A window into the Jewish understanding of God throughout
history and today—written especially for Christians.
In Jewish Scripture—Christianity's foundation—God's presence is everywhere: in nature, in history, and in the range of human experience. Yet the Torah, Maimonides, and 4,000 years of Jewish tradition all agree on one thing: that God is beyond any form of human comprehension. How, then can Judaism be so crowded with descriptions and images of God? And what can they mean to the ways Christians understand their own faith?
In this special book, Rabbi Neil Gillman guides you through these questions and the countless different ways the Jewish people have related to God, how each originated and what each may mean for you. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or even Jewish, this nuts-and-bolts introduction will both answer your questions—and stimulate new ones.
A theologian who writes as a great teacher, Gillman addresses the key concepts at the heart of Judaism’s approach to God. From Ein Sof (Infinity) to Shekhinah (Presence), Gillman helps you understand what the search for knowing God itself says about Jewish tradition and how you can use the fundamentals of Judaism to strengthen, explore, and deepen your own spiritual foundations. God Is Echad (Unique) God Is Power God Is Person God Is Nice—Sometimes God Is Not Nice—Sometimes God Can Change God Creates God Reveals God Redeems
For a Christian, reading this book is like taking an introductory language course. You may not learn to speak the new language fluently, but in the process of studying it you discover a great deal about your own. The book's subject is God, not Judaism, and its perspective is generally Conservative (the author's denomination) and liberal/mystical in the tradition of his mentor Abraham Joshua Heschel. The Jewish understanding of God is based on the Shema: "The Lord our God alone is God." Gillman (The Death of Death) notes: "In Judaism since the beginning, God was not the conclusion of an argument but rather its point of departure. We begin with the conviction that there is a God in the world and that the world is all God's work." This God is powerful but self-limiting, personal and vulnerable, compassionate but sometimes angry or absent. In the Jewish worldview, God's work of creating, revealing and redeeming is shared with human beings. The mystical belief that "not only are Jews partners with God in redeeming the world, they are also partners with God in redeeming God" may sound radical, but "Christianity, by portraying a God who suffered and died on the Cross, extended this biblical notion... beyond anything that Judaism had ever imagined." Gillman teaches at the Jewish Theological Seminary and frequently speaks to Jewish and Christian congregations. This accessible volume, distilled from a lifetime of interaction with students of both faiths, is a warm and compelling introduction to the God of the Bible.