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Winner of the 2016 Goldstein-Goren Award for the best book in Jewish Thought At once a study of biblical theology and modern Jewish thought, this volume describes a “participatory theory of revelation” as it addresses the ways biblical authors and contemporary theologians alike understand the process of revelation and hence the authority of the law. Benjamin Sommer maintain Winner of the 2016 Goldstein-Goren Award for the best book in Jewish Thought At once a study of biblical theology and modern Jewish thought, this volume describes a “participatory theory of revelation” as it addresses the ways biblical authors and contemporary theologians alike understand the process of revelation and hence the authority of the law. Benjamin Sommer maintains that the Pentateuch’s authors intend not only to convey God’s will but to express Israel’s interpretation of and response to that divine will. Thus Sommer’s close readings of biblical texts bolster liberal theologies of modern Judaism, especially those of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Franz Rosenzweig. This bold view of revelation puts a premium on human agency and attests to the grandeur of a God who accomplishes a providential task through the free will of the human subjects under divine authority. Yet, even though the Pentateuch’s authors hold diverse views of revelation, all of them regard the binding authority of the law as sacrosanct. Sommer’s book demonstrates why a law-observant religious Jew can be open to discoveries about the Bible that seem nontraditional or even antireligious.


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Winner of the 2016 Goldstein-Goren Award for the best book in Jewish Thought At once a study of biblical theology and modern Jewish thought, this volume describes a “participatory theory of revelation” as it addresses the ways biblical authors and contemporary theologians alike understand the process of revelation and hence the authority of the law. Benjamin Sommer maintain Winner of the 2016 Goldstein-Goren Award for the best book in Jewish Thought At once a study of biblical theology and modern Jewish thought, this volume describes a “participatory theory of revelation” as it addresses the ways biblical authors and contemporary theologians alike understand the process of revelation and hence the authority of the law. Benjamin Sommer maintains that the Pentateuch’s authors intend not only to convey God’s will but to express Israel’s interpretation of and response to that divine will. Thus Sommer’s close readings of biblical texts bolster liberal theologies of modern Judaism, especially those of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Franz Rosenzweig. This bold view of revelation puts a premium on human agency and attests to the grandeur of a God who accomplishes a providential task through the free will of the human subjects under divine authority. Yet, even though the Pentateuch’s authors hold diverse views of revelation, all of them regard the binding authority of the law as sacrosanct. Sommer’s book demonstrates why a law-observant religious Jew can be open to discoveries about the Bible that seem nontraditional or even antireligious.

42 review for Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo

    The author makes a case for what he calls a "participatory theory of revelation". He shows how the Bible lends itself to be read in light of this theory. He demonstrates there is ambiguity (or some tension) in relation to the idea of revelation in the Sinai texts. Then he argues that later traditions reflect that ambiguity/tension already extant in the Bible. Indeed, this is a fascinating book for you who want to develop an intelligent faith. This book is written from a Jewish perspective. Howev The author makes a case for what he calls a "participatory theory of revelation". He shows how the Bible lends itself to be read in light of this theory. He demonstrates there is ambiguity (or some tension) in relation to the idea of revelation in the Sinai texts. Then he argues that later traditions reflect that ambiguity/tension already extant in the Bible. Indeed, this is a fascinating book for you who want to develop an intelligent faith. This book is written from a Jewish perspective. However, it also will be extremely relevant for all people of faith who have some kind of respect and affection for the Hebrew Bible.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Lynch

    Fascinating read, with some fairly challenging conclusions about the distinctiveness of the Tanakh vs. later trads.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mich

    Benjamin Sommer presents an eye opening recounting of the different versions of how Israel receive the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Torah at Mt.Sinai by examining the different versions both within Exodus as well as in Deuteronomy. He points out how the different authors, viz., E, P, J, etc dealt with whether the issue of whether revelation was received directly by Israel from God or whether it was stenographicaly recorded by Moses and then presented to Israel. This had great import as t Benjamin Sommer presents an eye opening recounting of the different versions of how Israel receive the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Torah at Mt.Sinai by examining the different versions both within Exodus as well as in Deuteronomy. He points out how the different authors, viz., E, P, J, etc dealt with whether the issue of whether revelation was received directly by Israel from God or whether it was stenographicaly recorded by Moses and then presented to Israel. This had great import as to whether humans interpreted God's law and the implications as to the continued reinterpretations as seen in the Talmud. Much discussion as to the primacy of the Oral Tradition over the Written Tradition. ( Moses only wrote down the Torah 40 years after Sinai.) an excellent example of the analysis of who wrote the Torah by using the example of Sinai.

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