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The Resource The great shift : encountering God in biblical times, James L. Kugel

The great shift : encountering God in biblical times, James L. Kugel

Label
The great shift : encountering God in biblical times
Title
The great shift
Title remainder
encountering God in biblical times
Statement of responsibility
James L. Kugel
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
"A world-renowned scholar uses the Bible's own words to understand a fateful change that occurred during the biblical era, one that would ultimately determine the whole way in which Jews and Christians would encounter God ever since. A great mystery lies at the heart of the Bible. Early on, people seem to live in a world entirely foreign to our own. God appears to Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and others; He buttonholes Moses and Isaiah and Jeremiah and tells them what to say. Then comes the Great Shift, and Israelites stop seeing God or hearing His voice. Instead, later Israelites are 'in search of God, ' reaching out to a distant, omniscient deity in prayers, as people have done ever since. What brought about this change? The answers come from the Bible and other ancient texts, archaeology and anthropology and recent advances in neuroscience. Ultimately, the book leads readers to the most basic matter of all, the nature of humanity's encounter with God from earliest times to our own day. The Great Shift is a landmark book, the culmination of a scholar's lifelong reckoning with the foundational text of Judaism and Christianity. James Kugel, whose religious conviction shines through his scientific exploration of the Bible and the ancient world, has written a masterwork for believers and nonbelievers alike, a profound meditation on the apprehension of God, then and now."--Jacket
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Bible expert Kugel (How to Read the Bible), a Harvard professor emeritus of Hebrew literature, puts his decades of interdisciplinary scholarship to effective use in this thought-provoking and ambitious attempt to answer a challenging question: “What was the actual, lived reality of God in biblical times, and why have most people lost it today?” Kugel takes the texts literally when they refer to people such as Abraham and Moses hearing the voice of God or having visions of the divine, arguing that they “must have felt that they were telling the truth, at least in some sense.” His fascinating quest for an answer touches on virtually all of the Hebrew Bible, examining its changing theologies, including its views of human free will, as well as theories of the evolution of the self and the development of the concept of a soul. Kugel concludes that “as God came to be conceived as increasingly distant and abstract, the human went from being a general form of self-reference... to being a special, separate entity inside the human body, an entity uniquely attached to God,” and eventually this led to our “modern sealed-off individualism.” Kugel demands a lot from his readers, but all students of Scripture, whether religious or not, will benefit from this impressive synthesis. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed 07/10/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 28, p)
  • Renowned Orthodox Jewish scholar Kugel (professor emeritus, Hebrew literature, Harvard Univ.; How To Read the Bible) here attempts to enter the world of the Hebrew Bible, to answer the question: "What was the actual, lived reality of God in biblical times, and why have most people lost it today?" Using the tools of modern scholarship from a variety of disciplines, Kugel goes beyond the typical dismissal of the biblical experience as primitive and naïve. Instead, he writes from a position of faith, allowing for the possibility of something real behind these divine-human encounters, even as human consciousness has evolved. This book thoughtfully explores the experiences of biblical figures such as Abraham, Moses, and the prophet Isaiah, drawing on clues from the ancient contexts of the scriptures' writers. Much of this work also focuses on the dramatic shift that occurs during the biblical era on topics such as prayer, the soul, and, most significantly, one's sense of self. This shift lays the foundation for many modern experiences of God as seemingly more distant than was the case in biblical times. VERDICT Recommended for spiritual seekers and those interested in biblical scholarship.—Brian Sullivan, Alfred Univ. Lib., NY --Brian Sullivan (Reviewed 09/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 14, p124)
  • /* Starred Review */ An inquiry into how the contemporaries of Solomon and Sheba viewed the presence of the deity and why the reality of that highly personal divine/mortal relationship changed over time.Talking to God is usually a silent affair these days, lest those around the conversant think him or her crazy. By Kugel's (Emeritus, Hebrew Literature/Harvard Univ.; In the Valley of the Shadow: On the Foundations of Religious Belief, 2011, etc.) lively, inviting account, the reason we read today of the likes of Adam and Moses talking before the living presence of the deity is that they really did talk to a living deity; in their reality, there was no question whether God existed or not, only how people came to him and he to them. Probing not just the texts, but also the secondary literature of neuroscience and anthropology, the author charts a trajectory that follows something like a child's development of the sense of self, from the world as "not-us," "this undifferentiated Outside that did almost everything," to a place that we navigate and even master. At first, Kugel writes, God appeared, lifting the veil of illusion. Later, that work was done by intermediaries—by angels and souls and psalms that marked a newfound "steady gaze inward," as if self-regarding humans somehow came to say, don't worry, we've got this, even as God replied through the likes of "a human-sized angel who could communicate with prophets and sages by addressing them face-to-face." Readers may feel that Kugel himself is a little nostalgic for the Yahweh who needed no temples or cedar palaces but instead found his home among the tents and tabernacles. Even so, the author is at home in every era from that of the ancient texts to our own, and he makes for an excellent guide. Biblical exegesis at its best: a brilliant and sensitive reading of ancient texts, all with an eye to making them meaningful to our time by making sense of what they meant in their own.(Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2017)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10576553
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Kugel, James L
Dewey number
296.3/11
Illustrations
maps
Index
index present
LC call number
BM610
LC item number
.K79 2017
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • God (Judaism)
  • Spirituality
  • RELIGION
  • RELIGION
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
encountering God in Biblical times
Label
The great shift : encountering God in biblical times, James L. Kugel
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 413-441) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Part I: "A thousand ages in Thy sight ... ". Seeing biblically ; Joseph and his brothers ; The last wills of Jacob's sons -- Part II: Divine encounters. Adam and Eve and the undifferentiated outside ; The fog of divine beings ; Eternity in ancient temples ; Imagining prophecy ; The Book of Psalms and speaking to God -- Part III. Transformations. To monotheism ... and beyond ; A sacred agreement at Sinai ; The emergence of the biblical soul ; Remembering God ; The end of prophecy? -- Part IV. In search of God. The elusive individual ; Humans in search ; Outside the Temple ; Personal religion ; Some conclusions
Control code
ocn992689016
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
xvi, 476 pages
Isbn
9780544520554
Lccn
2017019809
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
maps
System control number
(OCoLC)992689016
Label
The great shift : encountering God in biblical times, James L. Kugel
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 413-441) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Part I: "A thousand ages in Thy sight ... ". Seeing biblically ; Joseph and his brothers ; The last wills of Jacob's sons -- Part II: Divine encounters. Adam and Eve and the undifferentiated outside ; The fog of divine beings ; Eternity in ancient temples ; Imagining prophecy ; The Book of Psalms and speaking to God -- Part III. Transformations. To monotheism ... and beyond ; A sacred agreement at Sinai ; The emergence of the biblical soul ; Remembering God ; The end of prophecy? -- Part IV. In search of God. The elusive individual ; Humans in search ; Outside the Temple ; Personal religion ; Some conclusions
Control code
ocn992689016
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
xvi, 476 pages
Isbn
9780544520554
Lccn
2017019809
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
maps
System control number
(OCoLC)992689016

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