The Sensual God: How the Senses Make the Almighty Senseless by Aviad KleinbergThe Sensual God: How the Senses Make the Almighty Senseless by Aviad Kleinberg

The Sensual God: How the Senses Make the Almighty Senseless

byAviad Kleinberg

Hardcover | September 8, 2015

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In the Old Testament, God wrestles with a man (and loses). In the Talmud, God wriggles his toes to make thunder and takes human form to shave the king of Assyria. In the New Testament, God is made flesh and dwells among humans. For religious thinkers trained in Greek philosophy and its deep distaste for matter, sacred scripture can be distressing. A philosophically respectable God should be untainted by sensuality, yet the God of sacred texts is often embarrassingly sensual.

Setting experts' minds at ease was neither easy nor simple, and often faith and logic were stretched to their limits. Focusing on examples from both Christian and Jewish sources, from the Bible to sources from the Late Middle Ages, Aviad Kleinberg examines the way Christian and Jewish philosophers, exegetes, and theologians attempted to reconcile God's supposed ineffability with numerous biblical and postbiblical accounts of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and even tasting the almighty. The conceptual entanglements ensnaring religious thinkers, and the strange, ingenious solutions they used to extricate themselves, tell us something profound about human needs and divine attributes, about faith, hope, and cognitive dissonance.

Aviad Kleinberg is a professor of history at Tel Aviv University. In his academic and popular works, he writes about the complex ways ideas and practices interact. His books include Seven Deadly Sins: A Very Partial List; Flesh Made Word: Saints' Stories and the Western Imagination; and Prophets in Their Own Country: Living Saints and...
Title:The Sensual God: How the Senses Make the Almighty SenselessFormat:HardcoverDimensions:200 pagesPublished:September 8, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231174705

ISBN - 13:9780231174701


Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Instability and Its Discontents2. Loving God Like a Cow3. Endless4. Credo5. Unimaginable: A Short Digression6. Impossible7. A Short Discourse on the Spiritual Senses8. Invisible9. Tasteless10. Untouchable11. Inaudible12. ScentlessPost ScriptumNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

A quirky and perceptive look at the psychology of religious belief.... Highly recommended.