The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought

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9781879045613: The Death of Death: Resurrection and Immortality in Jewish Thought

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

In The Death of Death, 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 outlines the evolution of Jewish thought about bodily resurrection and spiritual immortality. Beginning with the near-silence of the Bible on the afterlife, he traces the development of these two doctrines through Jewish history. He also describes why today, somewhat surprisingly, more contemporary Jewish scholars―including Gillman―have unabashedly reaffirmed the notion of bodily resurrection.

In this innovative and personal synthesis, Gillman creates a strikingly modern statement on resurrection and immortality.

The Death of Death gives new and fascinating life to an ancient debate. This new work is an intellectual and spiritual milestone for all of us interested in the meaning of life, as well as the meaning of death.

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About 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.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Birth and death represent the twin terminals of life. That death represents the end-point of human life is, in fact, the view of much of biblical religion....In time, in the second century BCE, Judaism came to assert that death may represent one event within the framework of human life, but not the final event. This later Jewish tradition broadens the time-frame of human destiny.

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