The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion through the Lens of Divinity

November 1, 2020
The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion through the Lens of Divinity

Few topics are as broad or as daunting as the God of Israel,that deity of the world's three monotheistic religions, Judaism,Christianity, and Islam, who has been worshiped over millennia. Inthe Hebrew Bible, God is characterized variously as militant,beneficent, inscrutable, loving, and judicious. Who is thisdivinity that has been represented as masculine and feminine,mythic and real, transcendent and intimate?The Origin and Character of God is Theodore J. Lewis'smonumental study of the vast subject that is the God of Israel. Init, he explores questions of historical origin, how God wascharacterized in literature, and how he was represented inarchaeology and iconography. He also brings us into the livedreality of religious experience. Using the window of divinity topeer into the varieties of religious experience in ancient Israel,Lewis explores the royal use of religion for power, prestige, andcontrol; the intimacy of family and household religion; priestlyprerogatives and cultic status; prophetic challenges to injustice;and the pondering of theodicy by poetic sages.A volume that is encyclopedic in scope but accessible in tone,The Origin and Character of God is an essential addition to thegrowing scholarship of one of humanity's most enduringconcepts.