The Way Into Encountering God In Judaism

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9781580231992: The Way Into Encountering God In Judaism
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An accessible introduction to the Jewish understanding of God
throughout history―and today.

The Way Into Encountering God in Judaism is an accessible introduction to the Jewish understanding of God throughout history―and today.

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Review:

In 4,000 years of reading, writing, and talking, Jews have imagined countless images of God. The Way into Encountering God in Judaism is an introductory survey of this imaginative tradition. Neil Gilman, a philosophy professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, freely asserts that that "nothing that we human beings say about God or God's activities in the world is literally true." Given that, Gilman asserts, "To think and talk of God ... is to think and talk metaphorically. We must make our peace with that conclusion and then trace its implications." The image of God as presented in the Bible and in Jewish tradition is "a complex metaphorical system" whose main characteristics are plurality and fluidity. The metaphors change over time, as God's people come to understand God in new ways. (Feminists, for example, have questioned or rejected male images of God; Jews living after the Holocaust have questioned or rejected the notion of a God who is "beneficent, caring, all-powerful, and, above all, just.") The chapters highlight traditional understandings of God, such as "God Is Person," "God Is Nice (Sometimes)," "God Is Not Nice (Sometimes)." And Gilman peppers his clear, accessible, survey with more contemporary thoughts, such as the idiosyncratic, beautiful idea of a theological student who thinks of God as Fred Astaire (and herself as Ginger Rogers).

When we miss a step, it's always my fault. He dances in flats; I have to dance in heels; he's on the ceiling, I'm on the floor; he can be late, I can't. He pinches me in the clinches; I mustn't. And Cyd Charisse is waiting for me to fail. But when we get it together, it's sheer ecstasy.
--Michael Joseph Gross

From the Inside Flap:

For everyone who wants to understand how Jews have encountered God throughout history and today, this book shows the way into an essential aspect of Judaism, and allows you to interact directly with the sacred texts of the Jewish tradition.

Guided by Dr. Neil Gillman, chair of the Department of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, The Way Into Encountering God in Judaism helps us discover the many images of God in Jewish tradition, how they originated, and what they can mean for us and our spiritual lives.

· Who God is. Creator? Friend? Force in nature? There are a multitude of answers, each with fascinating things to teach us about our spiritual selves.
· What God’s nature is. Caring and loving? Abandoning and abusive? Nice or not nice? Traditional Jewish texts—and also, how we go about our daily lives—provide ample support for each.
· What sacred texts tell us about God. In a journey through the Bible, rabbinic literature, midrash, the Jewish prayer book, and Jewish theology and philosophy, we can trace our changing relationships with God.
· Why we seek to define God. In exploring what it means to encounter God, Gillman helps us to understand what the search itself says about our own spirituality.

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Publisher: Jewish Lights, 2000
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