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Sinai and Zion [Kindle Edition]

Jon D. Levenson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
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Book Description

A treasury of religious thought and faith--places the symbolic world of the Bible in its original context.

Editorial Reviews


"A challenging, exciting work in Jewish theology. Not to be missed." -- -- Ruth Segal Bernards, Sh'ma

"A significant advance in Jewish-Christian understanding could be made if Christians would read Sinai and Zion." -- -- John Simpson, Provident Book Finder

"Beautifully written, theologically sensitive, and ecumenical." -- -- Richard J. Clifford, S.J., Weston School of Theology

"It is a book which has been longed for. It is also a very good book." -- -- T. R. Hobbs, Biblical Theology Bulletin

"The best introduction I know to the Jewish faith presented in the Hebrew Scripture." -- -- Eugene B. Borowitz, Hebrew Union College-jewish Institute of Religion

About the Author

Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, the author of Creation and the Persistence of Evil, and associate editor of Harper's Bible commentary.

Product Details

  • File Size: 509 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (May 28, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,043 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go tell it on a mountain... October 1, 2004
Jon Levenson is a professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, and one of the editors of the Harper's Bible Commentary. Author of several books of commentary and interpretation, Levenson's ideas are significant in several aspects. The idea of Jewish scholarship doing theological interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) with minimal reference or reflection through the New Testament is still relative rare in academia; as Levenson states in his introduction, even the more-neutral approach of historical criticism has not attracted this kind of work, nor has a new openness toward Judaism made significant strides in this kind of work.

Levenson's book is used at my seminary in various classes to help students approach the texts of the Hebrew scriptures/Old Testament without as much Christian reinterpretation and `flattening' as was often involved in more traditional seminary curricula. Levenson uses the two traditional stereotypical topics that Christians tend to use toward the Hebrew texts, namely, the Law (Torah) and Temple, and recasts these - tracing a Sinai tradition (law, or, more particularly for Levenson, Covenant ) and a Zion tradition (Temple), he works through scriptural implications by means of historical and theological methods.

Levenson sees two of the primary building-blocks of ancient Israel's culture and religion being mountain traditions - the mountain of Sinai, and the mountain of Zion (Levenson also sees the crisis of Exile and restoration as important, but puts this beyond the scope of this volume). These two traditions, according to Levenson, give Judaism an enduring quality and unique shape, one that did not however drop out of the sky or form out of the desert without any outside influences.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jewish approach to Scripture and Theophany March 28, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ben Kickert. Review of Jon D. Levenson, Sinai & Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible, New Voices in Biblical Studies (San Francisco, California: Harper Collins Publishers, 1985).

Sinai & Zion is Jon D. Levenson's contribution to developing a decidedly Jewish understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures by "delineate a theology of the Old Testament alone" (1). Levenson is qualified to do this as he himself comes from a Jewish background and is familiar with rabbinical tradition. His work has demonstrated remarkable resilience as it enters its third decade in print. In his approach, Levenson has opted to focus primarily on the message of Jewish tradition over and above historical criticism. Specifically, he follows the traditions associated with the two great mountains of Jewish history, Sinai and Zion, and the covenants that accompany them: the Mosaic covenant and the Davidic Covenant.

Levenson has arranged his work into three major parts. The first segment addresses the theology of Mount Sinai and the torah-centric ideology it produces in its teachings of covenant. The second segment outlines the importance of Mount Zion and the role the temple played in later Israelite faith. Finally, the third section addresses the relationship between these two locations and theologies and how they affect an understanding of Jewish faith as a whole.

The theophany at Mount Sinai is arguably the most important event in Jewish history. It is here the law is given, the nature of Israel as a people is established, the presence of God is granted, and the character of its people is outlined. In fleshing out a theology of Sinai in Part I of his book, Levenson focuses extensively on the covenantal ideology that developed out of the tradition.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable addition to biblical theology December 24, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Levenson's aim to make the Jewish Bible open up to Christian readers in the spirit of advancing dialogue is admirable, and this book helps to achieve that goal. While certainly well-researched and coming from his own significant learning, it is very accessible (for the most part) to the non-academic interested reader who has some background in or understanding of the Hebrew scriptures. The relatively short chapters help to make this easier to digest, providing logical breaks, and thus bringing out key topics more clearly. And while this book is aimed at Christian readers, I have no doubt that most Jewish readers would also benefit from the scholarship and insight in this volume.

In addition, the last chapter of Part Two, which talks about the view of the Temple to modern Jews, was of particular interest, especially for religious dialogue. Understanding that the law and the Temple still are relevant, and the latter still exists, is important. Jews, like Christians, both struggle to live moral lives and are both taking the difficult road up the mountain in attempting to do so.

That being said, more time could have been spent developing the covenant theme and the importance of covenants throughout the Hebrew Bible. Covenants with Adam, Noah, and Abraham are not mentioned. Even one chapter to look at God's interaction with these men would have shown God's desire for covenant with mankind from the very beginning. This would have bolstered his argument for God's dealing with man at a covenant level. (See Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, [Servant, 1998] for a more complete development extending into the New Testament with the new and final covenant in Jesus.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Read Full of Interesting Information
Not an easy read, but very informative. I learned so much about how the temple relates to the Israelites experience on Mount Sinai. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Coppermom
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound Insights into the World of the Jewish Temple
Brilliant work that will help students of the Bible and Judaism better appreciate the symbols and relationships in the ancient temple. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jeff Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Myles Slater on: The Covenant and the Promise
[Note to Readers: this review may seem top-heavy with bibliographic material. Given the number of informative reviews of this book, I've chosen to focus on its relation to the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ian M. Slater
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for understanding the Old Testament
This is an excellent book that should be read by all Christians. Too often, we caricature Jewish belief and read the Old Testament (Jewish Bible) only as a justification for Jesus... Read more
Published on July 26, 2011 by Ventura D
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for intrigue, albeit in disagreement
In his book, Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible, Jon Levenson sets out to offer a theology of the Jewish Bible in a way that is true to the nature of history, which is... Read more
Published on November 14, 2009 by J. D. Spainhour
5.0 out of 5 stars Some important ideas here
Levenson points out that "One would think that...the historical-critical approach would have attracted a goodly number of Jews, since it offers the prospect of dealing... Read more
Published on July 18, 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from a Latter-day Saint perspective
As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons, or LDS), I highly recommend this title to other Latter-day Saints. Read more
Published on January 21, 2009 by Shinehah
4.0 out of 5 stars Sinai and Zion: An entry into the Jewish Bible
This books makes wonderful insights into the study of Judaism that everyone can use. Jon Levenson delves into what was the force of Sinai and Zion as well as the result of said... Read more
Published on December 11, 2007 by Micah G. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable reliable account of the Old Testament covenants
Levenson discusses the history and meaning of the covenants Yahweh makes with Abraham, David and Moses and the people of Isreal. Read more
Published on December 22, 1996
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