GOD


GOD
-IN THE BIBLE The Bible is not a single book, but a collection of volumes composed by different authors living in various countries over a period of more than a millennium. In these circumstances, divergencies of emphasis (cf. Kings with Chronicles), outlook (cf. Jonah with Nahum), and even of fact (cf. Gen. 26:34 with 36:2–3) are to be expected. These factors have also affected the biblical presentation of the concept of God. There are passages in which Israel's monotheism is portrayed in unalloyed purity and incomparable beauty (I Kings 19:12; Isa. 40:18), and there are other verses in which folkloristic echoes and mythological reflexes, though transmuted and refined, appear to obscure the true character of the Hebrew concept of the divine (Gen. 2 and 3). Notwithstanding these discrepancies the Bible is essentially a unity; its theology is sui generis and must be studied as a whole to be seen in true perspective. This total view of biblical doctrine does not seek to blur differences and to harmonize the disparate; rather it resolves the heterogeneous elements into a unitary canonical ideology – the doctrine of the final editors of the Bible. It blends the thoughts, beliefs, and intuitions of many generations into a single spiritual structure – the faith of Israel – at the heart of which lies the biblical idea of God. It is this complete and ultimate scriptural conception of the Deity that will be described and analyzed in this section. The One, Incomparable God God is the hero of the Bible. Everything that is narrated, enjoined, or foretold in biblical literature is related to Him. Yet nowhere does the Bible offer any proof of the Deity's existence, or command belief in Him. The reason may be twofold: Hebrew thought is intuitive rather than speculative and   systematic, and, furthermore, there were no atheists in antiquity. When the psalmist observed: "The fool hath said in his heart 'There is no God'" (Ps. 14:1), he was referring not to disbelief in God's existence, but to the denial of His moral governance. That a divine being or beings existed was universally accepted. There were those, it is true, who did not know YHWH (Ex. 5:2), but all acknowledged the reality of the Godhead. Completely new, however, was Israel's idea of God. Hence this idea is expounded in numerous, though not necessarily related, biblical passages, and, facet by facet, a cosmic, awe-inspiring spiritual portrait of infinite magnitude is built up. Paganism is challenged in all its aspects. God is One; there is no other (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 45:21; 46:9). Polytheism is rejected unequivocally and absolutely (Ex. 20:3–5). There is no pantheon; even the dualism of Ormuzd and Ahriman (of the Zoroastrian religion) is excluded (Isa. 45:21); apotheosis is condemned (Ezek. 28:2ff.). Syncretism, as distinct from identification (Gen. 14:18–22), which plays a historical as well as a theological role in paganism, is necessarily ruled out (Num. 25:2–3; Judg. 18). Verses like Exodus 15:11 – "Who is like Thee, O Lord, among the gods?" – do not lend support to polytheism, but expose the unreality and futility of the pagan deities. The thought is: Beside the true God, how can these idol-imposters claim divinity? The term "sons of gods" in Psalms 29:1 and 89:7 refers to angels, the servants, and worshipers of the Lord; there is no thought of polytheism (see E.G. Briggs, The Book of Psalms (ICC), 1 (1906), 252ff.; 2 (1907), 253ff.). The one God is also unique in all His attributes. The prophet asks: "To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?" (Isa. 40:18). Though the question is rhetorical, the Bible in a given sense provides a series of answers, scattered over the entire range of its teaching, which elaborate in depth the incomparability of God. He has no likeness; no image can be made of Him (Ex. 20:4; Deut. 4:35). He is not even to be conceived as spirit; the spirit of God referred to in the Bible alludes to His energy (Isa. 40:13; Zech. 4:6). In Isaiah 31:3, "spirits" parallels "a god" (ʾel, a created force), not the God, who is called in the verse YHWH. Idolatry, though it lingered on for centuries, was doomed to extinction by this new conception of the Godhead. It is true that the Torah itself ordained that images like the cherubim should be set up in the Holy of Holies. They did not, however, represent the Deity but His throne (cf. Ps. 68:5(4); its occupant no human eye could see. Yet the invisible God is not a philosophical abstraction; He manifests His presence. His theophanies are accompanied by thunder, earthquake, and lightning (Ex. 19:18; 20:15(18); Hab. 3:4ff.). These fearful natural phenomena tell of His strength; He is the omnipotent God (Job 42:2). None can resist Him (41:2); hence He is the supreme warrior (Ps. 24:8). God's greatness, however, lies not primarily in His power. He is omniscient; wisdom is His alone (Job 28:23ff.). He knows no darkness; light ever dwells with Him (Dan. 2:22); and it is He, and He only, who envisions and reveals the future (Isa. 43:9). He is the source of human understanding (Ps. 36:10(9), and it is He who endows man with his skills (Ex. 28:3; I Kings 3:12). The classical Prometheus and the Canaanite Kôtharand-Ḥasis are but figments of man's imagination. The pagan pride of wisdom is sternly rebuked; it is deceptive (Ezek. 28:3ff.); but God's wisdom is infinite and unsearchable (Isa. 40:28). He is also the omnipresent God (Ps. 139:7–12), but not as numen, mana, or orenda. Pantheism is likewise negated. He transcends the world of nature, for it is He who brought the world into being, established its laws, and gave it its order (Jer. 33:25). He is outside of time as well as space; He is eternal. Everything must perish; He alone preceded the universe and will outlive it (Isa. 40:6–8; 44:6; Ps. 90:2). The ever-present God is also immutable; in a world of flux He alone does not change (Isa. 41:4; Mal. 3:6). He is the rock of all existence (II Sam. 22:32). The Divine Creator God's power and wisdom find their ultimate expression in the work of creation. The miracles serve to highlight the divine omnipotence; but the supreme miracle is the universe itself (Ps. 8:2, 4 (1, 3). There is no theogony, but there is a cosmogony, designed and executed by the divine fiat (Gen. 1). The opening verses of the Bible do not conclusively point to creatio ex nihilo. The primordial condition of chaos (tohu and bohu) mentioned in Genesis 1:2 could conceivably represent the materia prima out of which the world was fashioned; but Job 26:7 appears to express poetically the belief in a world created out of the void (see Y. Kaufmann , Religion, 68), and both prophets and psalmists seem to substantiate this doctrine (Isa. 42:5; 45:7–9; Jer. 10:12; Ps. 33:6–9; 102:26; 212:2). maimonides , it is true, did not consider that the Bible provided incontrovertible proof of creatio ex nihilo (Guide, 2:25). The real criterion, however, is the overall climate of biblical thought, which would regard the existence of uncreated matter as a grave diminution of the divinity of the Godhead. God is the sole creator (Isa. 44:24). The celestial beings ("sons of God") referred to in Job 38:7, and the angels who, according to rabbinic aggadah and some modern exegetes, are addressed in Genesis 1:26 (cf. 3:22) were themselves created forms and not co-architects or co-builders of the cosmos. Angels are portrayed in the Bible as constituting the heavenly court, and as taking part in celestial consultations (I Kings 22:19ff.; Job 1:6ff.; 2:1ff.). These heavenly creatures act as God's messengers (the Hebrew malʾakh and the Greek ἁγγελος, from which the word "angel" is derived, both mean "messengers") or agents. They perform various tasks (cf. Satan, "the Accuser"), but except in the later books of the Bible they are not individualized and bear no names (see angels and Angelology). Nor are they God's only messengers; natural phenomena, like the wind (Ps. 104:4), or man himself, may act in that capacity (Num. 20:16). Some scholars think that since the Bible concentrated all divine powers in the one God, the old pagan deities, which represented various forces of nature, were demoted in Israel's religion to the position of angels. The term shedim (Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37), on the other hand, applied to the gods of the nations, does not, according to Y. Kaufmann, denote demons, but rather "no-gods," devoid   of both divine and demonic powers. The fantastic proliferation of the angel population found in pseudepigraphical literature is still unknown in the Bible. It is fundamental, however, to biblical as well as post-biblical Jewish angelology that these celestial beings are God's creatures and servants. They fulfill the divine will and do not oppose it. The pagan notion of demonic forces that wage war against the deities is wholly alien and repugnant to biblical theology. Even Satan is no more than the heavenly prosecutor, serving the divine purpose. The cosmos is thus the work of God above, and all nature declares His glory (Ps. 19:2, 13ff.). All things belong to Him and He is the Lord of all (I Chron. 29:11–12). This creation theorem has a corollary of vast scientific and social significance: the universe, in all its measureless diversity, remains a homogeneous whole. Nature's processes are the same throughout the world, and underlying them is "One Power, which is of no beginning and no end; which has existed before all things were formed, and will remain in its integrity when all is gone – the Source and Origin of all, in Itself beyond any conception or image that man can form and set up before his eye or mind" (Haffkine). There is no cosmic strife between antagonistic forces, between darkness and light, between good and evil; and, by the same token, mankind constitutes a single brotherhood. The ideal is not that of the ant heap. Differentiation is an essential element of the Creator's design; hence the Tower of Babel is necessarily doomed to destruction. Although uniformity is rejected, the family unity of mankind, despite racial, cultural, and pigmentary differences, is clearly stressed in its origin (Adam is the human father of all men) and in its ultimate destiny at the end of days (Isa. 2:2–4). The course of creation is depicted in the opening chapter of the Bible as a graduated unfolding of the universe, and more particularly of the earth, from the lowest levels of life to man, the peak of the creative process. God, according to this account, completed the work in six days (that "days" here means an undefined period may be inferred from Gen. 1:14, where time divisions are mentioned for the first time; cf. also N.H. Tur-Sinai, in EM, 3 (1958), 593). The biblical accounting of the days, however, is not intended to provide the reader with a science or history textbook but to describe the ways of God. Running like a golden thread through all the variegated contents of the Bible is the one unchanging theme – God and His moral law. Of far greater significance than the duration of creation is the fact that it was crowned by the Sabbath (Gen. 2:1–3), bringing rest and refreshment to the toiling world. The concept of the creative pause, sanctified by the divine example, is one of the greatest spiritual and social contributions to civilization made by the religion of Israel. The attempts to represent the Assyro-Babylonian šabattu or šapattu as the forerunner of the Hebrew Sabbath are without foundation. The former was a designation for the ill-omened 15th day of the month, and the notions associated with it are as polarically different from those of the Sabbath, with its elevating thoughts of holiness and physical and spiritual renewal, as a day of mourning is from a joyous festival. God in History The Sabbath did not mark the retirement of the Deity from the world that He had called into being. God continued to care for His creatures (Ps. 104), and man – all men – remained the focal point of His loving interest (Ps. 8:5(4)ff.). The divine providence encompasses both nations (Deut. 32:8) and individuals (e.g., the Patriarchs). Cosmogony is followed by history, and God becomes the great architect of the world of events, even as He was of the physical universe. He directs the historical movements (ibid.), and the peoples are in His hands as clay in the hands of the potter (Jer. 18:6). He is the King of the nations (Jer. 10:7; Ps. 22:29). There is a vital difference, however, between the two spheres of divine activity. Creation encountered no antagonism. The very monsters that in pagan mythology were the mortal enemies of the gods became in the Bible creatures formed in accordance with the divine will (Gen. 1:21). Nevertheless, the stuff of history is woven of endless strands of rebellion against the Creator. Man is not an automaton; he is endowed with free will. The first human beings already disobeyed their maker; they acquired knowledge at the price of sin, which reflects the discord between the will of God and the action of man. The perfect harmony between the Creator and His human creation that finds expression in the idyll of the Garden of Eden was disrupted, and never restored. The revolt continued with Cain, the generation of the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. There is a rhythm of rebellion and retribution, of oppression and redemption, of repentance and grace, and of merit and reward (Jer. 18:7–10). Israel was the first people to write history as teleology and discovered that it had a moral base. The Bible declares that God judges the world in righteousness (Ps. 96:13); that military power does not presuppose victory (Ps. 33:16); that the Lord saves the humble (Ps. 76:10) and dwells with them (Isa. 57:15). The moral factor determines the time as well as the course of events. The Israelites will return to Canaan only when the iniquity of the Amorite is complete (Gen. 15:16); for 40 years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for accepting the defeatist report of the ten spies (Num. 14:34); Jehu is rewarded with a dynasty of five generations for his punitive action against the house of Ahab; and to Daniel is revealed the timetable of redemption and restoration (Dan. 9:24). It is this moral element in the direction of history that makes God both Judge and Savior. God's punishment of the wicked and salvation of the righteous are laws of the divine governance of the world, comparable to the laws of nature: "As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before fire, let the wicked perish before God…" (Ps. 68:2–3; cf. M.D. Cassuto, in Tarbiz, 12 (1941), 1–27). Nature and history are related (Jer. 33:20–21, 25–26); the one God rules them both. The ultimate divine design of history, marked by universal peace, human brotherhood, and knowledge of God, will be accomplished in "the end of days" (Isa. 2:2–4; 11:6ff.), even as the cosmos was completed in conformity with the divine plan. Man's rebellions complicate the course of history, but cannot change the design. God's purpose shall be accomplished; there will be a   new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 66:22), for ultimately man will have a new heart (Ezek. 36:26–27). God and Israel Within the macrocosm of world history there is the microcosm of Israel's history. It is natural that in the context of national literature the people of Israel should receive special and elaborate attention, although the gentile world, particularly in prophetic teaching, is never lost sight of. The Bible designates Israel ʿam segullah, "a treasured people," which stands in a particular relationship to the one God. He recognized Israel as His own people and they acknowledge Him as their only God (Deut. 26:17–18). He redeems His people from Egyptian bondage, brings them to the promised land, and comes to their aid in periods of crisis. Israel's election is not, however, to be interpreted as a form of favoritism. For one thing, the Exodus from Egypt is paralleled by similar events in the histories of other peoples, including Israel's enemies (Amos 9:7). In truth, Israel's election implies greater responsibility, with corresponding penalties as well as rewards: "You only have I singled out of all the families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities" (Amos 3:2; see chosen people ). The choice of the children of Israel as God's people was not due to their power or merit; it was rather a divine act of love, the fulfillment of a promise given to the Patriarchs (Deut. 7:7–8; 9:4–7). The Lord did, however, foresee that the spiritual and moral way of life pioneered by Abraham would be transmitted to his descendants as a heritage. Subsequently this concept found material expression in the covenant solemnly established between God and His people at Sinai (Ex. 24:7ff.). This covenant demanded wholehearted and constant devotion to the will of God (Deut. 18:13); it was an everlasting bond (Deut. 4:9). Thus to be a chosen people it was incumbent upon Israel to become a choosing people (as Zangwill phrased it). The rhythm of rebellion and repentance, retribution and redemption, is particularly evident in the story of Israel. Yet the fulfillment of the divine purpose is not in doubt. God's chosen people will not perish (Jer. 31:26–27). It will be restored to faithfulness, and in its redemption will bring salvation to the whole earth by leading all men to God (Jer. 3:17–18). Until that far-off day, however, Israel will remain God's witness (Isa. 44:8). The Divine Lawgiver The covenant that binds the children of Israel to their God is, in the ultimate analysis, the Torah in all its amplitude. God, not Moses, is the lawgiver; "Behold, I Moses say unto you" (cf. Gal. 5:2) is an inconceivable statement. It would not only be inconsistent with Moses' humility (Num. 12:3), but would completely contradict the God-given character of the Torah. However, notwithstanding its divine origin, the law is obligatory on Israel only. Even idolatry, the constant butt of prophetic irony, is not regarded as a gentile sin (Deut. 4:19). Yet the Bible assumes the existence of a universal moral code that all peoples must observe. The talmudic sages, with their genius for legal detail and codification, speak of the seven Noachian laws (Sanh. 56a). Although the Bible does not specify the ethical principles incumbent upon all mankind, it is clear from various passages that murder, robbery, cruelty, and adultery are major crimes recognized as such by all human beings (Gen. 6:12, 13; 9:5; 20:3; 39:9; Amos 1:3ff.). It would thus appear that the Bible postulates an autonomous, basic human sense of wrongdoing, unless it is supposed that a divine revelation of law was vouchsafed to the early saints, such as assumed by the apocryphal and rabbinic literatures (and perhaps by Isa. 24:5). The Torah – which properly means "instruction," not "law" – does not, in the strict sense of the term, contain a properly formulated code; nevertheless, detailed regulations appertaining to religious ritual, as well as to civil and criminal jurisprudence, form an essential part of pentateuchal teaching. The halakhic approach is reinforced by a number of the prophets. For instance, Isaiah (58:13), Jeremiah (34:8ff.), Ezekiel (40ff.), and Malachi (1:8; 2:10) lent their authority to the maintenance of various religious observances. Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the restored Jewish community on Torah foundations. Yet paradoxically the Bible also evinces a decidedly "anti-halakhic" trend. In Isaiah the Lord cries: "What to Me is the multitude of your sacrifices… I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts… who requires of you this trampling of My courts?… Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates… When you spread forth your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen" (1:11–15). Jeremiah not only belittles the value of the sacrifices (7:22); he derides the people's faith in the Temple itself: "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these" (7:4). Even the Book of Psalms, though essentially devotional in character, makes an anti-ritual protest: "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices… I will accept no bull from your house… For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills… If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is Mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" (50:8–13). These and similar passages represent a negative attitude towards established cultic practices. No less inconsonant with Torah law seems the positive prophetic summary of human duty formulated by Micah (6:8): "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love lovingkindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" A similar note is sounded by Hosea (2:21–22 (19–20): "I will espouse you with righteousness and with justice, with steadfast love, and with mercy. I will espouse you with faithfulness; and you shall be mindful of the Lord"; by Amos (5:14): "Seek good, and not evil, that you may live"; and by Isaiah (1:17): "Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." The emphasis here is on moral and spiritual conduct; the ceremonial and ritualistic aspects of religion are conspicuously left unmentioned. The paradox, however, is only one of appearance and phrasing. Inherently there is no contradiction. The ostensibly antinomian statements do not oppose the offering of sacrifices, prayer, or the observance of the Sabbath and festivals. It is not ritual but hypocrisy that   they condemn. Isaiah (1:13) expresses the thought in a single phrase: "I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly." Organized religion must necessarily have cultic forms; but without inwardness and unqualified sincerity they are an affront to the Deity and fail of their purpose. The underlying motive of the precepts is to purify and elevate man (Ps. 119:29, 40, 68). The Torah (Wisdom) is a tree of life and its ways are ways of peace (Prov. 3:17, 18). Sin does not injure God (Job 7:20), but is a disaster to man (Deut. 28:15ff.). It is heartfelt devotion that saves the mitzvah from becoming a meaningless convention and an act of hypocrisy (Isa. 29:13). The specific commandments are in a sense pointers and aids to that larger identification with God's will that is conterminous with life as a whole: "In all your ways acknowledge Him" (Prov. 3:6). Just as the divine wonders and portents lead to a deeper understanding of the daily miracles of providence, so the precepts are guides to the whole duty of man. Biblical religion is thus seen to be an indivisible synthesis of moral and spiritual principles, on the one hand, and practical observances on the other. The Biblical Theodicy The moral basis of providence, reinforced by the ethic of the Torah, also raises another kind of problem. Can the biblical theodicy always be justified? The issue is raised already in the Bible itself. Abraham challenges the divine justice: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25). Moses echoes the cry in another context: "O Lord, why hast Thou done evil to this people?" (Ex. 5:22). The prophets are no less perplexed: "Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?" (Jer. 12:1). The psalmist speaks for the individual and the nation in many generations, when he cries: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (22:2(1), and the Book of Job is, in its magnificent entirety, one great heroic struggle to solve the problem of unwarranted human suffering. The biblical answer appears to point to the limitations of man's experience and understanding. History is long, but individual life is short. Hence the human view is fragmentary; events justify themselves in the end, but the person concerned does not always live to see the denouement. In the words of the psalmist: "Though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever" (92:8–10; cf. 37:35–39). The brevity of man's years is further complicated by his lack of insight. God's purpose is beyond his comprehension: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:9). In the final analysis, biblical theodicy calls for faith: "But the righteous shall live by his faith" (Hab. 2:4); "they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa. 40:31). It is not an irrational faith: – Certum est quia impossibile est (Tertullian, De Carne Christi, 5), but is necessitated by innate human intellectual limitations. In another direction the problem is even more formidable. God, the Bible states categorically, hardened Pharaoh's heart; nevertheless the Egyptian ruler was punished for this. Indeed his obduracy was induced in order to provide the occasion for his punishment (Ex. 7:3). Here the fundamental norms of justice by any standards are flagrantly violated. The explanation in this sphere of biblical theodicy is not theological but semantic. Scripture ascribes to God phenomena and events with which He is only indirectly concerned. However, since God is the author of all natural law and the designer of history, everything that occurs is, in a deep sense, His doing. Even in human affairs the king or the government is said to "do" everything that is performed under its aegis. Thus God declares in Amos 4:7: "And I caused it to rain upon one city, and I caused it not to rain upon another city," although the next clause uses passive and impersonal verbal forms to describe the same occurrences. The processes of nature need not be mentioned, since the laws of the universe are dictates of God. Similarly Exodus states indiscriminately that "Pharaoh hardened his heart" (8:28), that "the heart of Pharaoh was hardened" (9:7), and that "the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh" (9:12). In the end it is all one; what God permits He does. This interpretation does not, however, fit another area of divine conduct. Uzzah, the Bible states, was struck dead for an innocent act that was motivated by concern for the safety of "the ark of God" (II Sam. 6:6–7). Wherein lay the iniquity? Here the reason appears to be of a different character. Even innocent actions may in certain circumstances be disastrous. Uzzah's attempt to save the ark from falling was well meant, but it was conducive to irreverence. Man needs God's help; God does not require the help of man (Sot. 35a; for a similar thought cf. Ps. 50:12; another explanation is given by Kimhi, II Sam. 6:6). In one thoughtless moment Uzzah could have reduced the sacred ark in the eyes of the people to the impotent level of the idols, which the prophets depicted with such scathing mockery. The same principle operated in the tragedy of Nadab and Abihu, and Moses explained the underlying principle in the words: "I will show Myself holy among those who are near Me" (Lev. 10: 1–3). The Limitation of the Infinite God Is the Godhead subject to restriction? The irresistible conclusion to be drawn from biblical teaching is that such a limitation exists. Man's freedom to resist or obey the will of God is a restriction of the Deity's power that is totally unknown in the physical universe. It must be added, however, that this restriction is an act of divine self-limitation. In His love for man God has, so to speak, set aside an area of freedom in which man can elect to do right or wrong (Deut. 5:26; 30:17). In rabbinic language: "Everything is in the power of Heaven except the reverence of Heaven" (Ber. 33b). Man is thereby saved from being an automaton. It adds a new dimension to the relationship between God and man. Man may defect, but when, on the other hand, he chooses the path of loyalty, he does so from choice, from true love. Needless to say, without such freedom there could be neither sin nor punishment, neither merit nor reward. The divine humility, which permits human dissent, is also the grace to which the dissenter succumbs in the end. Man is a faithful rebel, who is reconciled with his Maker in   the crowning period of history. God's self-limitation is thus seen as an extension of His creative power. Other biblical concepts that might be construed as restrictions of God's infinitude are, on closer scrutiny, seen not to be real limitations. The association of the Lord with holy places like the Tent of Meeting, the Temple, Zion, or Sinai does not imply that He is not omnipresent. In prophetic vision Isaiah saw the divine train fill the Temple, and at the same time he heard the seraphim declare: "the whole earth is full of His glory" (6: 1–3). God's geographical association, or His theophany at a given place, signifies consecration of the site, which thus becomes a source of inspiration to man; but no part of the universe exists at any time outside God's presence. Sometimes God is depicted as asking man for information (Gen. 3:9; 4:9). On other occasions He is stated to repent His actions and to be grieved (Gen. 6:6). These are mere anthropomorphisms. The Lord knows all (Jer. 11:20; 16:17; Ps. 7:10), and unlike human beings He does not repent (Num. 23:19). Genesis 6:6 is not a contradiction of this thesis; its "human" terminology does not imply a diminution of God's omniscience, but emphasizes the moral freedom granted to man. In addition to spiritual option, the Creator, as has been stated, gave man knowledge. This finds expression, inter alia, in magical powers, which, in as much as they are "supernatural," constitute a challenge to God's will. In Moses' protracted struggle with Pharaoh, the Egyptians actually pit their magical powers against the Almighty's miracles. In the end they acknowledge their relative weakness and admit that they cannot rival "the finger of God" (Ex. 8:15). This is to be expected, for the divine wisdom is unbounded (Job 11:7), whereas human understanding is finite. Nevertheless the use of all forms of sorcery, even by non-Israelites, is strongly denounced (Isa. 44:25); to the Israelite, witchcraft is totally forbidden (Deut. 18:10–11). The differentiation between magic and miracles had deep roots in Hebrew monotheism. To the pagan mind magical powers were independent forces to which even the gods had to have recourse. The miracle, on the other hand, is regarded in the Bible as a manifestation of God's power and purpose. It is an attestation of the prophet's mission (Isa. 7:11); whereas divination and sorcery are either forms of deception (Isa. 44:25) or, where magic is effective, as in the episode of the witch of Endor (I Sam. 28:7ff.), it represents an abuse of man's God-given knowledge. There is no independent realm of witchcraft, however; all power, natural and supernatural, emanates from the one God. To the Israelite all that happens is wrought by God. The Divine Personality Though inconceivable, God is portrayed throughout the Bible as a person. In contradistinction to the idols, who are dead, He is called the living God (II Kings 19:4, 16). He is neither inanimate nor a philosophical abstraction; He is the living source of all life. Anthropomorphisms abound in the Bible, but it is not by these that the divine personality, so to speak, is depicted. Anthropomorphic figures were intended to help early man to grasp ideas that in philosophical terms transcended the human intellect. God's essential personality is primarily reflected in His attributes, which motivate His acts. He is King, Judge, Father, Shepherd, Mentor, Healer, and Redeemer – to mention only a few of His aspects in His relationship to man. Different biblical teachers conceived God's character from different historical angles. Amos was conscious of God's justice. Hosea underscored the Lord's love, and made forgiveness and compassion the coefficient, as it were, of divinity: "I will not execute My fierce anger… for I am God and not man" (11:9). Ezekiel stresses that God does not desire the destruction of the wicked but that through repentance they may live (18:23). The heart of the matter is clearly stated in the Torah: "The Lord passed before him (Moses), and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…" (Ex. 34:6–7). Maimonides was philosophically justified in insisting that God has no attributes and that the epithets applied to Him in the Bible really represent human emotions evoked by His actions (Guide, 2:54). The Bible, however, which is little interested in the speculative approach to the Deity, but teaches practical wisdom and religion as life, without the help of catechism or formulated dogmas, prefers to endow God with personality to which it gives the warmth and beauty of positive characterization. In sum, the divine nature is composed of both justice and love. The Bible recognizes that without justice love itself becomes a form of injustice; but in itself justice is not enough. It can only serve as a foundation; the superstructure – the bridge between God and man – is grace. Between Man and God Grace is the divine end of the bridge; the human side is existential devotion. Otherwise, what M. Buber felicitously called the "I-Thou" relationship cannot come into being. Hence, underlying all the commandments is the supreme precept: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deut. 6:5). This love is unqualified: "You shall be whole-hearted with the Lord your God" (Deut. 18:13). It calls for complete surrender; but this is not conceived as a narrow, if intense, religious attitude. It is broad-based enough to allow for deep-rooted spiritual communion. Man pours out his heart in prayer to God; it is to Him that he uplifts his soul in thanksgiving and praise; and it is also to Him that he addresses his most searching questions and most incisive criticism of life and providence. Sincere criticism of God is never rebuked. God reproaches Job's friends, who were on His side; but Job is rewarded despite his searing indictment of God's actions. The God-man relationship flowers in an evolutionary process of education: Man is gradually weaned from his own inhumanity, from atrocities, like human sacrifice (Gen. 22:2–14), from bestial conduct, and from wronging his fellowman. The goal again is love: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev. 19:18). It is a corollary of the love of God: "I am the Lord." Reward and retribution   play a role in the divine educational procedures; but their functions are limited – they are not ultimates. The eternal fires of hell are never used as a deterrent, though punishment of the wicked after death is obscurely mentioned (Isa. 66:24; Dan. 12:2), nor is paradise used as an inducement. The Torah-covenant is an unquenchable spiritual light (Prov. 6:23); but the "I-Thou" relationship does not end with the written word. God communes with man directly. The prophet hears the heavenly voice and echoes it; the psalmist knows, with unfaltering conviction, that his prayer has been answered and that salvation has been wrought before he actually experiences it. At one with God, man finds ultimate happiness: "In Thy presence is fullness of joy, in Thy right hand bliss for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). The Hebrew term for the love that binds man to God (as well as to his fellowman) is ʾahavah; but sometimes the Bible uses another word, yirʾah (literally: "fear"), which seems to turn the "I-Thou" nexus into an "It" relationship. The psalmist declares: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (111:10), and Ecclesiastes comes to the conclusion: "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (12:13). The picture is thus completely changed. The heavenly Father suddenly becomes a divine tyrant, before whom man cowers in terror, as does the unenlightened pagan before the demonic force that he seeks to appease. This might be consonant with the notion of "the jealous God" (Ex. 34:14), but it would appear to be irreconcilable with the concept of the God of ḥesed ("lovingkindness," "grace"). Here, too, this is not a theological but a semantic problem. Yirʾah does not signify "fear"; it is best rendered by "reverence." "Love" and "reverence" are not antithetic but complementary terms. They are two aspects of a single idea. ʾAhavah expresses God's nearness; yirʾah the measureless distance between the Deity and man (see love , Love and Fear of God). God spoke to Moses "mouth to mouth" (Num. 12:8), yet in his human frailty the Hebrew leader could not "see" his divine interlocutor (Ex. 33:20). The inner identity of "love" and "reverence" is reflected in the Torah's religious summary: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but to revere the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 10:12). Talmudic Judaism (Shab. 120a) drew a distinction between ḥasidut (steadfast love of God) and yirʾat shamayim ("reverence of Heaven"), but this represents a later development. In the Bible this bifurcation does not exist; "reverence of God" is by and large the biblical equivalent of "religion." Likewise there is no spiritual contradiction between the "gracious" and the "jealous" God. "Jealousy" is an anthropomorphic term used to define God's absolute character, which excludes all other concepts of the Godhead. It does not detract from the divine love and compassion; it serves only to protect them. The sum of all the divine attributes finds expression in the epithet "holy." It is the highest praise that prophet and psalmist can give to the Lord (Isa. 6:3; Ps. 22:4(3), and since man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), the attribute of holiness becomes the basis of the concept of "the imitation of God": "You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2). The Bible makes it clear, however, that, in seeking to model himself on the divine example, it is primarily God's moral attributes that man must copy. Even as God befriends the sojourner and acts as the father of the fatherless and as the judge of the widow, so must man, on his human scale, endeavor to do (Deut. 10:18–19; cf. Sot. 14a). Indeed all that uplifts man, including the Sabbath and abstention from impurity, is comprised in the concept of the imitation of God. At the highest level Israel's ethic and theology are indissolubly linked. To sum up: The biblical conception of God was revolutionary both in its theological and its moral implications. The pagan world may occasionally have glimpsed, in primitive form, some of the higher truths inherent in Israel's ethical monotheism. Egypt for a brief span attained to monolatry (Akhenaton's heresy); Babylon had a glimmering of a unified cosmic process; Marduk, Shamash, and Aton punished evildoers; and some Greek philosophers commended the imitation of the godhead. Yet no cult in antiquity even remotely approached the elevated conceptions associated with the one God of the Bible. This spiritual revolution not only eventually brought paganism to an end, but its inner dynamic gave birth, in time, to two daughter religions, Christianity and Islam, which, despite their essential differences from Judaism, are deeply rooted in biblical thought. (Israel Abrahams) -IN HELLENISTIC LITERATURE Certain Jewish concepts of God were apparently known to the circle of Aristotle. His pupil Theophrastus (fourth century B.C.E.) said of the Jews that they were "the philosophers among the Syrians," because of their concept of the unity of God. The skeptic hecataeus of Abdera, the first of the Greek thinkers to attempt to define the substance of the Jewish concept of God, states that the Jews do not give form or image to God, because they regard the cosmos – which includes everything – as God. Their idea of the unity of God, according to Hecataeus, includes all existing things. Megasthenes, a Greek writer of the early third century, also notes that the important philosophers, outside of Greece, were the wise men of Israel. He arrived at this conclusion because of the fact that the unity of God was an accepted idea in Israel. Thus the Greek thinkers regarded the Jewish notion of divine unity as a view founded upon philosophic meditation in the spirit of the ideas common in their own circles, and in the spirit of the Ionian monists. However, the primary quality of God according to Jewish teachings – ethical personalism – was not considered by the Greek writers. This idea of God's ethical will, which is beyond the universe and beyond nature and has absolute dominion over nature and over man, was far from the Greek mode of thought. Strangely no signs of influence of the Greek concept of God's unity are found in the early Jewish compositions in   Greek. In the Septuagint, for instance, there is a recognizable tendency to avoid anthropomorphism (e.g., "And they saw the God of Israel" (Ex. 24:10) is translated as: "And they saw the place where the God of Israel stood"). This tendency, however, has deep roots in the Jewish concepts of God during the period of the Second Temple, which found expression in the abstention from uttering the Tetragrammaton or in applying to God terms taken from everyday usage. This should not be regarded as intentional avoidance of anthropomorphism, as there are no signs of such avoidance in the Bible. It rather expresses a reverence for the majesty of God, which compelled the choosing of special expressions relating to divine matters. In any event the Septuagint contains no trace of the terms or linguistic usages current in Greek philosophic literature. All those terms to which the philosophers gave a special abstract connotation, such as Nous ("Mind"), Cosmos ("Universe"), Psyche ("Divine Soul"), occur in the Septuagint not in their abstract philosophical sense but in their normal concrete daily usage. Even in the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon – a book undoubtedly influenced by Greek philosophy – the concepts of God are no different from those found in the Bible. Although the author of the Wisdom of Solomon praises the value of Wisdom in his book and regards it as a sort of partner in the creation of the world, this idea does not in the slightest detract from the concept of the unity of God for God is the Creator of the world, and Wisdom is not regarded as an independent or separate entity from God. The moral value of Wisdom in the life of man is particularly stressed as a force which refines the spirit of man and elevates him to a higher intellectual moral level. In so doing the author reduces the importance of Wisdom as a cosmic force. Man, according to the Wisdom of Solomon, seeks a personal closeness with God; God reveals Himself by signs and wonders in the history of the Jewish nation and by utilizing reward and punishment. All this accords with what is found in the Bible. Yet in contrast to the later Jewish view, the author of the Wisdom of Solomon regards God as a creator from existent material (not ex nihilo) as in the doctrine of matter and form found in Plato. The philosopher aristobulus of Paneas (first half of second century B.C.E.) already clearly expressed his opposition to anthropomorphism, and explains such expressions as "the hand of God," or "the voice of God" allegorically (see allegory ) as the power of God, the expression of God's power of dominion in the world, etc. In the teaching of Aristobulus there is already a clear attempt to make the Jewish view of God correspond to the teaching of the Greek philosophers, even though it is difficult to determine to which school of philosophy Aristobulus himself belonged. The author of the Letter of aristeas too was influenced by Greek philosophy. God rules over all creatures and all are dependent upon Him, while He himself is not dependent upon any creature. The author of the Letter of Aristeas lays down that all men are aware of the unity of God as the Creator of everything, the director of everything, and the ruler over everything, but different peoples designate Him by different names (Letter of Aristeas 16). The name of the chief god current among the Greeks, Zeus, indicates his character as the source of life in nature and it too therefore is nothing else but a term for the one God. Philo The influence of Greek philosophy is especially strong on philo . Philo, under the influence of Plato, frequently uses for God the terms τό ὄν, τό ὄν ὄντως which in the teaching of Plato signify "existence" or "true existence" (see Timaeus, 27D–29D). Philo points to a basis for these in the expression "I am that I am" (cf. Som. 1:230–31, Ex. 3:14). There is no hint of such terminology in the Septuagint (the sentence used by the Septuagint for "I am that I am" has no connection with the above-mentioned terms used by Plato and Philo). Philo also uses such terms as "the one," "unity," etc., for the purpose of stressing God's transcendence over perfection, over all concepts of the good and the beautiful, and for His being above human comprehension. Such a degree of philosophic abstraction in the conception of God rules out any possibility of personal relations between man and God, examples of which are found in the Bible and the later literature. However as a Jew Philo was unable to content himself with mere abstraction, and he frequently raises the question of the relations of man to God, particularly on the methods by which man can come to apprehend God. Apprehension of God is possible, according to Philo, from two aspects: that of His existence, and that of His subsistence. A conception of God's existence can be achieved without great difficulty, since His works testify to this: the universe, man, and all other creatures. However many aberrations occur in such a conception, since many people do not distinguish the ruler of the world from the powers subject to him; these people are compared to one who ignores the chariot driver and thinks that the horses are directing the movement toward the goal with their own powers; in such a manner the distorted concepts of God current in the circles of idolaters are created. Philo battled with exceptional vehemence against the views of those who regard the various heavenly powers or other hidden forces as independent active causes. It is his opinion that sound human intelligence has the power to avoid such aberrations in the understanding of God and this was achieved, according to Philo, by the greatest of the Greek philosophers whose names he mentions with much respect. However, this recognition of God's existence founded upon contemplation of the material world is very far from perfect, since it judges the uncreated from the created, whereas it is impossible to judge the reality of God by the creatures He created. A more perfect apprehension of God's reality is attained by those who "apprehended him through Himself, the light through the light." This was achieved only by the few intimates of God who are in no need of external analogies as aids to the apprehension of God. This type of person is called by Philo, "Israel," i.e., according to his etymology, "seers of God" (Praem. 43ff.). This level of understanding of the Divine existence was attained by Moses. The conceptual level of apprehension of the Divine existence is the   highest that a mortal can attain. For as a result of the frailty of human nature man does not possess the power to apprehend anything of the nature of the Divine. Even the sharpest vision is not capable of seeing Him who was not created, since man possesses no instrument which could prepare him to apprehend His image, and the most man can attain is the apprehension that the nature of God is not within the bounds of human apprehension. Nevertheless the attempt at such apprehensionis not in vain. For even though the results of such effort will always be negligible, the effort itself elevates man and lifts him to a high degree of spiritual purity. Examples of such endeavor by man to apprehend the Divine nature are described in Philo's writings. After human intellect investigates everything to be found on earth, it turns to the contemplation of heavenly causes and partakes of their harmonious motion. From there it rises to the sphere of the intelligibles and at the time it contemplates the ideas of sensible things and absorbs their spiritual splendor, "a sober intoxication" (νηφάλια μέθη) assails it and elevates it to the level of prophecy. With a spirit full of supramundane yearnings it is elevated to the highest level of the intelligible world and already beholds itself approaching the King Himself in His glory. Now, however, when the craving for vision is greatest, dazzling beams of abounding light pour themselves over it and the brilliance of their glitter dims the eye of reason (Op. 69–72; Praem. 36f.). The impossibility of direct contact between God's nature and the sensible world created the concept of duality in Philo's understanding of the world, a concept much influenced by Plato. According to this view it does not become the majesty and elevation of God to be in direct contact with matter, and the forces within God or the activities overflowing from him fulfill the function of the intermediaries. The great gap between the sublime God and the perceptible world is bridged in Philo's teaching by the idea of level and intermediaries which serve as a connection between the absolute being of God and the changing level of the perceptible world. Angel, Idea, Logos – are the terms utilized by Philo to formulate the principles of the theory of levels whose influence upon subsequent religious thought was enormous. (Joshua Gutmann) -IN TALMUDIC LITERATURE Abstract philosophical concepts, such as are found in Philo, are foreign to the thought system of the rabbis of the Talmud and Midrash. However, a marked tendency is discernible among them to present an exalted picture of God, as well as to avoid expressions that could throw the slightest shadow on the conception of His absolute Oneness. In the targums , the early Aramaic translations of Scripture, the name God is frequently rendered "memra ('word') of God." It is certain that no connection whatsoever is intended between this word and the "logos," or with the idea of an intermediary between God and the world. Were this the intention, the word "memra" would have been used in the Targum to such verses as: "The Lord sent a word unto Jacob" (Isa. 9:7); "so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth" (ibid. 55:11); "He sent His word and healed them" (Ps. 107:20). It is precisely in these verses that the Targum employs the word pitgam ("word") or nevu'ah ("prophecy"). Even in the verse "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made" (Ps. 33:6) "word" is rendered by the Targums as milta ("word") of God. Nor is there any mention of the expression "memra" in the Targums of the account of creation. It is therefore certain that this word, which occurs only in the Targums, but not in the Talmud and the Midrash, was used only to guard against any idea which (in the minds of the common people for whom the Targum was intended) might militate against the exalted conception of the Divinity or tend to diminish the pure concept of God. For the same reason one finds many euphemisms employed as substitutes for the names of God, such as Ha-Gevurah ("Might"), Raḥmana ("the Merciful"), Ha-Kadosh Barukh Hu ("The Holy One, blessed be He"), or such terms as Shamayim ("Heaven"), Ha-Makom ("Omnipresent"), Ribbono shel Olam ("Lord of the Universe"), Mi-she-Amar ve-Hayah ha-Olam ("He who spoke, and the Universe came into being"), Avinu she-ba-Shamayim ("Our Father in heaven"), Mi she-Shikken Shemo ba-Bayit ha-Zeh ("He who caused His name to dwell in this house"). A special significance was given by the rabbis to the tetragrammaton, and to Elohim, the tetragrammaton denoting the attribute of mercy, and Elohim, that of judgment (Gen. R. 33:3). That this was a time-honored distinction is evident from its occurrence in Philo where, however, in conformity with the tradition of the Septuagint to translate the tetragrammaton by the Greek word κύριος which corresponds more closely to the concepts of rule and judgment, the name is regarded as the symbol of the attribute of judgment, and the name Elohim (translated in the Septuagint by θεóς) as a symbol of the attribute of mercy. The idea of the unity of God, which was widely discussed in non-Jewish circles at the time, receives strong emphasis in the aggadah. The concept of the unity of God is based upon the premise that the cosmos, with all its activities, is inconceivable without the existence of a single power which determines and directs it in accordance with a preordained plan and in conformity with a definite purpose. In order to give concrete expression to this idea, the rabbis of the aggadah utilized various parables, whose prototypes are found in Philo. They were particularly fond of the parable of "the ship and the captain," or of "the building and its owner," or of "the building and its director" (Sif. Deut. 341; Gen. R. 12:12; Mid. Ps. 23 to 24:1ff.; Gen. R. 39:1). Just as it is impossible for the ship, for example, to reach its destination without a captain, so administration of the cosmos and of individuals is impossible without a directing and supervising force. Other parables frequently found in the aggadah were intended to bring about reverence for the might of God, whose awesomeness is rendered even greater for the very reason that it defies man's powers of comprehension. If the brilliance of the sun blinds the human eye, how much more so the light of God (Ḥul. 59b). Man is unable to observe more than a particle of His grandeur and sublimity. The rabbis of the aggadah also use the soul as an example in   teaching this doctrine. If a man's own soul, the source of his life, is beyond his intellectual comprehension, how much less can he comprehend the Creator of the universe and the source of its life (Mid. Ps. to 103:1; Lev. R. 4:3). The recognition of the oneness of God is regarded by the scholars of the Talmud as a cardinal principle of religion, concerning which mankind as a whole was commanded, the seven precepts binding upon Noachians including idolatry (see noachide Laws). If there is any difference between the biblical concept of God and that of the Talmud it lies in the fact that the God of the Talmud is more "homey," so to speak, than the God of the Bible. He is nearer to the masses, to the brokenhearted, to the ordinary person in need of His help. Only in this sense, does He at times appear to be an even greater epitomization of ethical virtues than the God of Scripture. One finds no echo in the aggadah of the arguments for and against idolatry, such as occur in the Greek literature of that period. The aggadah's attacks on idolatry are much more extreme than those of the biblical period, the dominant note being one of contempt and disdain for those who presume to desecrate in a degrading and crude manner that which is most holy in human life – the service of God. In the course of their violent attacks on idolatry, the rabbis did not shrink from denouncing with equal vehemence the cult of emperor-worship, a type of idolatry for which Nimrod, Sisera, Sennacherib, Hiram, and Nebuchadnezzar served as the prototypes. In apocalyptic circles, among those who expounded merkabah mysticism and those who entered paradise , there is no discernible variation from the aggadic concept of God, the restrictions that the scholars of the Talmud placed upon the study of the esoteric doctrine of the Ma'aseh Merkavah and upon those of whom it was said that they "entered paradise" having a great deal to do with this. Despite this there were many in these circles "who looked and became demented," or "who cut down the saplings" (i.e., led astray the youth). The Talmud applied to them the term minim ("sectarians"), a term which also included Christians, Gnostics, and other sectarians, whom the rabbis regarded either as complete disbelievers (Sif. Deut. 32, 39. or as rejecting the oneness of God. Regardless of whether these sectarians were Jews or whether they wished to identify themselves with them, the rabbis made every effort to exclude them from the fold, at times taking drastic measures to do so. The reaction of the rabbis to the varying concepts of God that were widespread in their time was thus characterized by exceptional vigilance. Even more significant, however, was the complete absence, in their doctrine of the Deity, of any materialistic elements. Though, according to the rabbis, angels play an important role in the lives of human beings, this does not in the least affect the closeness of God to every person in his daily life: "When trouble comes upon a man, he does not burst upon his patron suddenly, but goes and stands at his door… and he calls his servant who announces: 'so and so is at the door'…. Not so, however with regard to the Holy One, blessed be He. If trouble comes upon a man, he should cry out neither to Michael nor to Gabriel, but let him cry out to me, and I shall answer him immediately" (TJ, Ber. 9:1, 13a). The nearness of God is the predominating idea of the Talmud and Midrash. God mourns because of the evil decrees He has pronounced upon Israel; He goes into exile with His children; He studies Torah and gives His view on halakhic topics, and is overjoyed if the scholars triumph over him in halakhah. Every generation of Israel has been witness to the nearness of God. God revealed Himself at the Red Sea as a warrior; at Sinai as a sage filled with mercy; after the incident of the golden calf, as a congregational reader draped in a tallit ("prayer shawl"), instructing the people how to pray and repent. These metaphors are not intended anthropomorphically, but are rather devices for driving home the idea of God's nearness to his people, by the use of striking and daring images. The sages see no difference between God's closeness to Israel in the past and in the present. The idea of the selection of Israel and the greatness of its destiny stands, both in the past and in the present, at the very center of the relationship between God and His people, and complete confidence therefore exists that God will answer His people whenever they seek Him. The concept of God's nearness to man is also enshrined in the ethical teaching of the time, the rabbis enjoining man to imitate the attributes of God: "Just as He is merciful and compassionate, be thou too merciful and compassionate" (Mekh., be-Shallaḥ 14:2; Sifra 19:1). (Yehoshua M. Grintz) -IN MEDIEVAL JEWISH PHILOSOPHY Medieval Jewish philosophy concentrated very heavily on problems concerning the existence and nature of God, His knowability, and His relationship to man and the world. Neither the Bible nor rabbinic literature contain systematic philosophic treatments of these topics, and it was only under the stimulus of Greek and Arabic philosophy that Jews engaged in such inquiries. In natural philosophy, metaphysics, and theology Jewish thought was influenced by Kalām thinkers and by Arabic versions of neoplatonism and Aristotelianism. Fundamental to Jewish philosophic speculation about God was the conviction that human reason is reliable (within its proper limits), and that biblical theology is rational. Most medieval Jewish philosophers considered intellectual inquiry essential to a religious life, and were convinced that there could be no real opposition between reason and faith. Thus, saadiah gaon held that, "The Bible is not the sole basis of our religion, for in addition to it we have two other bases. One of these is anterior to it; namely, the fountain of reason…" (Book of Beliefs and Opinions, 3:10). bahya ibn paquda believed that it is a religious duty to investigate by rational methods such questions as God's unity, because, of the three avenues which God has given us to know Him and His law, "the first is a sound intellect" (Ḥovot ha-Levavot, introduction; cf. 1:3). Even judah halevi , who distrusted philosophy, said, "Heaven forbid that there should be anything in the Bible to contradict that which is manifest or proved" (Kuzari, 1:67). This attitude toward the   relationship between reason and faith dominated medieval Jewish philosophy. It reached its highest, most elaborate, and most familiar expression in the thought of maimonides , and was reaffirmed by later philosophers, such as levi b. gershom and joseph albo . The Existence of God The first task of philosophical theology is to prove the existence of God, though medieval philosophers did not always begin their treatises with this topic. Of the familiar philosophic arguments for the existence of God, the ontological argument, i.e., that God's existence follows necessarily from a definition of what He is, seems to have been unknown to medieval Jewish thought. Emphasis was placed on the cosmological argument, according to which the existence of God was derived from some aspect of the world, such as the existence of motion or causality. Some attention was also given to the teleological argument, according to which the existence of God was derived from order existing in the world. TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT The simplest form of the teleological argument, the argument from design, was used by Saadiah and Baḥya. Both derided those who claim that the world arose by chance without an intelligent and purposive creator. They pointed out the high improbability (in their view, incredibility) that the extremely complex and delicately balanced order of the universe could have come about accidentally, since even ordinary artifacts are known to require an artisan. A more sophisticated version of this argument was offered by Levi b. Gershom. From the teleological nature of all existing things, i.e., the fact (as he supposed) that each thing is moved toward the realization of its own proper end, he concluded that all things together move toward their common ultimate end. This is the final cause of the world, namely God. COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT In Saadiah's versions of the cosmological argument, following the Kalām closely, he deduced the existence of God from the creation of the world. He first demonstrated that the world must have been created in time out of nothing, and he then showed that such a world could only have been created by an omnipotent God whose essence is an absolute unity. Bahya followed a similar method. His basic argument was that since the world is composite, it must have been put together at some point in time; it could not have made itself, because nothing can make itself; therefore, it must have been created, and the creator of the world we call God. The earliest Jewish philosopher to turn away from the Kalām in favor of a stricter Aristotelianism was abraham ibn daud , and the most prominent by far was Maimonides (see aristotle and Aristotelianism). In contrast to the followers of the Kalām, Maimonides rejected the view that proofs for the existence of God are contingent on proofs of the creation of the world. He showed that in principle one cannot prove either that the world is eternal or that it was created, but went on to argue that even if we grant the eternity of the world, we can still demonstrate the existence of God. The arguments he used, two of which had already been set forth in Abraham Ibn Daud's Emunah Ramah, are essentially cosmological. The most familiar of Maimonides' arguments is the argument from motion. Since things in the world are in motion and no finite thing can move itself, every motion must be caused by another; but since this leads to an infinite regress, which is unintelligible, there must be an unmoved mover at the beginning of the series. This unmoved mover is God. Another of Maimonides' arguments begins from the fact that the existence of all things in our experience is contingent, i.e., their existence begins and ends in time, so that each thing can be conceived as not existing. Contingent existence is unintelligible, unless there is at least one necessary existence, one being whose existence is eternal and independent of all cause, standing behind it. Maimonides laid great stress on the conception of God as necessary existence. This argument was the only one that hasdai crescas found acceptable, though he was a severe critic of the Aristotelianism of his predecessors. In addition to other arguments, Saadiah and Judah Halevi offered a non-philosophical argument. Since the revelation at Sinai took place in the presence of 600,000 adults, there is public evidence that places the fact of God's existence beyond all reasonable doubt. The Nature of God For Judaism, the proof of God's existence is incomplete unless it also establishes His absolute unity. Though Jewish philosophers conceived this unity in different ways, none deviated from the fixed belief in God's unity. In reflecting on this question, practically all Jewish philosophers of the Middle Ages came to the conclusion that the unity of God necessarily implies that He must be incorporeal. This conclusion then required them to set forth figurative or metaphorical interpretations of the many biblical passages that ascribe bodily characteristics to God, because no proper philosophical understanding of God can accept a literal reading of these anthropomorphisms. As Abraham Ibn Daud pointed out, Jewish thinkers were particularly sensitive to this problem because many non-Jews held the slanderous opinion that the Jews believe in a corporeal God. Thus, it is understandable that medieval Jewish philosophers devoted much attention to arguments for God's incorporeality and the detailed exegesis of anthropomorphic passages in Scripture. Some scholars even suggest that the primary purpose of Saadiah's philosophical work was to refute all claims that God is corporeal. Maimonides began his Guide of the Perplexed with an elaborate and comprehensive effort to refute all literal interpretations of passages in the Bible that speak of God as having corporeal features. Divine Attributes Having rejected the literal meaning of biblical statements about God, the medieval philosophers had to determine what may be considered a legitimate description of God. Can attributes of God, such as goodness, mercy, wisdom, and justice be predicated of Him positively? The bulk of medieval opinion   held that one cannot properly say anything positive about God, for two reasons. First, ascribing multiple attributes to Him compromises His unity. Second, human language reflects the limitations of the human perspective, so that describing God by way of human predicates reduces Him to the finiteness of man. Therefore, a majority of the medieval philosophers held that nothing positive can be said about God. However, since there is no choice but to talk about God in some way, despite the limitations of human language, they had to find some interpretation of the divine attributes which would not be a positive one. The most widely accepted solution was to understand all the essential attributes, such as living, wise, powerful, which describe the divine nature, as negative, so that every seemingly positive assertion about God only says what He is not. For example, the statement, "God is wise," can only mean that He is not ignorant. In this way one may speak of God's nature in the language of men without compromising His unity and without reducing Him to human form. Because God transcends all knowledge and all experience, one can only affirm that He exists and even this must be interpreted as negating that He lacks existence and describes what He is solelyin terms of negative attributes. This view was held with minor variations by Saadiah, Baḥya, Joseph ibn Ẓaddik , Judah Ha-levi, Ibn Daud, and Maimonides. Besides these descriptions of God's nature which were interpreted as negative attributes, there are others, such as merciful and just, which appear to describe what God does rather than what He is. These could also not be interpreted positively since such positive predication of these descriptions, too, could compromise God's unity. These descriptions were therefore interpreted as attributes of action, i.e., as describing God's effects without, however, attempting to account for a property in God which causes these effects. This non-positive predication of the attributes of action again safeguards divine unity. Maimonides gave the most subtle and comprehensive treatment to the problem of attributes. While holding rigorously to the negative interpretation of essential attributes, he also followed some of his predecessors in affirming the doctrine of attributes of action. Thus, a great calamity may be interpreted in human eyes as an expression of God's anger, and a seemingly miraculous rescue of men from danger will be understood as an instance of God's love and compassion. Two major figures of the late medieval period rejected the doctrine of negative attributes. Both Levi b. Gershom and Ḥasdai Crescas argued in favor of the view that if God is to be intelligible, His attributes must be understood as positive predications. They did not think that positive predication compromises the divine unity and perfection. Moreover, Levi b. Gershom believed that positive predicates could be applied to God literally because their primary meaning is derived from their application to God, while their human meaning is secondary. The position of Joseph Albo, the last of the medieval Jewish philosophers, is ambiguous. Although he affirmed the doctrine of negative attributes, he also tried to argue that the divine attributes have a descriptive-positive meaning. Relation of God to Man and the World In denying God's corporeality and in developing the doctrine of negative attributes, the philosophers went far toward protecting the unity of God. However in proclaiming this absolute metaphysical unity they also generated serious problems. If God is conceived as the metaphysical One, eternal, absolute, unique, and incomparable, how should His relationship to man and the world be understood? In every relation there is multiplicity, and in relations with the corporeal world there is also inescapable temporality. With respect to creation the problem was often solved (or at least avoided) by invoking various forms of neoplatonic theories of emanation. DIVINE PROVIDENCE The issue was particularly acute with respect to the question of divine providence and God's relationship to man. To remain consistent with the Bible and rabbinic teaching, the philosophers had to affirm the doctrine of reward and punishment and, thus, support the view that God knows and is concerned about individual human life and action. Yet, such a God seems to be a temporal, changing being, not the absolute, eternal One. In a most radical statement Maimonides asserted that, "the relation between us and Him, may He be exalted, is considered as non-existent" (Guide of the Perplexed, 1:56). Maimonides tempered this view, however, and developed a theory according to which God shows providence to the human species. God is removed from any direct involvement with individual animals or with inanimate objects: "For I do not by any means believe that this particular leaf has fallen because of a providence watching over it; nor that this spider has devoured this fly because God has now decreed and willed something concerning individuals" (ibid., 3:17). Moreover, according to Maimonides, the providential care of man is totally dependent on the level of the individual's intellectual development. As the human intellect develops in its highest form, it is brought into progressively closer contact with the divine nature which overflows toward it; for the individual human intellect is only a particularization of the divine overflow. "Now if this is so, it follows necessarily…that when any human individual has obtained… a greater proportion of this overflow than others, providence will of necessity watch more carefully over him than over others… Accordingly, divine providence does not watch in an equal manner over all the individuals of the human species, but providence is graded as their human perfection is graded… As for the ignorant and disobedient, their state is despicable proportionately to their lack of this overflow, and they have been relegated to the rank of the individuals of all the other species of animals" (ibid., 3:18). Maimonides solved the problem by making providence an extension of the divine nature in the perfected human intellect, and thus succeeded in preserving God's unity and eternity. Similar views were held by Levi b. Gershom and abraham ibn ezra . While the medieval Jewish philosophers succeeded in meeting the challenge of their intellectual environment, many Jews felt that in the   process they had sacrificed the spiritual satisfactions of simple piety. As the French philosopher Pascal (17th century) once observed, the God of the philosophers is no substitute for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many great Jewish teachers opposed such philosophical conceptions of God, because they felt that they robbed the Jew of his intimate relationship with a God who is loving and compassionate, as well as stern, judging, and commanding. In the centuries since the Middle Ages, Judaism has made room for both the God of the philosophers and the God who lives in the emotions and aspirations of simple, non-philosophical men. (Marvin Fox) -IN KABBALAH The kabbalistic view of God is in principle a derivation from the desire to abolish the contradiction between the two concepts: God's unity and God's existence. The emphasis of God's unity leads the philosopher to reject anything that could undermine that absolute unity – any attribute, determination, or quality that can be interpreted as an addition to His unity and as evidence for plurality. On the other hand, the emphasis on God's life which is characteristic of religious faith endangers His unity, since life is variegated by its very nature: it is a process and not a state. In the opinion of many kabbalists the divinity should be conceived of in the following two fundamental aspects: (1) God in Himself who is hidden in the depths of His being; (2) the revealed God who creates and preserves his creation. For kabbalists these two aspects are not contradictory but complement one another. Regarding God Himself the first aspect suffices, and in the opinion of some (moses cordovero , and the Chabad Ḥasidism), one could doubt whether from this point of view anything at all exists apart from God. It is precisely the second view, however, that is required by religious faith: namely, a revealed God who can be recognized by His action and revelation. In terms of God Himself, He has neither a name nor an attribute and nothing can be said of Him except that He is. This absolute divinity is usually called in kabbalah ein-sof ("the Infinite"). Ein-Sof lacks any attributes, even more than, if one may say so, does the God of Maimonides. From the sayings of some early kabbalists, it is apparent that they are careful not even to ascribe personality to God. Since He is beyond everything – beyond even imagination, thought, or will – nothing can be said of Him that is within the grasp of our thought. He "conceals Himself in the recesses of mystery"; He is "the supreme cause" or "the great existent" (in Berit Menuḥah, Amsterdam, 1648), appellations which contain a negation of the personal nature of God. There were also kabbalists, however, who wished to give a personality to Ein-Sof, though in their opinion too this personality was indefinable: according to them the Ein-Sof is ba'al ha-raẓon, "the possessor of will" (Menaḥem Azariah da Fano ), hence it is possible to say of Him, as do faithful pious Jews, "Blessed be He"; "May He be blessed and exalted," etc. Both these conceptions are met with in the pages of the zohar . In favor of the personal character of Ein-Sof weighed the argument that even without the existence of emanations, the Sefirot, and the worlds, His perfection would not lack anything, hence one should not think that God acquired personality through the emanation of the "attributes" or the Sefirot, which determine for us the personal character of God. It should be said that, in the opinion of all kabbalists the Ein-Sof is divinity itself, but some kabbalists doubt whether it is also "God." For the life of the Ein-Sof is concealed within itself and is not revealed, while the religious man seeks the revelation of this concealed life. This revelation comes through the emanation of the Sefirot, which are the domain of the life of the revealed God. This emanation is not a necessity, according to the nature of the Ein-Sof; it is a voluntary activity of the emanator. The special difficulty in connection with this view is that according to kabbalistic doctrine the ten Sefirot or worlds of heavenly Parẓufim ("configurations," in the Lurianic Kabbalah) are not created regions distinct from the Ein-Sof, like other creations, but are included within the divine unity (see emanation ). The Sefirot are also attributes (and some kabbalists explicitly identify them with the "attributes of action" of the philosophers) but in actual fact they are more than attributes: they are the various stages at which God reveals Himself at the time of creation; they are His powers and His names. Each quality is one facet of his revelation. Hence every name applied to the divine is merely one of these qualities: Eheyeh, Yah, El, Elohim, Ẓeva'ot, Adonai – each points to a special aspect in the revealed God, and only the totality of all these qualities exhausts the active life of God. It is this totality, its order, and its laws, in which the theology of the Kabbalah is fundamentally interested. Here the personality of God is manifested even if it is not developed: God revealed himself not only at Mt. Sinai; He revealed Himself in everything since the beginning of the creation, and will continue to reveal Himself until the end of time; His act in creation is His main revelation. From this position stems a certain dualism in the realm of the revelation of the divine: on the one hand there is Ein-Sof which is transcendental and its traces are not discernable in the creatures; yet on the other hand the traces of the living God, who is embodied in the world of the Sefirot, are found in everything and discernable in everything – at least to the mystic who knows how to interpret the symbolic language of outer reality. God is in His creation, just as He is outside of it. And if the Sefirot, active in the creation, are the "souls" and the inwardness of everything, then the Ein-Sof is the "soul of the souls." By the mere fact of being a creature, no creature is divine, though nevertheless something of the divine is revealed in it. The world of Sefirot then is the region of divine revelation per se, for the flow of divine life rises and descends in the stages of the Sefirot. The divine revelation emanates also upon the region of creation, through the "clothing" of the Sefirot in the mundane world.   In critical literature on Kabbalah opinions vary on the question to what extent the formulations of this fundamental standpoint are pantheistic. At various times a pantheistic view of God had been attributed in particular to the Zohar, to Moses Cordovero, and to abraham herrera . Important in the theology of the Kabbalah is the new view of the divine presence, which is no longer a synonym for God Himself, but a name for the last Sefirah which is the passive and receptive element in God, although it is simultaneously active and emanating upon the creatures. The unity of God in the Sefirot is dynamic and not static and all explanations by kabbalists of the Shema ("Hear O Israel") testify to this: this is the unity of the stream of life flowing from the Ein-Sof, or, according to some opinions, from the will which is the first Sefirah (See kabbalah ). (Gershom Scholem) -IN MODERN JEWISH PHILOSOPHY Moses Mendelssohn moses mendelssohn , the first modern Jewish philosopher, believed that, "Judaism knows nothing of a revealed religion in the sense in which Christians define this term." The truths of religion, particularly those that have to do with the existence and nature of God, are principles of reason and, as such, are available to all men. Through rational reflection we know that God exists, that He is a necessary and perfect being, creator of the world, omnipotent, omniscient, and absolutely good. These truths, which constitute the essential grounds of salvation, are the elements of a natural religion shared by all men. What is peculiarly Jewish is not religion at all, but only divine legislation, God's revealed law, which binds and obligates the Jewish people alone and is the necessary condition of their salvation. True religion, on the other hand, is universal. God has made known to all men, through reason, the essential and eternal truths about His nature and the world He created. Solomon Formstecher solomon formstecher was especially indebted to the idealist philosopher schelling for the metaphysical foundations of his theology. He conceived God as the "world-soul," which is the ultimate ground of the unity of all reality. While nature is the open manifestation of God in the world of our experience, it is only as spirit that God can truly be conceived. His essence is beyond all human knowledge, and to restrict God to the necessarily anthropomorphic conceptions of man borders on paganism. Formstecher believed that the world-soul is not in the world, but is prior to and independent of it. God is an absolutely free spirit, whose freedom is most clearly evident in His activity as creator of the world. Because of His absolute freedom, God is understood as the ultimate ethical being and as the ideal that man should strive to imitate and realize in his own ethical life. Samuel Hirsch samuel hirsch taught a doctrine similar to that of Formstecher, although he was more dependent on the philosophy of hegel . He emphasized the centrality of the ethical even more than Formstecher did. Man discovers his freedom in his own self-consciousness. He knows himself, not as part of nature, but as an "I" who stands in freedom over against the world. God is conceived, on this human model, as a being who is absolutely free and supreme in power over all that exists. Through the miracles that He performs, God exhibits to man His absolute power and freedom. For Hirsch, Judaism is, above all, the religion of the spirit. Its highest purpose is the actualization of human freedom in the ethical life, because only in free and moral acts does man truly serve God. Solomon Ludwig Steinheim Unlike most of his contemporaries, solomon ludwig steinheim thought that philosophy and religion are radically opposed. He held that the true knowledge of God can be acquired only through revelation, and that scriptural revelation contradicts the canons of human reason. If God is conceived in purely rational terms, then His freedom must necessarily be denied, because rationality entails causal necessity. The God of reason is subject to causal rules, since, even as first cause, He is limited to that which reason finds possible. Such a God is not absolutely free. Neither is He a true creator, for according to the principle that nothing comes from nothing, He could not have created the world freely and ex nihilo. Steinheim rejected reason in favor of revelation, denied the principle of causality, and represented God as the true and free creator who stands above the limitations of rational necessity. Only through such a theology does man become free. Freedom is possible for man only if he subordinates his reason to the God of revelation, whose creative freedom provides the sole ground of genuinely human existence. Nachman Krochmal nachman krochmal , although living in Eastern Europe, was more fully Hegelian than his Western Jewish contemporaries. They modified the prevailing philosophy to accommodate the personal God of traditional Judaism, but Krochmal developed a doctrine which borders on pantheism. He conceived God as Absolute Spirit, containing in itself all reality. Absolute Spirit has none of the characteristics of a personal God. Even as cause, He is impersonal: He causes the world only in the sense that He is its totality. The world is derived from God through emanation, which Krochmal understood as a form of divine self-limitation. In this Krochmal was affected by kabbalistic doctrines, which he combined with Hegelianism. Hermann Cohen Three figures of major importance appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hermann cohen , franz rosenzweig , and martin buber . In his early years Cohen thought of God as a philosophical construct that served as the guarantor of morality and moral progress. The existence of God, according to this conception, cannot be proved. He is beyond all positive descriptions, and is thought of only as an "idea" in the technical Kantian sense. Though His nature is absolutely   unknown to us, God as idea is the one absolutely necessary ground of morality. His reality is affirmed because the alternative of denying morality cannot be accepted. In his later years Cohen adopted more traditional language as he became more deeply concerned for Judaism. He then spoke of God as the Creator, the God of love, and the source of all being, who is absolutely one and unique. Franz Rosenzweig In Rosenzweig's view, God is not known through philosophic inquiry or rational demonstration. He is met in direct existential encounter, which is true revelation. In the anguished consciousness of his own creaturely contingency, man encounters God, who is the creator of the world, and above all he encounters dependence. This meeting reveals God as an all-powerful and loving father. His love for man results in commandments that bind every individual for whom the divine-human encounter is a reality. Martin Buber Like Rosenzweig, Buber stressed, above all, the personal quality of God. He is the Eternal Thou, whom one meets as the supreme partner in dialogue. This is not the depersonalized God of the philosopher-theologian, whose nature is expressed in a set of formal propositions. Man knows Him only as the Ever-Present, who meets him in true encounter. No effort to give a consistent definition of God succeeds. "Of course God is the 'wholly Other'; but He is also the wholly Same, the wholly Present. Of course He is the Mysterium Tremendum that appears and overthrows; but He is also the mystery of the self-evident, nearer to me than my I" (I and Thou (1937), 79). Mordecai Kaplan In the United States mordecai kaplan developed a naturalistic view of God in conscious opposition to the traditional, supernatural views. Convinced that modern science makes it impossible to believe in a transcendent, personal God, Kaplan nevertheless saw value in retaining the idea and the name "God." He conceived God simply as that power in nature which makes possible the fulfillment of man's legitimate aspirations. Despite his commitment to scientific naturalism, Kaplan believed that the world is so constituted that valid human ideals are supported and helped toward realization by the cosmic process. It is this force making for human salvation that Kaplan called God. (Marvin Fox) -ATTRIBUTES OF GOD The discussion in Jewish philosophy of the attributes or predicates (Heb. te'arim; Arab. ṣifāt) of God is based on the problem of how God, whose essence is presumed to be unknowable, can be spoken of in meaningful terms. Philo Philo was the first to introduce the doctrine of the unknowability of God, which he derived from the Bible (see C. Siegfried , Philo (1875), 203–4; H.A. Wolfson, Philo, 2 (1947), 86–90, 119–26). He interprets Moses' prayer, "Reveal Thyself to me" (according to the Septuagint version of Ex. 33:18) as a plea for a knowledge of God's essence, and God's answer as pointing out that only His existence, and not His essence, can be known (Wolfson, op. cit., 86–87). From God's unlikeness to any other being follows His simplicity, i.e., essential unity, indivisibility, and His being "without quality," i.e., without "accidents" such as inhere in corporeal objects, and without "form," such as inheres in matter. God belongs to no class. He is without genus or species, and consequently no concept can be formed of Him (ibid., 97–110). The scriptural passages describing God in anthropomorphic and anthropopathic terms must, therefore, be understood as serving a merely pedagogical purpose. Since God's essence is unknowable, all the predicates of God in Scripture describe Him only by what is known of Him through the proofs of His existence, and they refer only to the causal relation of God to the world. Philosophical discussion of the problem of God's attributes gained new impetus under the influence of Muslim philosophy, especially the Kalām. Kalām The most elaborate Jewish Kalām discussion of attributes is found in Saadiah's Emunot ve-De'ot (Book of Beliefs and Opinions, tr. by S. Rosenblatt, 1948). Saadiah finds in Scripture the following attributes assigned to God: He is one, living, omnipotent, omniscient, and unlike any other being. His unity and incomparability follow logically from the notion of "Creator" (1:1), as do the notions of existence, omnipotence, omniscience. The latter three attributes do not imply diversity in God. Just as the attribute of "Creator" does not add anything to the essence of God, but merely expresses His causal relation to the world, so do these three attributes, which explain the term Creator, add nothing to His essence, but merely denote the existence of a world created by Him (1:4). It would seem to follow that these three attributes are active, not essential attributes, but this is not Saadiah's ultimate meaning. Since these attributes, when applied to God (unlike the case when they are applied to man) are not distinct from God's essence, Saadiah upholds positive essential attributes (existence, omniscience, omnipotence), but reduces their meaning to that of God's causality as Creator. He does, however, distinguish between these essential attributes and attributes of action. Attributes such as merciful, gracious, jealous, and avenging are attributes of action in the sense that they express a certain affection for the creatures produced by the causality of God (1:12). Neoplatonism Jewish neoplatonic writings are marked by a new emphasis on the unity of God. At the same time the notion of the will of God was injected into the discussion. The extant writings of isaac israeli , the earliest Jewish neoplatonist, contain few references to the attributes (see A. Altmann and S.M. Stern, Isaac Israeli (1958), 151–8). solomon ibn gabirol 's views are more explicit. In his Mekor Hayyim and his poem Keter Malkhut, Ibn Gabirol emphasizes God's unity (Mekor Ḥayyim,   3:4; 5:30). Negative terms are used particularly with reference to the "mystery" (sod) of the divine unity, concerning which we do not know "what it is," but which may be described as unaffected by plurality or change, or by attribute (to'ar) and designation (kinnui). His negative interpretation of the divine attributes is, however, complicated by Ibn Gabirol's doctrine that matter and form, the two principles which constitute all created beings, derive from the essence and the will of God respectively. Matter (which is originally "spiritual" matter) proceeds from the very essence of God, and form is impressed upon, and diffused in matter by virtue of God's will. Ibn Gabirol's will tends to assume the character of an intermediate between God and the world and, in certain respects, shares in the divine absoluteness (ibid., 5:37–9; 4:20). Bahya ibn Paquda's elaborate treatment of the attributes in the "Sha'ar ha-Yiḥud" ("Chapter on Unity") of his Ḥovot ha-Levavot starts from the thesis that from the existence and order of the universe, the existence of one single creator can be inferred. Like Aristotle (Metaphysics, 5, 5, 1015b, 16–7), Baḥya distinguishes between the "accidental" and "absolute" senses of the term "one" and concludes that the truly One is God alone, who is incomparable and unique (1:8–9). Having established God's unity in the neoplatonic sense, Bahya proceeds to discuss the meaning of the attributes, which may again be classified under two heads: essential attributes and attributes of action. The essential attributes are existence, unity, and eternity. They do not imply a plurality in God's essence, but must be interpreted negatively, i.e., God is not nonexistent; there is no plurality in Him; He is not a created thing. The attributes of action which describe God's actions either in anthropomorphic terms or in terms of corporeal motions and acts are used by Scripture in order to establish a belief in God in the souls of men (1:10), i.e., for pedagogical reasons. Aristotelianism In Jewish Aristotelianism the discussion of the divine attributes reached a new level, reflecting the influence of Avicenna and, subsequently, of averroes . The notion of God as the "necessary being" which was introduced by Avicenna, contested by al-Ghazālī , and modified by Averroes, replaced, in some measure, the neoplatonic concept of the One. Moreover, the problem of the meaning of terms like "one" and "being" came to the fore, for even though these terms were predicated of God in a peculiar sense, they seemed also to bear a generic sense in which they were predicated of other beings as well. Al-Fārābī held the notion that common terms of this kind are predicated of God "firstly" or "in a prior manner," and of other beings "secondly" or "in a posterior manner," i.e., that the perfections implied by the particular predicate derive from God as their cause or exemplar. According to Avicenna, the term "one" is predicated of God and other beings "in an ambiguous sense" (see H.A. Wolfson , in Homenaje a Millás-Vallicrosa, 2 (1956), 545–71), which implies the doctrine of the "analogy" of being (A.M. Goichon (tr.), Ibn Sina, Livre des Directives et Remarques (1951), 366–9, n. 2), a view which was not adopted by the first Jewish Aristotelians (Abraham ibn Daud and Maimonides), who substituted for it the notion of the purely homonymous character of these terms, that is that terms applied to God and other beings share only the name but not the meaning. Only under the influence of Averroes did the doctrine of the "analogy" of being eventually command the assent of Jewish Aristotelians (notably Levi b. Gershom, see below). Abraham Ibn Daud, in his Emunah Ramah (ed. by S. Weil (1852), 48–57), follows Avicenna in establishing the existence of God as "the necessary being" in the sense that God's essence necessarily implies His existence, while in the case of all other beings their existence is only "possible" and extrinsic to their essence. True unity is therefore established in the case of God alone by virtue of His intrinsic necessary existence. Ibn Daud enumerated seven positive attributes: unity, truth, existence, omniscience, will, omnipotence, and being. These neither imply definitions of God nor constitute a plurality in Him. They have to be interpreted as either negations or as asserting God's causality. Unlike Avicenna, he asserts the homonymity of the term "being" in the case of God as compared with its application to all other beings. God's being is true and necessary because it alone has an underived and independent existence. The other eight attributes are explained by Ibn Daud as negative. MAIMONIDES The most incisive treatment of the attributes is found in Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed (1:50–60). Maimonides argues that every attribute predicated of God is an attribute of action or, if the attribute is intended for the apprehension of His essence and not of His action, it signifies the negation or privation of the attribute in question (1:58). There cannot be affirmative essential attributes, i.e., affirmative predications relating to the essence of God which is unknowable (1:60). The anthropomorphic and anthropopathic descriptions of God in Scripture have to be understood as attributes of action, or as assertions of God's absolute perfection (1:53). Novel elements in Maimonides' discussion of attributes are his fivefold classification; his rejection of relational attributes; and his interpretation of negative attributes. Maimonides lists and discusses five kinds of attributes: (1) A thing may have its definition and through it its essence is predicated of it. In the case of God, who cannot be defined, this kind of attribute is impossible. (2) A part of a definition may be predicated. This, again, is inapplicable to God; for if He had a part of an essence, His essence would be composite. (3) A quality subsisting in an essence may be predicated. None of the genera of quality is applicable to God. (4) A relation to something other than itself (to time, place, or another individual) may be predicated of a thing. This is inadmissible in the case of God who is not related to time or place and not even to any of the substances created by Him. (5) The action performed by a certain agent may be predicated of him. This kind of attribute makes no affirmation of   his essence or quality and is therefore admissible in the case of God (1:52). The "13 attributes of mercy" revealed by God to Moses (Ex. 34:6–7) are attributes of action. They do not denote affections (e.g., compassion) on the part of God, but merely express the actions proceeding from Him in terms drawn from analogous human experience. Maimonides makes the point that not only the many attributes of God used in Scripture, but also the four intellectually conceived attributes of existence, omnipotence, omniscience, and will are attributes of action and not essential attributes (1:53). Because of God's absolute uniqueness and unlikeness to anything else, God's essence is unknowable (1:55). The only correct way of speaking of God's essence is that of negation. Maimonides lists eight terms (existence and life, incorporeality, firstness, omnipotence, omniscience, will, and unity), all of which are interpreted as negative in meaning and as expressing the dissimilarity between God and all other beings, e.g., "God exists" means "God is not absent"; "He is powerful" means "He is not weak." The negation means that the term in question (e.g., "weak") is inapplicable to God. It also means that the affirmative term (e.g., "powerful") is equally inapplicable, and that it can only be used in an equivocal sense. Maimonides' doctrine of attributes reflects, fundamentally, Avicenna's position as represented by al-Ghazālī in his Tahāfut al-Falāsifaʾ (i.e., denial of essential attributes based on the concept of God's "necessary existence," which, in turn, is based on the Avicennian ontological distinction between essence and existence in the cases of all beings except God), but goes beyond Avicenna in rejecting relational attributes. Post-Maimonidean Philosophy In post-Maimonidean Jewish philosophy the influence of Averroes became increasingly pronounced. Averroes' attack on Avicenna's ontological distinction between essence and existence (Tahāfut al-Tahāfut, ed. by S. van den Bergh (1954), 179–81, and passim) achieved particular prominence and led to the adoption of the theory that the divine attributes did not imply homonymous terms, but rather that essence and existence are identical in all beings, including God. LEVI BEN GERSHOM (Gersonides) The full implications of Averroes' critique of Avicenna appear in the doctrine of Levi b. Gershom (Milḥamot Adonai, 3:3). The attributes are not to be interpreted as equivocal in meaning. They are to be understood secundum prius et posterius (both by a priori and a posteriori reasoning). They do not thereby imply a kind of relation and similarity between God and other beings, nor do they involve plurality: "For not every proposition in which something is affirmed of something implies plurality of that thing" (see H.A. Wolfson , in JQR, 7 (1916/17), 1–44, 175–225). Gersonides quotes scriptural passages affirming God's oneness (Deut. 6:4) and existence (Ex. 3:14), and he concludes from them the attributes of intellect, life, goodness, omnipotence, and will must likewise be predicated of God in a positive sense. ḤASDAI CRESCAS The last significant development of the doctrine of divine attributes in medieval Jewish philosophy is found in Hasdai Crescas (Or Adonai, 1:3, 1–6). He distinguishes between the essence of God, which is unknowable, and essential predicates which are knowable. The latter are neither identical with God's essence nor merely accidental to it, but inseparable from it in the sense that the one cannot be thought of without the other. This distinction is not in conflict with the notion of God's absolute simplicity. Nor is God's unlikeness to any other being thereby denied. The attributes of omnipotence and omniscience may be predicated of God secundum prius et posterius. There are, however, some attributes which are, in the final analysis, negative in meaning, namely existence, unity, and eternity. These too apply to God and all other beings secundum prius et posterius and are thus not equivocal. Crescas thus firmly rejects denial of affirmative attributes, and suggests that such denial may be interpreted as really referring only to God's essence, where it is legitimate, but not to His essential attributes (1:3,3 end). Modern Philosophy In modern Jewish philosophy the divine attributes are no longer discussed with the stringency imposed by the medieval tradition as inherited from Philo and the neoplatonists and modified by the Aristotelians. Nevertheless, the concepts evolved by the medieval thinkers are not entirely lost. Both Moses Mendelssohn and Hermann Cohen reflect in different ways, according to their respective positions, essential elements of the earlier discussion. Mendelssohn deals with the attributes particularly in his small treatise Die Sache Gottes oder die gerettete Vorsehung (1784). He asserts in the name of "the true religion of reason" the conjunction in God of his "greatness" and His "goodness." The greatness of God contains two parts: His power or omnipotence and His wisdom or omniscience. Mendelssohn's discussion of the divine attributes (he does not use this term) is directed towards the problem of theodicy. The essential point is that the infinite wisdom of God is allied to His infinite goodness, which constitutes God's "justice." In its highest degree justice is "holiness" in which equity and mercy are included. The concept of the goodness of God implies that God's punishment of the sinner is meant for the sake of the sinner's improvement. Hermann Cohen presents his concept of the attributes of God in much closer dependence on the medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophers, particularly on Maimonides. The concept of the unity of God in Judaism, according to Cohen, must not be confounded with that of mere "oneness," which is merely negative in meaning. Cohen adopts the term "uniqueness" (Einzigheit), which denotes God as the only Being in the true sense of the word, and signifies also His incomparability (Isa. 40:25), eternity, and causality (Religion der Vernunft (1929), 51–54, 70), as well as the concept of God as creator (ibid., 73–77). He interprets Maimonides' theory of negative attributes as the absolute negation of negativity and the affirmation of positivity. Thus,   propositions such as "God is not weak" are given in the logical form "God is not non-active" (Juedische Schriften, 3 (1924), 252, 257; Religion der Vernunft, 72–73). Moreover, he links this interpretation with his own concept of Ursprung (principium; Gr. arché) as the thinking which alone can produce what may be considered as being, and which does not depend on the data of sense experience. Cohen interprets Maimonides' attributes of action as expressing the "correlation" between God and men (see A. Altmann , In Zwei Welten (1962), 377–99). They denote exemplars for man's action rather than qualities in God (Religion der Vernunft, 109ff., 252, 313). The attributes of action can be reduced to two: love and justice which, in Cohen's ethical monotheism, become "concepts of virtue for man" (ibid., 475, 480). (Alexander Altmann) -JUSTICE AND MERCY OF GOD Central among the biblical affirmations about God are those that emphasize His justice (mishpat) and righteousness (ẓedakah) on the one hand, and His mercy (raḥamim) and loving-kindness (ḥesed) on the other. God's justice and mercy are both affirmed in God's proclamation to Moses at Sinai before the giving of the Decalogue: "The Lord, the Lord, a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment, but visits the iniquity of the fathers upon children and children's children, upon the third and fourth generations" (Ex. 34:6–7). Justice and mercy are the bases of the covenant between God and the Israelites. God's mercy is revealed in the fact that he redeemed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt to make them His people and contract a covenant with them: "When Israel was a child, I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son" (Hos. 11:1). His justice is revealed in the fact that He punishes the Israelites if they sin and do not uphold their side of the covenant: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you all your iniquities"(Amos 3:2). Both the justice and mercy of God are evident in the biblical portrayal of God's relationship with Israel; "I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy" (Hos. 2:19). In exercising justice and punishing the people of Israel when they sin God reveals His power and lordship not only to Israel but to the world as a whole. God's justice is often tempered by His mercy: "My heart recoils within me, My compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute My fierce anger, I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man…" (Hos. 11:8–9). By exercising His mercy God hopes to encourage the people of Israel to uphold their side of the covenant and fulfill His demands as expressed in the Torah. The relationship between justice and mercy in God's attitude toward the people of Israel is intricate and varied, and while some biblical verses emphasize His justice and others, His mercy, it is impossible to say that one or the other is predominant. In Post-biblical Judaism This same intermingling of justice and mercy is to be discerned in the works of Philo and other post-biblical writings (see G.F. Moore , Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era, 1 (1927), 386–400). In rabbinic Judaism a vivid expression of this intermingling is found in a parable in Genesis Rabbah (12:15) comparing God to a king who in order to prevent a fragile goblet from shattering must mix hot and cold water when filling it. Thus the world exists because of the admixture of the attributes of mercy and justice (middat ha-rahamim and middat ha-din). Behind this parable lies a complex development of biblical ideas in which the two divine appellations, the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) and Elohim, were understood to refer to the two main manifestations of God's providence: the first, to express the attribute of mercy; the second, that of justice (see A. Marmorstein , The Old Rabbinic Doctrine of God, pt. 1 (1927), 43–53, 181–208). The presence of both names in Genesis 2:4 signifies that mercy and justice were both necessary in order to make creation possible. Genesis Rabbah 39:6 expresses a similar notion: "If thou desirest the world to endure, there can be no absolute justice, while if thou desirest absolute justice the world cannot endure.…" Insofar as God's justice and mercy are necessary for creation it is not only the community of Israel that is the major object of these divine activities but the world as a whole. Nonetheless, it must be recognized that rabbinic Judaism was more concerned with the divine activities of mercy and justice as they were directed toward the community of Israel. The fate of the Jewish people in the Roman period was a tragic impetus to this discussion. Faced, too, with the problem of the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked, the rabbis examined the concept of divine justice and advanced a number of new interpretations of it in an effort to justify the apparent imbalance of suffering and prosperity in the world. It was suggested that ultimate reward and punishment would take place in the afterlife , that suffering was a process of purification (yissurin shel ahavah), and that the individual often suffered for the sins of his ancestors or of the community at large. While various trends in medieval Jewish philosophy and mysticism interpreted the divine attributes of justice and mercy differently, they all affirmed that these were qualities of God. In the face of the Holocaust in the 20th century, some thinkers, for example, R. Rubenstein, have seriously questioned the concept of divine justice and mercy, while others, for example, Emil Fackenheim, maintain that it is a major obligation of Jewish religious thought to rediscover the meaning of the concept in the face of the contemporary situation. (Lou H. Silberman) -CONCEPTIONS OF GOD Monotheism The normative Jewish conception of God is theism, or more exactly, monotheism . It conceives of God as the creator and sustainer of the universe, whose will and purposes are supreme.   He is the only being whose existence is necessary, uncaused, and eternal, and all other beings are dependent on Him. God as conceived by Judaism transcends the world, yet He is also present in the world, and "the whole earth is full of His glory" (Isa. 6:3). He is a personal God, whom man can love with the highest and most complete love, while confronting Him as father, king, and master. He loves man and commands him, and His commandments are the criterion of the good. He is absolutely one, admitting no plurality in His nature, and absolutely unique, so that no other existing thing can in any way be compared to Him. This is essentially the picture of the biblical God as it was developed and understood in classical Jewish thought. This conception of God contrasts sharply with the mythological gods, who have parents and children, eat and drink, have desires and passions. Judaism categorically rejected the mythological gods. However, a variety of more sophisticated conceptions of God confronted Judaism, presenting challenges and evoking responses. Atheism It might be supposed that the greatest threat to monotheism would be atheism, but throughout most of Jewish history this was not the case. In the Bible there is no awareness of genuine atheism. The biblical authors attacked idolatry and other mistaken conceptions of God. Frequently, they attacked those who deny that God is concerned with man and the world, but seemed unaware of men who did not believe in a superior power. Atheism was known in the Middle Ages, and was countered by the various proofs for the existence of God that were common to all medieval philosophical theology. Yet, since the dominant medieval culture was overwhelmingly religious, atheism constituted only a minor threat. In modern times atheism became a significant and widely held doctrine, based on and reinforced by naturalistic scientific ideas and scientifically oriented philosophy. The classical proofs for God's existence have been largely discredited and no longer provide a satisfactory ground for theism. Modern theists usually offer arguments for the existence of God, but do not claim that they have proofs. These arguments, though not decisive, provide a justification for the theistic option, since it is claimed that these are matters about which no demonstrative certainty is possible. In the 20th century theistic belief usually rests on a combination of admittedly incomplete intellectual evidence and personal faith and commitment. Polytheism and Dualism Polytheism, the belief that there are many gods, was never a serious threat to normative Judaism, because it is a form of idolatry which could not be readily confused with biblical doctrine. Wherever polytheism appeared among Jews, recognized authorities rejected it vigorously. Dualism was the only version of polytheism which made serious inroads into the cultural world of the Jews. Dualism teaches that there are two cosmic powers, each of which has dominion over one portion of the universe. The Zoroastrian version has a god of light and a god of darkness, while the Gnostics taught that there is a hidden god who is beyond all knowledge and the evident god who created and formed the world. Dualism is soundly rejected in a classical biblical passage which says, "I am the Lord, and there is none else, beside me there is no God… I form the light and create the darkness; I make peace and create evil; I am the Lord that doeth all these things" (Isa. 45:5, 7). This forceful denial of dualism is repeated in a slightly modified form in the daily liturgy. The Talmud challenges the heresy of dualism explicitly with strong prohibitions against any deviations from standard liturgy that might have dualistic implications. Rabbinic rulings proscribe any form of prayer that suggests that there are shetei reshuyot, two independent powers controlling the world (Ber. 33b). The medieval philosophers also argued against dualism. Saadiah Gaon dealt with the problem explicitly, offering three arguments against the dualistic position. He first showed that if the doctrine of one God is abandoned, there is no reason to restrict the cosmic powers to two. Arguments can then be made for almost any number one chooses. A second objection is that dualism makes unintelligible the fact that there is an ordered world, since, presumably, each power could frustrate the designs of the other. Finally, he argued that we cannot conceive of such powers as gods at all, since each would limit the other (Beliefs and Opinions, 2:2). Other medieval philosophers attacked dualism indirectly through their arguments for the necessary unity of God. Though there are similarities between Kabbalah and gnosticism , the kabbalists did not succumb to the temptations of dualism. "On the contrary," says Gershom Scholem, "all the energy of 'orthodox' Kabbalistic speculation is bent to the task of escaping from dualistic consequences; otherwise they would not have been able to maintain themselves within the Jewish community" (Scholem, Mysticism, 13). Trinity The Trinitarian conception of God is associated especially with christianity . Though Christian theologians normally intepret the Trinity as a doctrine of one God in three persons, Jewish thinkers rejected it categorically as a denial of the divine unity. Since only heretical Jewish sects could even entertain the possibility of a Trinitarian God, most Jewish anti-Trinitarian polemics were directed specifically against Christianity. Occasionally, kabbalistic doctrines seem to have a Trinitarian cast, as is the case in the thought of abraham abulafia (ibid., 123ff.). However, these Trinitarian formulations are always interpreted in such ways that they clearly do not refer to a triune God. Some Shabbateans (see Shabbetai Ẓevi ) developed a trinity consisting of the unknown God, the God of Israel, and the Shekhinah ("Divine Presence"; ibid., 287ff.). Their heresy was vigorously attacked by official Jewish spokesmen. Pantheism A far more complex problem is posed by Jewish attitudes toward pantheism. This doctrine teaches that God is the whole   of reality and that all reality is God. Because it does not involve any polytheistic notions and seems, therefore, compatible with standard Jewish doctrines about God's unity, pantheism found occasional followers among even highly respected Jewish thinkers. It also evoked great opposition, because it denies some of the fundamentals of Jewish monotheism. The pantheistic God is not a separate being who transcends the world, nor is he even a being who is immanent in the world. He is identical with the totality of the world. He is not a personal God; he neither commands men nor seeks their obedience. Consequently, there are almost no instances of pure pantheism within the normative Jewish tradition, though pantheistic tendencies have appeared at various times. They derive from an overemphasis on the immanence of God or an excessive stress on the nothingness of the world. They must be considered in any account of Jewish conceptions of God. Hermann Cohen expressed the extreme view of many thinkers when he stated categorically "Pantheism is not religion" (see Ethik des reinen Willens (19212, 456–66). Nevertheless, one can find various traces of pantheistic thought, if not actual pantheism, in many deeply pious Jewish thinkers. Some scholars attempted to put a pantheistic interpretation on the rabbinic use of Makom ("Place") as a name for God because "He is the place of the world, but the world is not His place" (Gen. R. 68). (The original significance of Makom as a divine name has no pantheistic connotations.) Philo also spoke of God as "Place" and for this reason is considered by some interpreters to have a pantheistic doctrine. H.A. Wolfson however, argues that for Philo the doctrine that God is the place of the world means that "God is everywhere in the corporeal world, thereby exercising His individual providence, but He is no part of the corporeal world and is unlike anything in it" (see his Philo (1947), 245ff.). The elements of pantheism which appeared periodically in the history of Jewish thought were almost always tempered by the use of theistic language and adjustments to theistic claims. Solomon ibn Gabirol conceived of reality as a graded continuum, moving from the Godhead through a series of levels of being down to the corporeal world (Mekor Ḥayyim, passim). His system seems pantheistic, because it treats all reality as one continuous emanation of the divine substance. Nevertheless, in his general religious orientation he returns to standard conceptions of a personal God who is the creator of the world. The thought of Abraham Ibn Ezra exhibits a similar ambiguity. He used purely pantheistic language when he said that "God is the One. He is the creator of all, and He is all… God is all and all comes from Him" (Commentary to Genesis, 1:26; to Exodus, 23:21). Yet, there are countless places in his writings where he also uses strictly conventional theistic terminology. Wherever there is strong neoplatonic influence on Jewish thought a suggestion of pantheism is usually present. Pantheism also appears in mystical doctrines that stress the immanence of God. In the Kabbalah there is an ongoing struggle between pantheistic and theistic tendencies. The former often provide the doctrinal base of a kabbalistic system, while the latter determine the language in which the system is expressed. Scholem states, "In the history of Kabbalism, theistic and pantheistic trends have frequently contended for mastery. This fact is sometimes obscured because the representatives of pantheism have generally endeavored to speak the language of theism; cases of writers who openly put forward pantheistic view are rare… The author of the Zohar inclines toward pantheism… On the whole, his language is that of the theist, and some penetration is needed to lift its hidden and lambent pantheistic core to the light" (Mysticism, 222). The same tendency can be observed in Ḥasidism. In a key passage R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady asserted that "there is truly nothing besides Him" (Tanya, Sha'ar ha-Yiḥud ve-ha-Emunah, ch. 3); yet, he can hardly be called a pure pantheist when we consider the many conventional theistic formulations in his writings. Only in the case of Nachman Krochmal does there seem to be an instance of genuine Jewish pantheism. Krochmal ascribed true existence only to God, who is Absolute Spirit. In his thought only the Absolute Spirit truly exists, and he denies any other mode of existence. Krochmal was far less inclined than earlier Jewish thinkers to adopt language appropriate to a doctrine of a personal, theistic God. Deism Deism was still another conception of God that confronted Jewish theology. Deistic doctrine contains two main elements. First is the view that God, having created the world, withdrew himself from it completely. This eliminates all claims of divine providence, miracles, and any form of intervention by God in history. Second, deism holds that all the essential truths about God are knowable by unaided natural reason without any dependence on revelation. The vast bulk of Jewish tradition rejected both deistic claims. It is hardly possible to accept the biblical God and still affirm the deistic view that he is not related to the world. Numerous rabbinic texts are attacks on the Greek philosophers who taught such a doctrine. Similar attacks continued throughout the history of Jewish philosophy. Of the medieval philosophers, only Levi ben Gershom seems to have had deistic tendencies. Among modern Jewish thinkers, Moses Mendelssohn is sometimes classified as a deist because he held that there is a universal natural religion, whose doctrines are known by reason alone. It does not seem correct, however, to identify Mendelssohn's God with the deistic God, because he ascribes to God qualities of personality and involvement with the world that are hardly in accord with standard deism (see guttmann , Philosophies, 291ff.). However, Mendelssohn is open to varying interpretations, and leo baeck was not alone when he propounded the view that for Mendelssohn "Judaism had become merely a combination of law and deistic natural religion." Over the centuries of its history Judaism has been exposed to a variety of conceptions of God, but none has ever been strong enough to overcome the basic Jewish commitment to monotheism. Other doctrines have influenced Jewish thought and have left their traces, yet, the monotheistic   faith has consistently emerged as the normative expression of Jewish religion. (Marvin Fox) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: IN THE BIBLE: Kaufmann Y., Toledot (incl. bibl.); Kaufmann Y., Religion; M. Buber, I and Thou (1937); EM, 1 (1950), 297–321; U. Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis (1961); A.J. Heschel, The Prophets (1962); R. Gordis, The Book of God and Man (1965). IN HELLENISTIC LITERATURE: J. Klausner, Filosofim ve-Hogei De'ot, 1 (1934); H.A. Wolfson, Philo, 2 vols. (1947). IN TALMUDIC LITERATURE: Ginzberg, Legends, index; M. Lazarus, Ethics of Judaism, 2 vols. (1900–01); G.F. Moore, Judaism, 2 vols. (1927), index; C.G. Montefiore and H. Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology (1938), index; A. Marmorstein, The Old Rabbinic Doctrine of God (1927, repr. 1968); A. Cohen, Everyman's Talmud (1932), 1–71 and index; M. Guttmann, Das Judentum und seine Umwelt (1927); H. Cohen, Religion der Vernunft aus den Quellen des Judentums (19292); P. Kuhn, Gottes Selbsterniedrigung in der Theologie der Rabbinen (1968). IN MEDIEVAL JEWISH PHILOSOPHY: Guttmann, Philosophies, index; Husik, Philosophy, index; D. Kaufmann, Attributenlehre (1875). IN THE KABBALAH: Scholem, Mysticism, index; idem, Reshit ha-Kabbalah (1948); I. Tishby, Mishnat ha-Zohar, 1 (1949), 95–282; M. Ibn Gabai, Derekh Emunah (1890, repr. 1967); M. Cordovero, Elimah Rabbati (1881, repr. 1961), Ma'ayan 1. IN MODERN JEWISH PHILOSOPHY: J.B. Agus, Modern Philosophies of Judaism (1941); Guttmann, Philosophies, index; S.H. Bergman, Faith and Reason: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (1961). ATTRIBUTES OF GOD: D. Kaufmann, Attributenlehre (1875); idem, Gesammelte Schriften, 2 (1910), 1–98; H.A. Wolfson, in: Essays and Studies in Memory of Linda R. Miller (1938), 201–34; idem, in: Louis Ginzberg Jubilee Volume (1945), 411–46; idem, in: Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 56–67 (1947), 233–49; idem, in: HTR, 45 (1952), 115–30; 49 (1956), 1–18; idem, in: Mordecai M. Kaplan Jubilee Volume (1953), 515–30; idem, in: JAOS, 79 (1959), 73–80; idem, in: Studies and Essays in Honor of Abraham A. Neuman (1962), 547–68; A. Altmann, in: BJRL, 35 (1953), 294–315; idem, in: Tarbiz, 27 (1958), 301–9; Guttmann, Philosophies, passim; S. Rawidowicz, in: Saadya Studies (1943), 139–65; A. Schmiedl, Studien ueber juedische, insondere juedische-arabische Religionsphilosophie (1869), 1–66; G. Vajda, Isaac Albalag, Averroiste Juif, Traducteur et Annotateur d'Al-Ghazali (1960), 34–129, and passim; idem, in: Jewish Medieval and Renaissance Studies (1966), 49–74. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Scholem, Origins of Kabbalah; M. Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives, 112–55; S.O. Heller-Willensky and M. Idel (eds.), Studies in Jewish Thought (Heb.; 1989), 7–230.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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