Aspects of Jewish Metarational Thought
About the Book
Judaism has always had adherents that, driven by both awe and love of God, strove to penetrate the mystery of divine wisdom and grasp what the philosopher deemed to be beyond the reach of man's rational faculty, as well as to explore other mysteries that seem to leap out from the pages of Scripture.
These metarational leaps of intellect and imagination generally fit into the categories of the exoteric and the esoteric, referring to teachings traditionally considered suitable for public instruction and those deemed inappropriate for such purpose. The exoteric includes those attempts at intellectually and spiritually bridging the gap between God and man, that one finds strewn throughout the pages of the classical literature of Judaism. The esoteric includes those speculations and practices that have been more or less systematized and formulated and presented as mystical doctrines, that have been characterized since the Middle Ages as Kabbalah.
The opening chapters of Aspects of Jewish Metarational Thought consider the question of the relationship between finite man and the unknowable God, and how the divine-human communication essential to that relationship takes place. Other chapters consider the purpose behind human existence and the critical aspects of the biblical account of the creation, issues relating to the idea of a visionary ascent to the celestial realm, the influence of metarational considerations on normative Jewish religious practice, and the special attributes believed to inhere in the Hebrew language and the role that these have played in metarational biblical interpretation from antiquity to the present.
About the Author
Dr. Martin Sicker is a writer and lecturer on the Middle East and Jewish history and religion. His is the author of 26 previous books including The Rise and Fall of the Ancient Israelite States, Reading Genesis Politically, Rabbinic Political Theory, Between Man and God: Issues in Judaic Thought, The Political Culture of Judaism, The Moral Maxims of the Sages of Israel, and The Trials of Abraham: The Making of a National Patriarch.