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Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life Paperback – April 17, 2008


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Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life + The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity + Creation and the Persistence of Evil
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300136358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300136357
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"'Levenson draws out subtle connections and makes fine distinctions, never claiming more for his evidence than what it will bear... The prose of Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel is clear and often powerful, having absorbed much of the poetry and primal strength of the biblical passages it examines. Professor Levenson has written for an audience well beyond his fellow biblical scholars.' Peter Steinfels, New York Times"

About the Author

Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University. He is the author of The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity, and co-author of Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews, both published by Yale University Press.


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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Kevan D. Penvose on February 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Levenson challenges the standard opinion of scholarship, which holds that the notion of bodily resurrection is a late development within Judaism supported only briefly by the early rabbis who employed methods of biblical interpretation at odds with modern scientific criticisms. By examining concepts such as ancestral lineage, family name, Sheol, and key biblical texts, Levenson convincingly demonstrates that the concept of resurrection developed over a long course of time from Judaism's roots,and by neglecting the concept in recent centuries Judaism has missed out on one of it's own treasured tenets of hope. Rarely does a book turn scholarship on its head as this one does -- a must read for Jewish and Christian scriptural, historical, and theological scholars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By brian on September 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fair disclosure: I know Professor Levenson, i.e., as one of his students. But honestly, this is a very, very good book; if you are even remotely interested in the topic of resurrection in ancient Israelite literature and Judaism, then you should buy this volume immediately.

This book is highly readable, relatively jargon-free, and is written as much for educated non-scholarly readers as much as for the academic community. Rarely does a book serve both communities so well.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Mccormack on February 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been reading various books in trying to comprehend original Jewish thoughts and ideas that are embedded in the entirety of scripture, and that is what original drew me to this title. The author is a professor of Jewish studies at Harvard (not sure if that is good or bad...lol) so he seems to be in the know for these things.

As most scholars admit, the doctrine of what is commonly understood these days about the resurrection is something that came about relatively late in history, around the second temple era. The author looks back into earlier scripture in order to glean issues related to the doctrine, and paints a picture of resurrection that is so alien to the modern thought; but that is why I chose a book like this anyway.

"...the Israelite conception of death [is] different from others, especially ours. Whereas we think of a person who is gravely ill, under lethal assault, or sentenced to capital punishment as still alive, the Israelites were quite capable of seeing such an individual as dead." (pg 38)

The Jewish ideas of death, life and resurrection were drastically different from our modern "empty graves" modern doctrine, and that is the meat of this book. What did they believe about life and death, and what was resurrection to them?

"Deriving from the question of where we go after we die, the question is, in fact, misconceived when posed to the Hebrew Bible. For the Hebrew Bible displays very little interest in that question. It is much more likely to focus on the question of whether God's blessing (especially the blessing of children) was or was not realized in the decedent's life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. N. Hixon on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jon D. Levenson's book sets out to undermine an assumption in biblical studies that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is a late and rather awkward development in ancient Israelite belief--it is largely an imposition of foreign thought which has little connection to earlier Jewish tradition. He argues, in contrast, that the resurrection, as it appears finally and unambiguously in Daniel 12, is "both an innovation and a restatement of a tension that had pervaded the religion of Israel from the beginning" (216).
The book had, in my mind, three great strengths. First and most important was Levenson's overall success in regards to his thesis. He does an excellent job of identifying a thread that runs throughout ancient Israel's faith, from its Canaanite origins to the Second Temple period, that testifies to the power of God over death and God's commitment to deliver the covenant people from this power--to given them life. In the first half of the book, this discussion is unfolded slowly, in the detail work (e.g., meticulous discussions of Sheol in the Hebrew Bible, or the Temple as a source of protection against death, an 'intimation of immortality'). The second half seemed to focus more on larger themes such as exile and return or "The Fact of Death and the Promise of Life", or on the use of resurrection-language in the Hebrew Bible prior to the emergence of belief in an eschatological resurrection (e.g. in Isaiah and Ezekiel). This is where the study really picked up for me. He often concludes chapters with a helpful review of the path we've followed so far, always eager to keep in view the points of contact throughout the scriptures leading towards Daniel 12.
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22 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Cebes on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Levenson is one of the top Biblical scholars today, and his previous book Death & Resurrection of the Beloved Son is simply a brilliant and innovative work, albeit demanding. So one expected further great things in Levenson's new book. This book purports to challenge the scholarly consensus that the doctrine of resurrection of the body is a major innovation in traditional Judaism and probably the result of influence from the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, which did include such a doctrine. But the argument falls flat. While there are a couple of mentions of the possibility of reviving the dead in the pre-apocalyptic period, even Levenson himself admits that the standard Jewish view was that bodily death was final. He also points out that what mattered for traditional Judaism was not individual survival after death, but survival of the Jewish people as a whole. However, he does not seem to realize that this last point undercuts his argument, for it suggests that the doctrine of individual bodily resurrection was indeed a dramatic innovation. His argument that bodily resurrection was continuous with traditional Judaism comes down to the extremely weak claim that God is a God of life and promised blessings to Israel. But how you can derive a very specific and alien doctrine of bodily resurrection at judgment day, from this extremely vague generality about God being a god of life, is beyond me. Wouldn't it seem to be more likely that being directly exposed to this new specific doctrine of resurrection among the Persians would be a better explanation? Nor does Levenson explain, if the resurrection idea is continuous with the Jewish tradition, how it is that so many Jewish groups vigorously opposed this new doctrine (e.g. the Saducees).Read more ›
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