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The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Library of Jewish Ideas)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  5 reviews
The love of God is perhaps the most essential element in Judaism—but also one of the most confounding. In biblical and rabbinic literature, the obligation to love God appears as a formal commandment. Yet most people today think of love as a feeling. How can an emotion be commanded? How could one ever fulfill such a requirement? The Love of God places these scholarly and ex ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 320 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Princeton University Press
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Matthew Colvin
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable. Levenson deals with the concept of the love of God and its relation to Torah. He investigates this idea in the ANE suzerainty treaties that are the cultural background of the Biblical language of covenant; in the idea of mitzvah and martyrdom as articulated by the Tannaim and Amoraim; in the erotic imagery of the prophets Hosea and Ezekiel, and in the Song of Songs; in the thought of medieval Jewish thinkers like Bahya and Maimonides; and in the debate between Martin Buber and Fr ...more
Robin Friedman
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What is the nature of the love of God in Judaism? Does the love flow in both directions or does it flow only from humans to God? Jon Levenson, the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University. explores a multitude of related understandings of the love of God in his new book "The Love of God: Divine, Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism". (2015) The book is relatively short, but it is learned and densely written. It is a book that must be pondered and stud ...more
Mich
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish
This book analyzes the Love of God in both of its literal directions-- love of God by Israel and love of Israel by God. Jon Levenson examines the commandment ," You will love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might," from the point of view of what it means to command love. Ancient sources describe relationships between suzerainty and vassals. Biblical, Rabbinic, and modern writings (Buber and Rosenzweig) are discussed. The idea of closely following ritual observ ...more
Michael
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ironically, this helped me better understand love between people, but that also helped me better understand love for God and the love of God. Parts of the book were dry, but I found it strangely compelling.
The Jewish Book Council
Review by Bob Goldfarb for the Jewish Book Council.
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Jon D. Levenson is the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at the Harvard Divinity School.

He is a scholar of the Bible and of the rabbinic midrash, with an interest in the philosophical and theological issues involved in biblical studies. He studies the relationship between traditional modes of Biblical interpretation and modern historical criticism. He also studies the relation
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“the selfless disregard of reward brings the greatest reward. There is room for reward and punishment within a structure of covenantal love, but there is no room for genuine covenantal love premised on reward and punishment alone.” 0 likes
“Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Here, the focus is not on the irrevocable covenantal promises so prominent in Genesis but rather on the proven record of fidelity and integrity that rabbinic thought attributes to those national ancestors. Presented with God’s offer, Israel protests her unworthiness—people do not, after all, deserve to have a specific person love them to the point of proposing marriage—” 0 likes
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