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164 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 added; "abbunat" (p. 72), read "abunnat"; "(19:X):mt rpi" (p. 84), read "(19x): mt rpi," i.e., 19 times, but Talmon's source gives 18 occurrences ofmt rpi, disregarding two that are reconstructed in lacunae; "s. v. rpi" (p. 84, n. 24), read "s.v. rpa"; "the Tetrateuch. JEP" (p. 92 n. 5), read "the Tetrateuch,JEP"; "first millennium B.C.E.57 " (p. 106), read "first millennium B.C.E. Thus the wane of the epic by the sixth century B.C.E.57 ,,; "Schneidan's" (p. 108), read "Schneidau's"; "forward men" (p. 250), read "froward men"; "O"~!) O"~!) "~,, (p. 214), read "O"~!)J O"~!)"; Un. 96" (p. 250, n. 107), read Un. 97." For reasons of space, and perhaps somewhat unfairly to the author, we have concentrated on only one of the essays in this volume. Those not mentioned above are "Biblical O"~~' and Ugaritic RPU/I(M)," "Did There Exist a Biblical National Epic?," "The Presentation of Synchroneity and Simultaneity in Biblical Narrative," "Polemics and Apology in Biblical Historiography: 2 Kings 17:24-41," "Eschatology and History in Biblical Thought," "The Concept of Revelation in Biblical Times" (appearing for the first time in English), "The Desert Motif in the Bible and in Qumran literature," and "'Wisdom' in the Book of Esther." The reader may wish that this volume were more carefully edited in places, but will undoubtedly find these studies to be informative and provocative. Indices to authors and ancient sources are a welcome addition to the original publications. Frederick W. Knobloch MeyerhoffCenterforJewish Studies University of Maryland The Kiss of God: Spiritual and Mystical Death in Judaism, by Michael Fishbane. Seattle: University ofWashington Press, 1994. 156 pp. $25.00. The Kiss of God is a wonderful addition to the distinguished Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies as well as a distinct contribution to the study of Jewish spirituality. Fishbane discusses spiritual and mysti~al death under three rubrics: the first is entitled, "'If you wish to live then die': Aspects of Death and Desire in Jewish Spirituality"; the second is "'For Your sake we are killed all day long': The Sanctification of God in Love"; and the third is entitled "'As if he sacrificed a soul': Forms of Ritual Simulation and Substitution." They are followed by an Epilogue, Notes, and Index. The work as a whole serves as a conspectus on striving towards the love of God in Judaism. It makes it dear that from the consciousness of Book Reviews 165 the religious mind, the love of God is the central aspiration ofJewish piety even up to and including the moment of death. It is thus all the more surprising how rarely the subject is discussed in books on Judaism. The closest discussion I could find in modern treatments ofJudaism is in Man Is Not Alone, where Heschel concludes his phenomenology of piety by arguing for the meaning of death as "the ultimate self-dedication to the divine ... for this act ofgiving away is reCiprocity on man's part for God's gift of life" (p. 296). The strength of this book lies, however, not only in its subject but in its sophistication of presentation. One can count on one's hand the number of books on Jewish spirituality that are as informed historically and as theologically sensitive. Too often works onJewish spirituality reflect the configuration of the spirit as it comes into formation in the mind of the author. Although the book focuses upon the mystical tradition, the coverage of the Bible, Talmud, and Maimonides as well as examples from modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature justify its claim to be representative. Insights exquisitely formulated into the nature oflife of the spirit lived in extremis stud the whole book. Commenting on the way The Song of Songs displaced the physical energy of love, he notes how these images which "conjugate the rhythms of eros with the arousals of nature" show how Solomon "transfigured earthly eros into tropes of tradition and memory" (pp. 14-15). Explaining the spiritual kiss ofdeath, he notes, "the very moment of death is itself infused with an erotic dimension. . . . The kiss is thus the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 164-166
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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