Wrestling With God And Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition

Paperback | February 24, 2005

bySteven Greenberg

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For millennia, two biblical verses have been understood to condemn sex between men as an act so abhorrent that it is punishable by death. Traditionally Orthodox Jews, believing the scripture to be the word of God, have rejected homosexuality in accordance with this interpretation. In 1999, Rabbi Steven Greenberg challenged this tradition when he became the first Orthodox rabbi ever to openly declare his homosexuality.
    Wrestling with God and Men is the product of Rabbi Greenberg’s ten-year struggle to reconcile his two warring identities. In this compelling and groundbreaking work, Greenberg challenges long held assumptions of scriptural interpretation and religious identity as he marks a path that is both responsible to human realities and deeply committed to God and Torah. Employing traditional rabbinic resources, Greenberg presents readers with surprising biblical interpretations of the creation story, the love of David and Jonathan, the destruction of Sodom, and the condemning verses of Leviticus. But Greenberg goes beyond the question of whether homosexuality is biblically acceptable to ask how such relationships can be sacred. In so doing, he draws on a wide array of nonscriptural texts to introduce readers to occasions of same-sex love in Talmudic narratives, medieval Jewish poetry and prose, and traditional Jewish case law literature. Ultimately, Greenberg argues that Orthodox communities must open up debate, dialogue, and discussion—precisely the foundation upon which Jewish law rests—to truly deal with the issue of homosexual love.
    This book will appeal not only to members of the Orthodox faith but to all religious people struggling to resolve their belief in the scriptures with a desire to make their communities more open and accepting to gay and lesbian members.

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    For millennia, two biblical verses have been understood to condemn sex between men as an act so abhorrent that it is punishable by death. Traditionally Orthodox Jews, believing the scripture to be the word of God, have rejected homosexuality in accordance with this interpretation. In 1999, Rabbi Steven Greenberg challenged this tra...

Rabbi Steven Greenberg is a senior teaching fellow at CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:February 24, 2005Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299190943

ISBN - 13:9780299190941

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"[Greenberg] effectively portrays the plight of closeted and openly gay Orthodox Jews who struggle daily with their sexual desires and with the knowledge that the Torah and the rabbis forbid homosexuality."—Publishers Weekly