Synopses & Reviews
"After a half-century at the Jewish Theological Seminary as student, teacher, and administrator, Gillman offers a masterful summary of challenges facing religious believers. He focuses on God, revelation, suffering, and death. His thinking has moved from supernaturalism to a naturalist understanding of the Jewish view of God, Torah, and ritual. The chapter on God explores two approaches to the problem of evil: Richard Rubenstein adhered to the death-of-God theology; Harold Kushner claimed that God is not all-powerful. Gillman considers revelation in the Torah chapter, denying that God literally revealed the Torah at Sinai. He calls this a myth, by which he means a group of thoughts that help people understand how the world works. The chapter on suffering repeats his earlier discussion of the problem of evil, concluding that theology is inadequate except to help us cope with tragedy. In his final chapter, Gillman calls death 'the ultimate enigma' and concludes 'with a sense of theological incompleteness.' This book forthrightly confronts the challenges faced by religious believers. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An intimate and candid examination of the changing nature of belief and where it can lead us--from the life experience of one of Judaism's leading thinkers.
For over five decades, Rabbi Neil Gillman has helped people think through the most challenging questions at the heart of being a believing religious person. In this intimate rethinking of his own theological journey he explores the changing nature of belief and the complexities of reconciling the intellectual, emotional and moral questions of his own searching mind and soul.
- If what we have in recognizing, speaking of and experiencing God is a wide-ranging treasury of humanly crafted metaphors, what, then, is the ultimate reality, the ultimate nature of God? What lies beyond the metaphors?
- If humanity was an active partner in revelation--if the human community participated in what was revealed and gave it meaning--what then should be the authority of Jewish law?
- How do we cope--intellectually, emotionally and morally--with suffering, the greatest challenge to our faith commitment, relationship with God and sense of a fundamentally ordered world?
- Death is inevitable but why is it built in as part of the total life experience?