Believing And Its Tensions: A Personal Conversation about God, Torah, Suffering and Death in Jewish Thought

Neil Gillman. Jewish Lights, $19.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-58023-669-0
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)
Reviewed on: 06/17/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
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