Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife

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Urim Publications, Jun 1, 2011 - Religion - 206 pages
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A number of the basic tenets of Jewish belief regarding the afterlife, resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the world to come are laid out in this fascinating and accessible volume. Beginning with the Bible’s references to Sheol and its allusions to resurrection, this survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah’s discussions of olam ha-ba, or the world to come, and how to merit entry into it; and the Talmud’s depictions of paradise and hell, and the soul’s journey through these metaphysical landscapes. The book also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief, as well as the evolving view of the Messiah over the course of Jewish history. This absorbing study demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism as it reveals how generations of Jews, from biblical times to the present, have grappled with the core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter.
 

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Contents

Preface
9
Introduction
11
Glimpses of Immortality
17
Gateways to Heaven and Hell
38
Who Will Merit the World to Come?
59
What Happens in the Next World?
79
Faith and Reason
102
Reincarnation in Kabbalah
127
What Do We Believe?
153
The Eternal Thread of Hope
164
Afterword
182
Notes
185
Index
201
About the Author
207
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Leila Leah Bronner is a noted community activist, professor and writer. She is a former professor of Bible and Jewish history at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, as well as former visiting scholar at Bar Ilan University in Israel, Harvard University, and Yeshiva University’s Institute of Adult Studies in New York. She is the author of several books, including From Eve to Esther: Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women and Stories of Biblical Mothers: Maternal Power in the Hebrew Bible. She lives in Los Angeles.

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