The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism

A compelling interpretation of a foundational concept of Jewish religious life


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Mar 31, 2020
5.51 x 8.5 in.
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The love of God is arguably 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 and wonder how an emotion can be commanded. Jon Levenson traces the origins of the concept to the ancient institution of covenant, showing how covenantal love is a matter neither of sentiment nor of dry legalism. In origin, the love of God is, instead, thoroughly relational in nature, inseparable from the deeply personal two-way relationship that finds expression in God’s mysterious love for the people of Israel, who in turn observe God’s laws out of profound gratitude for his acts of deliverance and continuing faithfulness to him in the face of temptations to abandon the relationship.