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Imagining the Jewish God

Jewish art has always been with us, but so has a broader canvas of Jewish imaginings: in thought, in emotion, in text, and in ritual practice. Imagining the Jewish God was there in the beginning, as it were, engraved and embedded in the ways Jews lived and responded to their God. This book attempts to give voice to these diverse imaginings of the Jewish God, and offers these collected essays and poems as a living text meant to provoke a substantive and nourishing dialogue. A responsive, living covenant lies at the heart of this book-a covenantal reciprocity that actively engages the dynamics of Jewish thinking and acting in dialogue with God. The contributors to this volume are committed to this form of textual reasoning, even as they all move us beyond the "text" as foundational for the imagined "people of the book." That people, we submit, lives and breathes in and beyond the texts of poetry, narrative, sacred literature, film, and graphic mediums. We imagine the Jewish people, and the covenant they respond to, as provocative intimations of the divine. The essays in this volume seek to draw these vocal intimations out so that we can all hear their resonant call.
Product Details

Table of Contents

I. Prologue: Inscription 1. A Conversation about God, Norman Finkelstein and Michael Heller 2. Seeing Divine Writing: Thoughts on the Drama of the Outside within the Technology of Inscription, Lewis Freedman 3. Questions Posed to Jonathan Boyarin, Jonathan Boyarin II. Out of Levant: Biblical and Rabbinic Imaginings of God 4. Classical Jewish Ethics and Theology in the Halakhic Tractates of the Mishnah, Jonathan Wyn Schofer 5. What the Hebrew Bible Can/Cannot Teach us About God, Kenneth Seeskin 6. The Bible as Torah: How J, E, P and D Can Teach Us About God, Benjamin Sommer 7. Job: A Fragmented Genealogy, Leonard Kaplan 8. Two Endings, Three Openings, Alicia Ostriker III. Clinging to God: The Jewish Theological Imagination 9. The Repersonalization of God: Monism and Theological Polymorphism in Zoharic and Hasidic Imagination, Jay Michaelson 10.The Word of God is No Word At All: Intimacy and the Nothingness of God, Shaul Magid 11. Who is God?, Lenn Goodman 12. Jewish Theology and the Transcendental Turn, Randi Rashkover 13. The Perils of Covenant Theology: The Cases of David Hartman and David Novak, Martin Kavka 14. Freud's Imagining God, David Novak IV. Inscription: God in Jewish Literature and Culture 15. God of Language, Michael Marmur 16. Location, Location, Location: Toward a Theology of Prepositions, Rebecca Alpert 17. Rethinking Milton's Hebraic God, Noam Reisner 18. Yosl Rakover Speaks to G-d, Elissa J. Sampson 19. 'Don't Forget the Potatoes': Imagining God Through Food, Susan Handelman 20. Imagining the Jewish God in Comics, Ken Koltun-Fromm V. Poetics: God in Language 21. God's Inside/The Line of a Poem-A Philosophical Commentary, Zachary Braiterman 22. Reconciling God, Revisioning Prayer, and Reaching into the Spaces Between in Selected Works by Alicia Ostriker, Marcia Falk, and Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Alison Creighton 23. Select Poetry, Charles Bernstein 24. Select Poetry and Commentary, Laynie Browne 25. Select Poetry, Clive Meachen 26. Select Poetry and Commentary, Howard Schwartz 27. Select Poetry and Commentary, Rachel Blau DuPlessis 28. Select Poetry, Bill Sherman 29. Select Poetry, David Weisstub 30. Select Poetry, James Chapson 31. Select Poetry, Jack Hirschman 32. Selections from The Days Between, Marcia Falk 33. Select Poetry and Prose, Jeff Friedman 34. Select Poetry, Gerald Stern 35. Select Poetry, Michael Castro 36. Select Poetry and Commentary, Jerry Rothenberg 37. Select Poetry, Alicia Ostriker

About the Author

Leonard Kaplan is professor emeritus of law at the University of Wisconsin. Ken Koltun-Fromm is professor of religion at Haverford College.


The Jewish tradition presents God in graphic, anthropomorphic terms and, at the same time, as beyond any description. Secularism and the Holocaust have blinded some of us to the realm of the transcendent altogether, but many others continue to experience the transcendent in both the everyday and the unusual but do not know how to unpack that experience. The editors of Imagining the Jewish God have thus wisely chosen to include many of the best minds and hearts and many types of materials, from philosophy to poetry, to help us see the range of Jews' attempt to describe their experience of the transcendent and what that experience means for their lives. -- Elliot Dorff, American Jewish University, author of Knowing God: Jewish Journeys to the Unknowable There has long been in contemporary Jewish thought a large absence just where, one imagined, God ought to be. This volume's editors and contributors jump bravely into the breach, armed only with classical scholarship, philosophic understanding, literary sensitivity, moral urgency and, before and after all else, imagination. The result is this passionate book, gathering living ideas in mid-flight and words pushed to their limits, marking new traces across that Void. -- Yehudah Mirsky, Brandeis University, author of Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution

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