Jewish Philosophical Conceptions of God

In Yitzhak Melamed & Paul Franks (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Philosophy. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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There is no single Jewish philosophical conception of God, and the array of competing conceptions does not lend itself to easy systemization. Nonetheless, it is the aim of this chapter to provide an overview of this unruly theological terrain. It does this by setting out ‘maps’ of the range of positions which Jewish philosophers have taken regarding key aspects of the God-idea. These conceptual maps will cover: (i) how Jewish philosophers have thought of the role and status of conceiving of God in the first place; (ii) what Jewish philosophers have understood to be definitive of God or Divinity; (iii) Jewish philosophical conceptions of God’s oneness; (iv) Jewish philosophical conceptions of God’s transcendence or immanence; (v) Jewish philosophical conceptions of God’s personhood or lack thereof; (vi) Jewish philosophical understandings of why God created (or caused) a world; and (vii) Jewish philosophical understandings of God’s relationship to the Jewish people. Jointly, these seven conceptual maps outline the broad range of vying conceptions of God that have been held by Jewish philosophers over the centuries, while also enabling the reader a bird’s-eye-view of how these multiple conceptions relate to one another. The chapter concludes by touching on what Jewish philosophers have made of this immense diversity of theological conceptions included within the tradition.

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Gabriel Citron
Princeton University


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