February 24, 2017

If you’ve been reading along in this series of posts about the basics of a Jewish theology, thank you. I’m thinking there will likely be 3 or so more posts in this series after this one. Let’s turn our attention to Jewish ways of thinking about human nature, morality, and salvation. Again, my thoughts are colored by Reform and Liberal Jewish approaches to these topics, and I’m aware of the diversity of opinion within Jewish thought. Human Nature The opening… Read more

February 21, 2017

  Jewish theology is divided among the three broad subject headings of God, Torah, and Israel. Our last post discussed Torah. In today’s post we’ll discuss God from various Jewish perspectives. Reflecting on the nature of Jewish theology, I’ve started using the preposition, “a” in front of Jewish theology. There really isn’t a definitive Jewish theology, rather, there is a broad sense of Jewish history that has yielded interrelated, but non consistent theologies. Jewish theology is more akin to Wittgenstein’s… Read more

February 19, 2017

  What is Torah? As we continue our tour of Jewish theology we turn our attention to Torah. The word Torah can be translated a few ways, but “instruction”, as in,”teaching” seems most fitting. Torah has several meanings – it can refer to (1) the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures (pentateuch), (2) the entire Jewish bible, also called the Tanakh (Old Testament), or (3) all Jewish sacred writing, the Tanakh and it’s several hundred year commentary, the Talmud,… Read more

February 18, 2017

Perhaps a better title for this next series of posts would be “Jewish theologies” because it’s hard to argue that there’s really one Jewish theology. How many Jewish theologies are there? Well, to adapt the old joke, “if you have three Jewish theologians, you have at least six (or more) Jewish theologies.” Over the next several posts, I’d like to offer insights on Jewish theology – especially for Christians. Why? For two primary reasons: 1) I have many, many Christian… Read more

February 12, 2017

  It’s time to wrap up our recent conversation on Post Rabbinic Judaism. I think we’ve gone as far as we can for the moment. Many agree that today’s forms of Liberal Judaism are increasingly moving away from traditional expressions of Rabbinic Judaism. This has prompted our recent discussion on what does a Post-Rabbinic Judaism look like? Where is Liberal Judaism heading? I think the honest answer is, that despite being able to see the trends, no one really knows…. Read more

February 5, 2017

  I’m certainly not the only person wondering where Judaism, particularly Liberal Judaism, is headed. I’d like to call out three sources of conversation, out of many worthwhile ones, that I believe are useful for the sake of our conversation: Rabbi Arthur Green and his book, Radical Judaism. Rabbi Rami Shapiro and his books and blog. A recent discussion in Mosaic Magazine. Before I discuss these, I’ll ask you to think about what works you have read that take on… Read more

January 31, 2017

Our ongoing conversation about the possibilities of a Post-Rabbinic Judaism have prompted wonderful comments, and many, many emails. Some of these comments and emails ask about where I’m going with all this, what I’m hoping to achieve, and what is my “agenda?” Well, let me spell that out a bit. I’m a convert. I’m Reform. I’m firmly rooted in Liberal Theology. I respect our Orthodox brothers and sisters, as well as others. I’m educated and well read in theology, philosophy,… Read more

January 27, 2017

  As part of our recent conversation concerning Post-Rabbinic Judaism, some background, history, and context would be helpful – especially since many readers aren’t Jewish and may not be familiar with such things. For example, not everyone understands that Judaism comes in a variety of forms and that the Jewish world has “denominations.”  And I’ve had well meaning Christian friends think that Judaism operates much like it did in the Gospels. I’ve been asked if I knew any Pharisees, if… Read more

January 23, 2017

In my last post I began to lay out the argument that Judaism appears heading for a Post-Rabbinic form, that a new way of understanding Judaism and being Jewish is emerging and has been, for the past fifty years or so. Yet what exactly is “Rabbinic” Judaism and what does “Post-Rabbinic” mean? Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since approximately the 6th Century CE. It’s earlier forms emerged with movements such as the Pharisees and… Read more

January 18, 2017

  The question from Torah found on the image to the left contains multiple layers of meaning. It’s primarily the question Jews have asked in exile. It was a fundamental question for Jews when the Temple was destroyed – twice. The word “land” in the question need not be taken literally – it also can mean circumstances or new ways of being. For us today, the question of the Psalmist asks us to explore the ongoing changes within Judaism. Judaism… Read more

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