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Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism (Paraclete Guide) Paperback – September 23, 2011


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Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism (Paraclete Guide) + Giver of Life: The Holy Spirit in Orthodox Tradition (Paraclete Guide)
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Product Details

  • Series: Paraclete Guide
  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (September 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557257043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557257048
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rabbi Rachel Tinoner has given us a wonderful little book. In easy but deceptively profound language, she deftly savors the essential unknowability of God, the ubiquity of Torah and the mystery of redemption. Much more than one of those little "one religion" for people of "another religion," books, Timoner gives us an immensely literate and serious, contemporary Jewish theology. Breath of Life, despite its brevity, is a spiritual tour de force." --Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is the Emanu-El Scholar in residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco and the author several books including Kabbalah: A Love Story

More About the Author

Rabbi Rachel Timoner serves as Associate Rabbi at Leo Baeck Temple, a 650-household congregation in Los Angeles, where her focus is on social justice, spiritual life, and lifelong learning. She was born in Miami, Florida, received a B.A. from Yale University, and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and received numerous honors. From 1991 to 2004 she worked with social justice non-profit organizations, was named an Unsung Hero by KQED (PBS) and a Next Generation Leadership Fellow by the Rockefeller Foundation, and received the Do Something award for community service. Breath of Life is her first book.



Customer Reviews

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I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to expand his/her spiritual path in Judaism.
Amazon Customer
Timoner notes that most Christians think of the Spirit in terms of the Trinity, a theological construct that is foreign to Judaism.
Robert Cornwall
Chapter Two, Spirit In Us, was a very moving essay uniting the creation of humankind with the Spirit of God.
Jeffrey Borden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Cornwall on October 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's true that the Spirit is present in the Hebrew Bible, sometimes seemingly incognito, but many Christians have this sense that the Spirit really wasn't very active until Pentecost. I've found myself, in some of my own writings on the Holy Spirit, making that claim. But, perhaps there is more to the story than many Christians have realized. Having a Jewish guide to this topic would be helpful, and help has arrived. I will confess that I've never really read anything specifically Jewish on this topic until I took up Rabbi Rachel Timoner's new book from Paraclete Press -- Breath of Life. And what a breath of fresh air this book is.

I've read a lot of books on the Holy Spirit, including another recent contribution on the Holy Spirit published by Paraclete Press, Amos Yong's excellent "Who Is the Holy Spirit?" (2011). While many of these books are helpful and contribute to my understanding of the nature and function of the Holy Spirit, rarely do I see something really new and refreshing. Breath of Life offered me something new and even revolutionary. Timoner writes as a Jew, knowing that much of her audience for this book likely will be Christians (Paraclete Press is, after all, a Christian publishing company). I wasn't sure what to expect, though I wasn't expecting to learn anything all that new and revolutionary, and yet I found it that truly opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the Spirit, recognizing that the Spirit didn't just come and go, but the Spirit was and is present and active in all of life's experiences.

The starting point of this discussion of the Spirit involves definitions. Timoner notes that most Christians think of the Spirit in terms of the Trinity, a theological construct that is foreign to Judaism.
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By Poon Yiu-lun on June 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author demonstrates a strong and thorough understanding on the Jewish traditions. Arguments are sound. It lures you to spend time on the other books that the author writes.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is the third book I've read of the six that have been published by Paraclete Press in a series on the subject of the Holy Spirit in various faith traditions (see here and here for reviews on other titles I have read). I have intentions of reading and reviewing all of them eventually, but at this juncture, I can report that I am greatly impressed with the series thus far. Each of the three titles I have read are very scholarly, but not difficult to read and respectfully objective with regard to viewpoints outside the particular tradition they are written.

As the subtitle reads, Breath of Life is written from the Jewish perspective. My history and tradition is of the Christian persuasion, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I began Breath of Life. What I did find, was not only refreshing, but in many ways revolutionary, even to the point that some of my theology concerning the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology) has been changed. Perhaps it might be better stated instead of revolutionary, I rephrase my new awareness as evolutionary.

Why the change?

What was it that brought me new awareness that would change my thinking about the Holy Spirit? I think a general understanding of what is meant by "spirit" from the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) was very influential. Rabbi Timoner shares much in the introduction that helps to shed light on some of the translation issues we encounter; this was enlightening to me. Another influential point was the Rabbi's writing in Part One - Creation: Breath of Life; specifically the chapters two through four were very poetic and extremely moving to me. My intellect, my emotion, and my spirit were all equally moved as I read and learned things I had not considered before about the movement and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
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