Description: That the People of Israel are especially chosen by God is an idea affirmed by both early Christians and the ancient rabbis. However, the notion that God would favor one person or group over another tends to be viewed as highly problematic in today's democratic and pluralistic society. Thus, the Bible's affirmation of Israel's divine election is often ignored or even repudiated by contemporary Christians and Jews. In his new book, Joel S. Kaminsky provides a clear and nuanced understanding of what the Bible really says about God's choosing. Beginning with the stories of family rivalry in Genesis (Cain and Abel; Isaac and Ishmael; Jacob and Esau; Joseph and his brothers), Kaminsky shows how God chooses, how humans participate, and what we know from the Bible about God's intentions. The book maps out the Hebrew Bible's theology of election by asking about the fates of those whom God chooses to favor, those whom God rejects, and those who are neither favored nor rejected. A close reading of the biblical text uncovers that the idea of election is at the heart of the Hebrew Bible and reveals profound insights about God, Israel, and God's larger plan for the world. Kaminsky goes on to show how both the New Testament authors and the classical rabbis adopted the Hebrew Bible's view of divine election in unique but related ways. Understanding how Jews and Christians define themselves as God's special people in turn opens up new avenues of Jewish-Christian dialogue.
Subjects: Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Theology
Review by Hallvard Hagelia
Citation: Hallvard Hagelia, review of Joel S. Kaminsky, Yet I Loved Jacob: Reclaiming the Biblical Concept of Election, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2010).
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