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Creation and the Persistence of Evil Reprint Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691029504
ISBN-10: 0691029504
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A doctrine of creatio ex nihilo and a perception of creation as essentially a fait accompli `in the beginning' have stripped much of the drama from the views of creation found in the Hebrew Bible. Levenson seeks--with impressive success--to restore that drama. He provides, thereby, a reflective biblical foundation, based in solid philological and comparative study."--Lee Humphreys, Hebrew Studies

"This masterful biblical and rabbinic study of creation and evil may challenge Christian proponents of creation theology and spirituality and adherents of the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo."--John C. Endres, S.J., Theological Studies

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Product Details

  • Series: Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (November 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691029504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691029504
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By spidir on August 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Creation and the Persistence of Evil is a startling and challenging book. Levenson makes a compelling case for the idea that the act of creation consisted (and consists!) of God's mastering preexistent forces of chaos rather than the simple, unopposed production of something out of nothing--and that these forces were not vanquished but continue to exist under restraints that are subject to fluctuations in God's vigilance. In this view, creation is neither static nor finished but is, as the subtitle suggests, a drama requiring ongoing application of divine attention and energy. And creation was, and is, a process of ordering reality by separating things, by establishing and maintaining boundaries.
This is not an easy book in any respect. I thought I had a fairly workable theological vocabulary until the list of terms I had to look up filled an entire page. The section about the heptadic structure of creation and the Temple as an idealized microcosm of the created world was particularly difficult going. But it was well worth the effort; this is one of the most exciting and insightful books I have read in a long time.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By fdoamerica on November 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Jon Levenson, unable to hide behind God's goodness and omniscience has written an erudite and ponderous examination of theodicy in his work, Creation and the Persistence of Evil. He avoids a quick solution and bravely faces and retains both his belief in God's goodness and God's justice when both are juxtaposed with the "enormous suffering with which humanity seems forever cursed". Ultimately Levenson vindicates God by postulating the belief that God purposely limits His intervention and power to eradicated evil while showing that God continues His march towards the "reign of the perfect justice He so ardently desires". No small feat.
At the core of Christian/Jewish Theology is the belief that God is the creator of all - absolutely all - and he continues to be in complete control of his creation. The firm belief in the absolute deity of God has given rise to Levenson's view of the universe. The problem confronting Levenson is the concealment or hiddenness of God when Evil not only persists but prevails. Levenson, wrestles empirically with the questions "What kind of God is this God who fails to do what he is obligated by character to do?" and "Is a concealed God, a nonexistent God?". Because of the dreadful cognitive dissidence between faith and fatalism Levenson is forced to come up with an answer that a least adequately helps him and us get through our despair, pain and injustice and survive the respective nights of isolation.
The Theology of the Limited God....
Provocative in proposing that God fails, that God can be faulted and even goaded Levenson push his readers to consider the theological construct - the theology of the limited God.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jack M Pyle on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I first of all have read all 5 reviews that at the time of my review had already been posted. I share the enthusiasm of all who have posted reviews for the content. Allan has a great review that I could say ditto and move on. I would like to comment about the book from a couple of aspects.

First of all, I give credit to Gregory Boyd in his footnotes of GOD AT WAR in pointing me toward the book. Boyd had quoted it as a source for explaining Genesis 1:1-2 in his great book. Allan covers items he obtained from Levenson's work to show that God is not static, is still at work in the world, and has things he is still doing and hasn't yet gotten done.

Undoubtedly the Hebrew account of creation describes a "refreshing" of the earth's surface not a creation ex nihilo as most people probably think when they read the Bible.

His great contribution is to give a different "interpretation" of the God of the Old Testament from classical theology. Levenson makes a clear statement in the preface that is supported in all he has written when he says that the Hebrew God is best understood as a "relational" God (one who changes, is not static, impassible, unmovable, brain dead), rather than the stoical classical God of Luther and Calvin, Ware, Sproul, and others.

A second area where his book makes great sense has to do with the sources and the accounts we have in the first place. There is no doubt that the Old Testament is not a u-tube account of God detailing precisely his exact spoken words, actions, deeds, in the story we have in its pages. It is the Hebrew story of God, written by individuals and sources we don't know, yet to be determined as to its accuracy and restrictions upon Him concerning how He lives, interacts with us, conducts his current life, etc. C.S.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Biblical scholarship and theology is often quite dry, but Levenson keeps his reader on the edge of his seat. Having read his other work on the significance of the sacrificial son in Christianity and Judaism, I was quite eager to dig into this book when I purchased it about four years ago. I was not disappointed. It's aimed at the lay reader, so it is not particularly difficult to approach. A fascinating argument.
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