The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion through the Lens of Divinity by Theodore J. Lewis
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. In the Hebrew Bible, God is characterized variously as militant, beneficent, inscrutable, loving, and judicious. Who is this divinity that has been represented as masculine and feminine, mythic and real, transcendent and intimate?
The Origin and Character of God is Theodore J. Lewis’s monumental study of the vast subject that is the God of Israel. In it, he explores questions of historical origin, how God was characterized in literature, and how he was represented in archaeology and iconography. He also brings us into the lived reality of religious experience. Using the window of divinity to peer into the varieties of religious experience in ancient Israel, Lewis explores the royal use of religion for power, prestige, and control; the intimacy of family and household religion; priestly prerogatives 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 the growing scholarship of one of humanity’s most enduring concepts.
Year first published: 2020