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The Significance of Religious Experience$
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Howard Wettstein

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199841363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841363.001.0001

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God’s Struggles 1

God’s Struggles 1

(p.162) 9 God’s Struggles1
The Significance of Religious Experience

Howard Wettstein

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes issue with something fundamental in the outlook of many religious people. It sketches a traditional religious approach that nevertheless agrees with religion’s critics on the ethical awfulness of some of what the Hebrew Bible attributes to God. The approach draws its inspiration from Jewish tradition, and focuses special attention on the Akedah and the Book of Job, stories that present extreme challenges to the conception of God as ethically perfect. These stories, it is argued, have great religious power and meaning, which is not to say that we understand God’s role in them, His attitude towards his beloved, what He allows, commands, mandates. The chapter ends with some speculations about what we might make of God’s treatment of Abraham and Job.

Keywords:   anthropomorphism, Tanach, theodicy, theology, Akedah, Job, Abraham, Talmud, Midrash, tests

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