The Gate to Perfection

After a brief hiatus from posting (but not from reading; still working on Weigel, actually read a daily paper Saturday, and a few other things that don’t count [!]) due to grading and some other stuff, I’m back. Started work on  The Gate to Perfection: The Idea of Peace in Jewish Thought by Homolka and Friedlander. For those familiar with Plantinga’s Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, there are some commonalities, especially in the earlier sections. Let me highlight a couple of interesting things:

Regarding Shalom, it includes several descriptions/definitions. Perhaps the most comprehensive comes from Steck incorporating several dimensions: 1) social [rights and welfare for all], 2) political [absence of war/protection from attack], 3) nature [taming chaos; animal and human life in harmony], and 4) God [the ultimate source of peace].

I especially appreciated the emphasis on nature and animal life and the way in which the primeval shalom which creates an expectation for the final state. The first few chapters trace the biblical and 2nd temple period development of the theme of peace; all very interesting stuff. After that comes rabbinic, medieval and modern Judaism – of less direct interest to a Christian reader, but worth knowing about as you compare/contrast development within the Christian tradition.

Not a long book, but an interesting read and one which helps flesh out a few things.


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