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Divine Love in Classical Judaism

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Classical Judaism depicts God in human terms. The human emotion of love is therefore imputed to God. Classical Judaism sees God and man as consubstantial, sharing in particular the same emotional traits. God has three major character traits, power, love, and justice. Power pertains to God’s creation, control of history, and imposition of morality on human kind. Love invokes the imagery of family. Justice means God metes out measure for measure. What happens to human beings responds to the actions of the person who is subject to judgment, and fairness governs. All relationships come to their final resolution in the resurrection of the dead and the judgment of humanity for eternal life or eternal death.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Advanced Theology, Bard CollegeAnnendale-on-Hudson, New York


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1. Borowitz Eugene B."“Love”" Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971Vol vol. 11 Jerusalem 523 530 Borowitz, 1971
2. Buechler A. Studies in Sin and Atonement in the Classical Literature of the First Century 119 176 Buechler, 1928
3. Feldman David M. The Jewish Family Relationship 1975 N.Y. Feldman, 1975
4. Glueck Nelson Gottschalk Alfred Hesed in the Bible 1967 Cincinnati Glueck, 1967
5. Gordis Robert Love and Sex: A Modern Jewish Perspective 1978 N.Y. Gordis, 1978
6. Muffs Yochanan Love & Joy. Law, Language and Religion in Ancient Israel 1992 N.Y. and Jerusalem Muffs, 1992
7. Neusner Jacob Vanquished Nation, Broken Spirit. The Virtues of the Heart in Formative Judaism 1987 New York Neusner, 1987
8. Neusner Jacob The Incarnation of God: The Character of Divinity in Formative Judaism 1988 Philadelphia 1988 reprinted: Atlanta, 1992; reprinted: Binghamton, 2000
9. Neusner Jacob The Transformation of Judaism. From Philosophy to Religion 1992 Champaign 1992 paperback: Baltimore, 1999; reprinted: Eugene, 2004
10. Neusner Jacob"The Components of the Classical Documents: From the Whole to the Parts. v. Song of Songs Rabbah" 1997 Atlanta 1997 Part i. Introduction. And Parashiyyot One through Four Part ii. Parashiyyot Five through Eight. And a Topical and Methodical Outline of Song of Songs Rabbah
11. Neusner Jacob Androgynous Judaism. Masculine and Feminine in the Dual Torah 1993 Macon 2003 reprint, Eugene, 2003

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