Abstract

PRECIS:

There is an immutable framework of biblical faith, expressed in Israelite monotheism, namely, that God is both all-powerful and all-just. Such divine attributes, however, have been called into question throughout the course of Jewish history and experience, from earliest antiquity, through the annihilation of European Jewry in the twentieth century, and down to the present. The dual tragedies of the recent synagogue massacres, both in Pittsburgh (October 27, 2018) and at Poway (April 27, 2019), have brought a renewed focus to the most fundamental theodic question regarding the goodness of God in an imperfect world. It is tragically ironic that the weekly parasha read in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue on the day of the carnage was VaYera' (Genesis 18–22), containing (in addition to the 'Aḳedah) the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham's pointed question, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do justly?" Eventually, it would be the Israelites themselves who would reshape the divine image from that of a tribal deity, known as the "God of Armies" in the account of the Exodus from Egypt, to a transcendent emblem of compassion. They would eventually address the troublesome theological issues revolving around divine justice with a powerfully "subversive" treatise of Israelite wisdom literature, the Book of Job, wherein we find two poetic and elegant answers to Abraham's question and to the perennial problem of evil.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2162-3937
Print ISSN
0022-0558
Pages
pp. 333-345
Launched on MUSE
2020-11-13
Open Access
No
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