The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism

Jon D. Levenson. Princeton Univ., $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-691-16429-8
Levenson (The Restoration of Israel), a professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard, offers a sophisticated discussion about the love of God in ancient, rabbinic, and modern forms of Judaism. After dispensing with modern conceptions of emotional, comforting love for God as misplaced, Levenson observes that a true covenant with God requires honoring specific obligations prescribed in the Torah; God's love for the people of Israel is intimately tied to their deliverance through requisite practices. The idea that God demands a love expressed by service in absolute covenantal obedience may not sit well with some readers; however, Levenson opens space for debate surrounding the evolution of God's relationship with the Jewish people. Historical examples elucidate his points, ranging from the erotic interpretations by some biblical prophets to a discussion of the spiritual discipline of the Middle Ages, and an interpretation of more recent scholarship from thinkers such as Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. Although this is not a spiritual guidebook, believers will find here an inspiring reminder of the place of gratitude and reciprocity when considering their relationship with God. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Religion
Open Ebook - 264 pages - 978-1-4008-7339-5
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