Rev­e­la­tion and Author­i­ty: Sinai in Jew­ish Scrip­ture and Tradition

Ben­jamin S. Sommer
  • From the Publisher
December 22, 2015

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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