The Way Into Encountering God in Judaism

Neil Gillman, Author Jewish Lights Publishing $21.95 (205p) ISBN 978-1-58023-025-4
This audacious exploration of the Jewish concept of God squarely faces many contradictions and conundrums. Gillman, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Jewish Theological Seminary, won the National Jewish Book Award for Sacred Fragments: Recovering Theology for the Modern Jew. He begins by asking how humans can describe God if He is ultimately unknowable. Our common conception of God in human terms is metaphorical thinking, according to Gillman; when it comes to actual knowledge, ""we are all agnostics. We know nothing."" Moreover, ""there is no way of proving objectively and conclusively that God exists."" Gillman's ensuing discussion of monotheism leads to the paradox that God is simultaneously powerful and vulnerableDcaring and loving, but also distant and cruel. Gillman cautions that since we cannot know God's essence, these attributes represent our own feelings. He explores human suffering through creative analyses of the Book of Job, the martyrdom of Rabbi Akiva and the Holocaust, leading to the admittedly unsatisfactory conclusion that acts of God are ""beyond human understanding."" Finally, Gillman takes up revelation and redemption, considering the issue of the Jews as the ""chosen people"" and juxtaposing liberal with traditionalist views. His examination of texts brings him to accept inconsistencies and to highlight discrepancies between popular images of God and God's portrayal in classical Jewish sources. Gillman has made a significant contribution here. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Paperback - 205 pages - 978-1-58023-199-2
Open Ebook - 978-1-58023-696-6
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