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'Absorbing, fascinating, arresting' Observer 'Intensely moving, luminous and rather magnificent' The Times It was one of the most startling moments in the modern history of the City of London. In 2011, the Occupy movement set up camp around St Paul's Cathedral. Giles Fraser, who was Canon Chancellor of the Cathedral, gave them his support. It ended in disaster. This remarkable book is the story of the personal crisis that followed, and its surprising consequences. As Giles Fraser found himself crushed between the forces of protest, the needs of the church and the implacable City of London, he resigned, and was plunged into depression. As his life fell apart and he battled with ideas of suicide, Fraser found himself by chance one day in Liverpool, outside the great Victorian synagogue once presided over by a distant ancestor. Suddenly he realized that there was a great deal he did not know about himself, about his relatives and about his Jewish roots. Fraser calls this book 'a ghost story' and it is a book which is indeed filled with many ghosts. His search into his family's Jewish past makes this both a fascinating personal story and a wonderful piece of writing about the healing power of theology, in individual lives and across religious divides. It is a book about the deepest, most ancient elements in our culture, and the most modern and personal. It is throughout alive with the charm and intellectual vigour which have made Fraser such an admired and controversial preacher and broadcaster.
Most studies on violence in the Hebrew Bible focus on the question of how modern readers should approach the problem. But they fail to ask how the Hebrew Bible thinks about that problem in the first place. In this work, Matthew J. Lynch examines four key ways that writers of the Hebrew Bible conceptualize and critique acts of violence: violence as an ecological problem; violence as a moral problem; violence as a judicial problem; violence as a purity problem. These four 'grammars of violence' help us interpret crucial biblical texts where violence plays a lead role, like Genesis 4-9. Lynch's volume also offers readers ways to examine cultural continuity and the distinctiveness of biblical conceptions of violence.
Jean Danielou's 'Philo of Alexandria' illuminates the life and work of a key figure in the history of religious thought. Philo of Alexandria was a first-century Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who was born into a wealthy and prominent family in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt. Educated in both Jewish culture and Greek philosophy, Philo believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would distort the Jewish people's perceptions of a God too complex to be understood in literal, human terms. He became one of the first religious thinkers to initiate a strong allegorical reading of Scripture. Jean Danielou places Philo's writing in context, detailing the remarkable events of the philosopher's life, including a diplomatic mission to present himself before the Roman Emperor Caligula on behalf of the persecuted Jews of Alexandria. James Colbert's English translation provides a highly accessible introduction to this important figure, a pioneer of biblical commentary whose work has had a lasting influence on Christian theology. It is essential reading for those interested in patristics, exegesis, or the history of religious and philosophical thought.
Carl Jung angrily rejected the charge that he was an anti-Semite, yet controversies concerning his attitudes towards Jews, Zionism and the Nazi movement continue to this day. This book explores Jung's ambivalent relationship to Judaism in light of his career-changing relationship and rupture with Sigmund Freud and takes an unflinching look at Jung's publications, public pronouncements and private correspondence with Freud, James Kirsch and Erich Neumann from 1908 to 1960. Analyzing the religious and racial, Christian and Muslim, high-brow and low-brow varieties of anti-Semitism that were characteristic of Jung's time and place, this book examines how Muslim anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism intensified following the Balfour Declaration (1917), fostering the resurgence of anti-Semitism on the Left since the fall of the Soviet Empire. It urges readers to be mindful of the new and growing threats to the safety and security of Jewish people posed by the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world today. This book explores the history of the controversy concerning Jung's anti-Semitism both before and after the publication of Lingering Shadows: Jungians, Freudians and Anti-Semitism (1991), and invites readers to reflect on the relationships between Judaism, Christianity and Zionism, and between psychoanalysis and analytical psychology, in new and challenging ways. It will be of considerable interest to psychoanalysts, historians and all those interested in the history of analytical psychology, anti-Semitism and interfaith dialogue.
The twentieth century has been called a "century of horror". Proof of that, designation can be found in the vast and ever-increasing volume of scholarly work on violence, trauma, memory, and history across diverse academic disciplines. This book demonstrates not only the ways in which the wars of the twentieth century have altered theological engagement and religious practice, but also the degree to which religious ways of thinking have shaped the way we construct historical narratives. Drawing on diverse sources - from the Hebrew Bible to Commonwealth war graves, from Greek tragedy to post-Holocaust theology - Alana M. Vincent probes the intersections between past and present, memory and identity, religion and nationality. The result is a book that defies categorization and offers no easy answers, but instead pursues an agenda of theological realism, holding out continued hope for the restoration of the world.
A critical examination of political Zionism, a topic often considered taboo in the West, is long overdue. The discussion of Christian Zionism is usually confined to evangelical and fundamentalist settings. The present volume will break the silence currently reigning in many religious, political, and academic circles and, in so doing, will provoke and inspire a new, challenging conversation on theological and ethical issues arising from various aspects of Zionism - a conversation that is vital to the quest for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. The eleven authors offer a rich diversity of religious faith, academic research, and practical experience, as they represent all three Abrahamic faiths and five different Christian traditions. Among the many themes that run through Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land is the contrast between exclusivist narratives, both biblical and political, and the more inclusive narratives of the prophetic Scriptures, which provide the theological foundation and the moral imperative for human liberation. Readers will be drawn into a compelling, readable, and stimulating series of essays that tackle many of the complex issues that still confound clergy, politicians, diplomats, and academic experts.
Spurred by a curiosity about Daf Yomi-a study program launched in the 1920s in which Jews around the world read one page of the Talmud every day for 2,711 days, or about seven and a half years-Adam Kirsch approached Tablet magazine to write a weekly column about his own Daf Yomi experience. An avowedly secular Jew, Kirsch did not have a religious source for his interest in the Talmud; rather, as a student of Jewish literature and history, he came to realize that he couldn't fully explore these subjects without some knowledge of the Talmud. This book is perfect for readers who are in a similar position. Most people have little sense of what the Talmud actually is-how the text moves, its preoccupations and insights, and its moments of strangeness and profundity. As a critic and journalist Kirsch has experience in exploring difficult texts, discussing what he finds there, and why it matters. His exploration into the Talmud is best described as a kind of travel writing-a report on what he saw during his seven-and-a-half-year journey through the Talmud. For readers who want to travel that same path, there is no better guide.
Like the Hebrew prophets before him, the great American rabbi and civil rights leader reveals God's concern for this world and each of us. Abraham Joshua Heschel, descended from a long line of Orthodox rabbis, fled Europe to escape the Nazis. He made the insights of traditional Jewish spirituality come alive for American Jews while speaking out boldly against war and racial injustice. Heschel brought the fervor of the Hebrew prophets to his role as a public intellectual. He challenged the sensibilities of the modern West, which views science and human reason as sufficient. Only by rediscovering wonder and awe before mysteries that transcend knowledge can we hope to find God again. This God, Heschel says, is not distant but passionately concerned about our lives and human affairs, and asks something of us in return. This little book, which brings together Heschel's key insights on a range of topics, will reinvigorate readers of any faith who hunger for wonder and thirst for justice. Plough Spiritual Guides briefly introduce the writings of great spiritual voices of the past to new readers.
Translated from German into English for the first time, this monograph seeks to reclaim the original sense of humility as an ethical mindset that is of community-building value. This exploration of humility begins with a consideration of how the concept plays into current cultural crises before considering its linguistic and philosophical history in Western culture. In turning to the roots of Christian humility, Eve-Marie Becker focuses on Philippians 2, a passage in which Paul appeals to the lowliness of Christ to encourage his fellow Christians to persevere. She shows that humility both formed the basis of the ethic Paul instilled in Christ-believing communities and acted as a mimetic device centered on Jesus' example that was molded into the earliest Christian identity and community.
Emil Fackenheim was the last in a long line of Jewish philosophers to emerge from Germany, the modern center of Western philosophy, following Moses Mendelssohn, Leo Baeck, and Martin Buber. In this revealing book, David Patterson explores Fackenheim's rigorous pursuit of a philosophical response to the tragedy of the Holocaust. Fackenheim's writing sheds light on the tensions between Jewish thinking and German philosophy, illustrating how elements of the latter were used by the Nazis to justify Jewish annihilation. In addition, he emphasizes the important implications of defining Jewish philosophy as its own entity, separate from the tenets of the Jewish cultural tradition.
For three centuries, a mixture of religion, violence, and economic conditions created a fertile matrix in Western Europe that racialized an entire diasporic population who lived in the urban centers of the Latin West: Jews. This Element explores how religion and violence, visited on Jewish bodies and Jewish lives, coalesced to create the first racial state in the history of the West. It is an example of how the methods and conceptual frames of postcolonial and race studies, when applied to the study of religion, can be productive of scholarship that rewrites the foundational history of the past.
2006 National Jewish Book Award, Modern Jewish Thought
Long the object of curiosity, admiration, and gossip, rabbis' wives have rarely been viewed seriously as American Jewish religious and communal leaders. We know a great deal about the important role played by rabbis in building American Jewish life in this country, but not much about the role that their wives played. The Rabbi's Wife redresses that imbalance by highlighting the unique contributions of "rebbetzins" to the development of American Jewry.
Tracing the careers of "rebbetzins" from the beginning of the twentieth century until the present, Shuly Rubin Schwartz chronicles the evolution of the role from a few individual rabbis' wives who emerged as leaders to a cohort who worked together on behalf of American Judaism. The Rabbi's Wife reveals the ways these women succeeded in both building crucial leadership roles for themselves and becoming an important force in shaping Jewish life in America.
Approaching the Bible in an original way-comparing biblical heroes to heroes in world literature-Elliott Rabin addresses a core biblical question: What is the Bible telling us about what it means to be a hero? Focusing on the lives of six major biblical characters-Moses, Samson, David, Esther, Abraham, and Jacob-Rabin examines their resemblance to hero types found in (and perhaps drawn from) other literatures and analyzes why the Bible depicts its heroes less gloriously than do the texts of other cultures: * Moses founds the nation of Israel-and is short-tempered and weak-armed. * Samson, arrogant and unhinged, can kill a thousand enemies with his bare hands. * David establishes a centralized, unified, triumphal government-through pretense and self-deception. * Esther saves her people but marries a murderous, misogynist king. * Abraham's relationships are wracked with tension. * Jacob fathers twelve tribes-and wins his inheritance through deceit. In the end, is God the real hero? Or is God too removed from human constraints to even be called a "hero"? Ultimately, Rabin excavates how the Bible's unique perspective on heroism can address our own deep-seated need for human-scale heroes.
In Jewish Justice David Novak explores the continuing role of Judaism for crafting ethics, politics, and theology. Drawing on sources as diverse as the Bible, the Talmud, and ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy, Novak asserts Judaism's integral place incommunaldiscourse of the public square. According to Novak, biblical revelation has universal implicationsathat it is ultimately God's law to humanity because humans made in God's image are capable of making intelligent moral choices. The universality of this claim, however,stands in tension with the particularities of Jewish monotheism (one God, one people, one law). Novak'schallenge isforJudaism to capitalize on the way God's law transcends particularity without destroying difference. Thus it is as Jews that Jews arecalledto join communitiesacross the faithful denominations, as well assecular ones,to engage in debates about the common good. Jewish Justice follows a logical progression from grounded ethical quandaries to larger philosophicaldebates.Novak begins by considering the practical issues of capital punishment, mutilation and torture, corporate crime, the landed status of communities and nations, civil marriage,and religious marriage. He next moves to a consideration of theoretical concerns: God's universal justice, the universal aim of particular Jewish ethics, human rights andthe image of God, the relation of post-Enlightenment social contract theory to the recently enfranchised Jewish community, andthe voicesof Jewish citizens in secular politics andthe public sphere. Novak also explores the intersection of universality and particularity by examining the practice ofinterfaith dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Read our customer guide The Torah is the essence of Jewish tradition; it inspires each successive generation. The current JPS translation, based on classical and modern sources, is acclaimed for its fidelity to the ancient Hebrew.
Justice for All demonstrates that the Jewish Bible, by radically changing the course of ethical thought, came to exercise enormous influence on Jewish thought and law and also laid the basis for Christian ethics and the broader development of modern Western civilization. Jeremiah Unterman shows us persuasively that the ethics of the Jewish Bible represent a significant moral advance over Ancient Near East cultures. Moreover, he elucidates how the Bible's unique conception of ethical monotheism, innovative understanding of covenantal law, and revolutionary messages from the prophets form the foundation of many Western civilization ideals. Justice for All connects these timeless biblical texts to the persistent themes of our times: immigration policy, forgiveness and reconciliation, care for the less privileged, and attaining hope for the future despite destruction and exile in this world.
In this book, Arthur Keefer offers a new interpretation of the book of Proverbs from the standpoint of virtue ethics. Using an innovative method that bridges philosophy and biblical studies, he argues that much of the instruction within Proverbs meets the criteria for moral and theological virtue as set out in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. Keefer presents the moral thought of Proverbs in its social, historical, and theological contexts. He shows how these contexts shed light on the conceptualization of virtue, the virtues that are promoted and omitted, and the characteristics that make Proverbs a distinctive moral tradition. In giving undivided attention to biblical virtue, this volume opens the way for new avenues of study in biblical ethics, including law, narrative, and other aspects of biblical instruction and wisdom.
From Europe and America to the Middle East, North Africa and other non-European Jewish settlement areas, the Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture covers the recent history of the Jewish people from 1750 through the 1950s. Originally published in German as the Enzyklopadie judischer Geschichte und Kultur by J.B. Metzler Verlag (Stuttgart/Weimar) in 2011 the work includes approximately 800 entries that present the state of international research and reveal a complex portrait of Jewish life - illuminated by many maps and illustrations. Central themes convey information on topics such as autonomy, exile, emancipation, literature, liturgy, music, and science of Judaism. The encyclopedia provides knowledge in an overall context and offers academics and other interested readers new insights into Jewish history and culture. The work is an outstanding contribution to the understanding of Judaism and modernity. The first volume of the English edition will appear in 2017 with subsequent volumes following in due course. The volumes may be purchased individually as they appear or as a set once all 7 are available. Both the German and the English editions will also be available online.
A panoramic view of the evolution of the Passover Haggadah, from the beginnings of Hebrew printing into modern times Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1975, Haggadah & History is much more than a history of the Passover story. It is also a mirror of the last five centuries in Jewish history?as reflected in the haggadah itself. In an updated preface to the book, Yerushalmi recounts the story of the discovery of the Sarajevo Haggadah, which he says is ?arguably the most renowned illuminated haggadah manuscript from the Middle Ages to have survived.? Two hundred facsimile plates reproduce representative pages from rare printed haggadot in two of the world's outstanding Judaica collections: the libraries of Harvard University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. This visual history is complemented by Professor Yerushalmi's fascinating historical introduction and richly detailed place descriptions. The result is a rare blend of scholarship and art.
A Top Ten Book for Parish Ministry from the Academy of Parish Clergy Who-or what-is God? Is God like a person? Does God have a gender? Does God have a special relationship with the Jewish people? Does God intervene in our lives? Is God good-and, if yes, why does evil persist in the world? In investigating how Jewish thinkers have approached these and other questions, Rabbi Kari H. Tuling elucidates many compelling-and contrasting-ways of thinking about God in Jewish tradition. Thinking about God addresses the genuinely intertextual nature of evolving Jewish God concepts. Just as in Jewish thought the Bible and other historical texts are living documents, still present and relevant to the conversation unfolding now, and just as a Jewish theologian examining a core concept responds to the full tapestry of Jewish thought on the subject all at once, this book is organized topically, covers Jewish sources (including liturgy) from the biblical to the postmodern era, and highlights the interplay between texts over time, up through our own era. A highly accessible resource for introductory students, Thinking about God also makes important yet challenging theological texts understandable. By breaking down each selected text into its core components, Tuling helps the reader absorb it both on its own terms and in the context of essential theological questions of the ages. Readers of all backgrounds will discover new ways to contemplate God. Access a study guide.
This book reveals- for the first time ever - the extraordinary impact of Huldah the prophet on our Bible. She was both a leader of exilic Jews and a principal author of Hebrew Scripture. She penned the Shema: the ardent, prayerful praise that millions of worshipers repeat twice daily. Moreover, Jesus quoted as his own last words the ones that Huldah had written centuries before - "Into your hand I commit my spirit". Huldah was an extraordinary writer - arguably she ranks among the best in Hebrew Scripture. As such, she added to God's Word a feminine aspect that has inspired numberless believers - men and women alike. This book's new techniques reveal that though subjected to extreme verbal abuse, Huldah surmounted her era's high barriers to women. As elder, queen mother, and war leader during the sixth century BCE, she helped shape Israel's history. And what, then, can this book mean to scholars - both women and men? Feminists need a rallying point and a heroine, and Huldah makes a superb one. In years ahead, experts might well place Huldah alongside the very greatest women of antiquity; indeed, they may even conclude that she is among the most influential people in human history.
The mythical story of fallen angels preserved in 1 Enoch and related literature was profoundly influential during the Second Temple period. In this volume renowned scholar Loren Stuckenbruck explores aspects of that influence and demonstrates how the myth was reused and adapted to address new religious and cultural contexts. Stuckenbruck considers a variety of themes, including demonology, giants, exorcism, petitionary prayer, the birth and activity of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the conversion of Gentiles, "apocalyptic" and the understanding of time, and more. He also offers a theological framework for the myth of fallen angels through which to reconsider several New Testament texts-the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, Acts, Paul's letters, and the book of Revelation.
How was the future of Rome, both near and distant in time, imagined by different populations living under the Roman Empire? It emerges from this collection of essays by a distinguished international team of scholars that Romans, Greeks, Jews and Christians had strikingly different answers to that question, revealing profound differences in their conceptions of history and historical time, the purpose of history, the meaning of written words and oral traditions. It is also argued that practically no one living under Rome's rule, including the Romans themselves, did not think about the question in one form or another.
An essential history of the greatest love poem ever written The Song of Songs has been embraced for centuries as the ultimate song of love. But the kind of love readers have found in this ancient poem is strikingly varied. Ilana Pardes invites us to explore the dramatic shift from readings of the Song as a poem on divine love to celebrations of its exuberant account of human love. With a refreshingly nuanced approach, she reveals how allegorical and literal interpretations are inextricably intertwined in the Song's tumultuous life. The body in all its aspects-pleasure and pain, even erotic fervor-is key to many allegorical commentaries. And although the literal, sensual Song thrives in modernity, allegory has not disappeared. New modes of allegory have emerged in modern settings, from the literary and the scholarly to the communal. Offering rare insights into the story of this remarkable poem, Pardes traces a diverse line of passionate readers. She looks at Jewish and Christian interpreters of late antiquity who were engaged in disputes over the Song's allegorical meaning, at medieval Hebrew poets who introduced it into the opulent world of courtly banquets, and at kabbalists who used it as a springboard to the celestial spheres. She shows how feminist critics have marveled at the Song's egalitarian representation of courtship, and how it became a song of America for Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Toni Morrison. Throughout these explorations of the Song's reception, Pardes highlights the unparalleled beauty of its audacious language of love.
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