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Radical Judaism

Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Radical Judaism
    Book Description:

    How do we articulate a religious vision that embraces evolution and human authorship of Scripture? Drawing on the Jewish mystical traditions of Kabbalah and Hasidism, path-breaking Jewish scholar Arthur Green argues that a neomystical perspective can help us to reframe these realities, so they may yet be viewed as dwelling places of the sacred. In doing so, he rethinks such concepts as God, the origins and meaning of existence, human nature, and revelation to construct a new Judaism for the twenty-first century.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15233-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-15)

    The author of this book is a Jewish seeker. I have been reading, studying, writing, and teaching theology to Jews—including many present and future rabbis—for nearly half a century. Yet I still think of myself primarily as a seeker. That means living in pursuit of an everpresent yet ever-elusive God, the One of Whom Scripture says: “Seek His face, always” (Ps. 105:4).¹ There is no end to such seeking. But it also means questing after truth, or at leastmytruth, one that wells up from my own life experience and feels authentic to who I am, as...

  5. one Y-H-W-H: GOD AND BEING
    (pp. 16-33)

    I open with a theological assertion. As a religious person I believe that the evolution of species is the greatest sacred drama of all time. It is a tale—perhaps eventhetale—in which the divine waits to be discovered. It dwarfs all the other narratives, memories, and images that so preoccupy the mind of religious traditions, including our own. We Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all overinvolved with proclaiming—or questioning—the truth of our own particular stories. Did Moses really receive the Torah from God at Mount Sinai? Did Jesus truly rise from the tomb? Was Muhammad...

    (pp. 34-78)

    Our Western religious history begins in the ancient Near East, among peoples who worshipped sky gods, deities who dwelt first within and later beyond the heavens and who were manifest in lofty mountains and mighty storms. Our ancestors celebrated the ancient memory of these gods, including their defeat of the netherworld gods, dwellers in the darkness and the deep. The reframing of the Creation story was part of a much larger evolution toward what was to become Israelite monotheism as it emerged in the later prophetic period. But the pre-Israelite polytheistic legacy, hidden as it was behind the harmonizing face...

    (pp. 79-119)

    To find this message—that God alone exists—at the heart of Judaism is to read Torah with the mystics’ eyes. You may find God wherever you are. Everything—“even” the corporeal world—will lead you back to God, since none of it has existence outside God. There is only One. This is the essential teaching of mystics in every tradition; their task is to read tradition as a vehicle to convey this message. Although the core teaching seems on the face of things to be entirely simple, it cuts so deeply against the grain of ordinary human perception and...

    (pp. 120-166)

    Where are you?” We are being called. The voice calls out to us from every corner of the natural world.Mi-kenaf ha-arets zemirot sham’anu, as Scripture says (Is. 24:16). “We hear singing from the corners of the earth.”¹ But that same voice calls out to us from within the Torah, text and tradition also serving asmikra’ey kodesh, “holy callers,” calling us to a life of holiness, dedicated awareness of the One that stands behind the multiplicity of our lives.

    The voice calls out to every person, but we hear it uniquely as Jews, a people from the start constituted...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 167-190)
    (pp. 191-194)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 195-197)