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Journey To Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife

Journey To Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife

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What happens when we die? Does the soul die with the body? Is there a possibility of life after death? Throughout human history, every civilization – and probably every individual – has asked these questions. In this fascinating and accessible volume, Dr. Leila Leah Bronner explores Judaism’s teachings about the afterlife.

Journey to Heaven invites readers to rediscover some of the basic tenets of Jewish belief concerning the hereafter, resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the World to Come. Starting with the Bible’s references to Sheol and allusions to resurrection, this comprehensive survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah’s discussions of olam ha-ba, the World to Come, and how to merit entering it; and the Talmud’s depictions of Gan Eden (paradise), Gehinnom (hell), and the soul’s journey through these metaphysical landscapes. Bronner also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief. A separate chapter is devoted to views of the Messiah over the course of Jewish history.

Bronner demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism, as she reveals how generations of Jews, from biblical times to the present, have grappled with its core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter.

About the author:

Leila Leah Bronner is a noted scholar who formerly served as Professor of Bible and Jewish History at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Bar Ilan University in Israel, and Yeshiva University’s Institute of Adult Studies in New York. She is the author of numerous books, including Eve to Esther: Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women, Stories of Elijah and Elisha, Sects and Separatism During the Second Jewish Commonwealth, Biblical Personalities and Archaeology, and Stories of Biblical Mothers: Maternal Power in the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Bronner lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she devotes much of her time to teaching and writing.

Praise for Journey to Heaven:

“Is it bodily resurrection or immortality of the soul, reincarnation or transmigration? Leila Bronner has written a fascinating analysis of the afterlife in Judaism, tracing its mysteries from earliest biblical texts…to post-Holocaust views…. Adding her own creative insights and sociological analyses to the mix, she presents a highly readable, erudite exposition that brings clarity, knowledge—and life—to an elusive, oft-neglected concept in Judaism.”
–Blu Greenberg
author of On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition

“Conversant with Jewish writings throughout the ages, Dr. Bronner is a gifted writer with an uncanny ability to trace the major Jewish beliefs in an afterlife through the ages, recognize nuances and tensions, and present the reader with lucid formulations. The ideas of bodily resurrection, immortality of the soul, reincarnation, the World to Come, and the Messiah have continuously suffused Judaism and are still with us. A fascinating book.”
–Professor Bezalel Porten
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“In her compelling and widely encompassing Journey to Heaven, Bronner succeeds in elucidating an area in which many angels feared to tread. With scholarship and commitment, she has provided an historical textual study of the ideas concerning the afterlife…. Since death touches each of us throughout our lives and eventually brings every one of us into its domain, there can be no topic of greater interest and significance. Bronner is to be congratulated for giving us the challenge and the comfort of the fruits of her scholarship.”
–Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Chief Rabbi of Efrat

“It is commonly assumed that there is no discussion of the afterlife in the Bible. But in Journey to Heaven, Bronner makes a powerful case for a myriad of biblica

Publisher: Urim Publications | Language: English | Volumes: 1 | Pages: 206 | Binding: Hard |

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