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God, Conceptions

The Flood Changes God Not Humanity

When YHWH sees the evil ways of humanity, he initially decides to wipe them out, but then determines to save Noah’s family. After the flood and Noah’s sacrifice, YHWH promises that He will never again destroy the earth and all life, even though humanity will continue in its evil ways. Thus, the story chronicles not the moral and emotional advancement of humanity but of YHWH.

Prof.

Ronald Hendel

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Is the Divine Origin of the Torah Really Incompatible with Maimonides’ Philosophical Principles?

Some contemporary scholars have argued that Maimonides only meant to claim for the masses that God revealed to Moses the Torah as we have it today, that he himself could not have accepted the Divine authorship of Torah since it is incompatible with his philosophical principles. Yet, a correct understanding of Maimonides yields no such incompatibility, and, indeed, there is to no reason not to take him at his word.

Prof.

Charles H. Manekin

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The God of All or the God of the Jews?

The Theological Tension of Aleinu

Prof. Rabbi

Reuven Kimelman

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The Maimonidean Akedah

Dr.

Chaim Trachtman

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Moses’ Commandments: The Secret of R. Nissim of Marseilles

In the 14th century, R. Nissim of Marseilles suggested that God told Moses only the general command for the Mishkan and the laws in the Torah, and Moses himself wrote the details and attributed them to God as a way of glorifying God. A close look at many passages in Deuteronomy suggests that this was an early conception of Moses’ role in commanding the mitzvot.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Tabernacle: A Post-Exilic Polemic Against Rebuilding the Temple

The Priestly Torah discusses the Tabernacle at extraordinary length, emphasizing its portability. Nothing in P ever says this structure was meant to be temporary. P’s Tabernacle was not foreshadowing the Temple, but was a polemic against Haggai and Zechariah’s agitation to build the Second Temple.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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Hosea: Loving God Erotically

A biblical metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel first found in the prophet Hosea

Prof.

Carl S. Ehrlich

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The Potential Contribution of the Allegorical Interpretation of Tzimtzum to the Dilemma of Post-Liberal Theology

Prof.

Tamar Ross

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Yom Ha-kippurim: The Biblical Significance

Prof.

Baruch J. Schwartz

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God's Flaming Fiery Anger

Dr.

Deena Grant

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Theology, Not Biblical Studies

Dr.

Tova Ganzel

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Shema Yisrael: In What Way Is "YHWH One"?

The Shema has many interpretations, philosophical, eschatological, national, etc. A historical-critical way to understand the Shema is to read it (and Deuteronomy more broadly) against the backdrop of Assyrian domination, when Assyria touted their god Ashur as the supreme master of the world.

Rabbi

Daniel M. Zucker

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God Abandons the Garden of Eden and Dwells with the Cherubim

Four Aramaic targumim (ancient translations) have God, and not just cherubim, taking up residence east of the garden. This is based on a slightly different vocalization of the Hebrew text, which is likely a more original reading than our current biblical text (MT).[1]

Dr.

Raanan Eichler

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The Mitzvah to Love God: Shadal's Polemic against the Philosophical Interpretation

Philosophically inclined rabbis, such as Maimonides, attempted to understand the mitzvah to love God in Aristotelian terms, imagining God as a non-anthropomorphic abstract being. Shadal argues that this elitist approach twists both Torah and philosophy, and in its place, he offers a moralistic approach that can be achieved by all Jews.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Zichronot: Asking an Omniscient God to Remember

Do we really want God to remember all that we did?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Is Judaism Meant to have Exclusive Religious Secrets?

An Explication of Deuteronomy 29:28

Rabbi

David Levin-Kruss

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How Do We Conceive the Divine?

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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Who Was Balaam's God: YHWH El? Or Bull El?

Dr. Rabbi

Robert Harris

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Loving God Beyond the Way You Love Ashurbanipal

Israel had a vassal treaty with Assyria which commanded them to love King Ashurbanipal, a "love" that brought with it legal requirements and penalty clause. Deuteronomy's command that Israel "love God" is best understood in this context, but what about God's love for Israel?

Dr.

Deena Grant

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When Pharaoh's Stubbornness Caught God by Surprise

A Supplementary Approach to the Theological Conundrum of Pharaoh’s Heavy Heart

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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How Does God Answer the Question: "What Is Your Name?"

A redaction-critical answer to why the Torah has God commanding Moses to tell the Israelites two different names, Ehyeh and YHWH.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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God's Appearance to Abraham: Vision or Visit?

Prof.

Ben-Zion Katz M.D.

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A Hasidic Matan Torah

The Revelation of the Divine Voice Within 

Yoel S.

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In the Presence of God

The Difference between God’s “Name (שם)” and “Presence (כבוד)”

Dr.

Michael Carasik

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A Parasha Pregnant with the Past, Present, and Future of Israel's Protagonists

Three distinct themes in Parashat Vayetzei are intertwined: Jacob’s encounter with God at Bethel, the birth of Jacob’s sons, and Jacob’s departure from Haran. 

Prof.

Zvi Ben-Dor Benite

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Exploring the Multiple Metaphors for God in Shirat Haazinu

Prof. Rabbi

Andrea L. Weiss

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Comparing Curses

Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are often lumped together, as the two great curses, but their careful comparison reveals some fundamental and surprising differences.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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When the God of Justice Goes Rogue

The haftarah for Parashat Yitro (Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6), which portrays God’s opening revelation to Isaiah in the Temple, perfectly complements the parasha, which focuses on God’s revelation to Israel on Mount Sinai. But whereas the Sinai revelation portrays YHWH as the God of justice, the revelation to Isaiah paints a very different portrait, bringing up the uestion: What should we do when God goes rogue?

Prof.

Marvin A. Sweeney

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Differing Conceptions of the Divine Creator

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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A Torah of Participatory Revelation in Context

Situating Sommer’s theology of participatory revelation and halachic fluidity among other Jewish thinkers and writings: Heschel, Maharal, Rosenzweig, and the Zohar

Prof. Rabbi

Alexander Even-Chen

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