Episode: Jon Levenson joins OnScript to discuss his recent book The Love of God (Princeton, 2016). Jon and Matt L. discuss how the concept of ‘love’ differed in ancient Israel, whether Song of Songs can/should be read allegorically, and how understandings of love developed and changed throughout history.
Guest: Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of numerous books, including Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life (Yale University Press, 2006), which won a prestigious National Jewish Book Award, and also the Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Award in the category of Best Book Relating to the Hebrew Bible published in 2005 or 2006. Choice, a publication of the American Library Association, listed his book Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton University Press, 2012) as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013.
Book: The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton, 2016) takes up one of the most significant yet perplexing themes in the Bible and Judaism. ‘Love’ in the Bible is a command, yet also involved emotions. It was part of the legal contract binding God and Israel, yet also an expression of the intimacy between them. How do these ideas fit together, and how did they develop and change? These are just a few of the significant themes Levenson discusses with characteristic brilliance and elegance.