Who—or what—is God? Is God like a person? Does God have a gender? Does God have a special relationship with the Jewish people? Does God intervene in our lives? Is God good—and, if yes, why does evil persist in the world? In investigating how Jewish thinkers have approached these and other questions, Rabbi Kari H. Tuling elucidates many compelling—and contrasting—ways of thinking about God in Jewish tradition.
Thinking about God addresses the genuinely intertextual nature of evolving Jewish God concepts. Just as in Jewish thought the Bible and other historical texts are living documents, still present and relevant to the conversation unfolding now, and just as a Jewish theologian examining a core concept responds to the full tapestry of Jewish thought on the subject all at once, this book is organized topically, covers Jewish sources (including liturgy) from the biblical to the postmodern era, and highlights the interplay between texts over time, up through our own era.
A highly accessible resource for introductory students, Thinking about God also makes important yet challenging theological texts understandable. By breaking down each selected text into its core components, Tuling helps the reader absorb it both on its own terms and in the context of essential theological questions of the ages. Readers of all backgrounds will discover new ways to contemplate God.
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About the Author
Rabbi Kari H. Tuling currently serves Congregation Kol Haverim, Glastonbury, Connecticut. Previously she served as rabbi at Temple Beth Israel, Plattsburgh, New York, and as an instructor at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh.
"Rabbi Tuling analyzes a range of Jewish thought on major theological questions throughout history in her sharp debut."—Publishers Weekly
"A highly accessible resource for introductory students, Thinking about God also makes important yet challenging theological texts understandable. By breaking down each selected text into its core components, Tuling helps the reader absorb it both on its own terms and in the context of essential theological questions of the ages. Readers of all backgrounds will discover new ways to contemplate God."—Dov Peretz Elkins, Jewish Media Review
"The differing viewpoints offered in Thinking About God are fascinating. . . . Spiritual seekers and those interested in the development of Jewish theology will find much to enjoy."—Reporter
“Rabbi Kari H. Tuling has provided a comprehensive, learned, and absorbing approach to the central religious issue of faith. In employing voices throughout Jewish tradition as well as her own voice to prod and guide the reader to think in different ways about God, she proves herself a master pedagogue who engages the reader on every page. This is an important religious book!”—Rabbi David Ellenson, chancellor emeritus, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
“Growing out of a university-level Jewish studies course, Thinking about God: Jewish Views serves as a comprehensive and exceptionally accessible complement to the Jewish studies classroom. Tuling’s analysis is delightfully methodical—furnishing thoughtful observations and comparisons among Jewish belief promulgated within traditional sources, subsequently challenged by the modern, emancipatory influences of the European Enlightenment, and further disrupted by postmodern interrogations into the very necessity of God. At the same time, in leading the reader beyond conventional texts on Jewish thought, this work has much in common with the creative, groundbreaking theological reflections of Buber, Levinas, and Rosenzweig.”—Jonathan R. Slater, director, Jewish Studies Program, State University of New York, Plattsburgh
“This is a great book—a wonderful resource for anyone teaching or learning about Jewish theology. Accessible yet scholarly, it opens up critical discussions about what Jews have believed in the past and the present and therefore helps shape the Jewish future. A truly valuable addition to all Jewish bookshelves.”—Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, author of ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens
“Thinking about God presents a fresh, intertextual approach to Jewish theology that will be attractive to students and instructors alike. Furthermore, Tuling offers clear and accessible examples of philosophical concepts, and walks readers step-by-step through complicated texts.”—Rabbi Oren J. Hayon, senior rabbi, Congregation Emanu El Houston
“Kari Tuling takes you by the hand and guides you to an understanding and appreciation of Judaism’s most profound teachings about God. Thinking about God is an invaluable resource for the university and adult education classroom.”—Gila Safran-Naveh, department head, Judaic Studies, McMicken College of Arts and Sciences