Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel
The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life
By Jon D. Levenson
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300117356, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
This provocative volume explores the origins of the Jewish doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Jon D. Levenson argues that, contrary to a very widespread misconception, the ancient rabbis were keenly committed to the belief that at the end of time, God would restore the deserving dead to life. In fact, Levenson points out, the rabbis saw the Hebrew Bible itself as committed to that idea.
The author meticulously traces the belief in resurrection backward from its undoubted attestations in rabbinic literature and in the Book of Daniel, showing where the belief stands in continuity with earlier Israelite culture and where it departs from that culture. Focusing on the biblical roots of resurrection, Levenson challenges the notion that it was a foreign import into Judaism, and in the process he develops a neglected continuity between Judaism and Christianity. His book will shake the thinking of scholars and lay readers alike, revising the way we understand the history of Jewish ideas about life, death, and the destiny of the Jewish people.
Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University. Among his previous books is The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity, published by Yale University Press.
"In this volume Levenson does what he does so well: he picks up a standard scholarly consensus and turns it on its head. Anyone wishing to maintain the consensus view will have to reckon seriously with the claims this work makes."—Gary A. Anderson, University of Notre Dame
-Gary A. Anderson
“Levenson’s thesis is fresh and unprecedented in biblical scholarship. He makes a persuasive case for rethinking conventional wisdom on a major issue in Judaism and the Hebrew Bible—resurrection from the dead.”—R. W. L. Moberly, Durham University
-R. W. L. Moberly
"[An] original, polemical, and very important book. . . . It is impossible in the space of this short review to cover all the contributions of this rich work. . . . Scholars familiar with Levenson''s earlier work will not be surprised to learn that this book is lucid to a degree that is, alas, rare for serious and original academic writing. Once again Levenson has succeeded in showing us not only that the received wisdom on a crucial topic is largely wrong; he also demonstrates that it is possible to communicate complex and surprising ideas with clarity and wit."—Benjamin D. Sommer, The Journal of Religion
-Benjamin D. Sommer