THE JEWISH APPROACH TO GOD: A Brief Introduction for Christians

Neil Gillman, Author
Neil Gillman, Author . Jewish Lights $16.95 (164p) ISBN 978-1-58023-190-9
Reviewed on: 10/13/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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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.)

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