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Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism (Paraclete Guide) Paperback – September 23, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
--those who struggle how to reconcile their belief in science with a belief in God
--those who wonder if the Hebrew Scripture/Old Testament is relevant to today
--those who seek answers to the eternal questions of why we exist and why our existence matters.
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.Read more ›
Timoner received her B.A. from Yale University, was ordained at Hebrew Union College, has won several awards, is an advocate of justice and the Assistant Rabbi at Leo Boeck Temple in L.A. She grew up as a synagogue-drop-out with no particular interest in God or religion. That was until she began to pay attention to life and had the growing sense of the transcendent, a reality she names as God. The Hebrew words for spirit, ruach and neshamah, name God's immanence and transcendence. Timoner traces the role of the spirit of God through the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition exploring three themes which correspond to the parts of this book: Creation, Revelation & Redemption.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A treatise that is simultaneously philosophically insightful yet highly readable and concise. It is obvious that years of personal introspection preceded this writing. Read morePublished 11 months ago by sidney johnsonw
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.Published on June 14, 2013 by Yiu-lun POON
Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism by Rabbi Rachel Timoner
Reading the title of this book is quite puzzling to me, seeing to it that I find glimpses of God as... Read more