely influential book. His aim instead is to reinterpret it as a still vital text that used theistic means appropriate to its time to inspire a people toward their worthiest human purposes. It is thus for its "timeless themes" rather than its "dated particularities" (including its model of a transcendent God) that we should honor the Torah in our time as both the wellspring of Judaic culture and a major influence on Christian and Islamic ethics and morals.

From his humanist perspective and his background as a lawyer and professor of law at Northwestern University (now emeritus), Hillman offers many insights into the narrative and wide-ranging legal code of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy-including their many contradictions and anomalies. His analysis draws on a broad scholarly consensus regarding the "Documentary Theory," as it bears on the identities and periods of the Torah's human sources.

This thorough explication of an often misunderstood ancient text will help humanists, and many theists alike, to appreciate the rich moral, ethical, and cultural heritage of the Torah and its enduring relevance to our time.

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About the Author:

Jordan Jay Hillman (Evanston, IL) holds the degrees of Master of Arts (M.A.) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Chicago and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from Northwestern.

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