The Question of God’s Perfection
How it Connects with Hebraic Thought:
The Christian theological tradition has wrestled with how to reconcile the description of God as perfect with the raw description of God in the Old and New Testaments. The Jewish and Christian authors of this book push readers to think about how much we can claim about God’s nature and His qualities from the logic and description of the biblical texts first. Some think the biblical God can be reconciled to Scripture, others are less convinced, and some think we are beginning with the wrong categories dictated to us by the Greek philosophical traditions. In working out this issue of God’s perfection, we are actually seeing scholars wrestling with the nature and extent of philosophical tradition within Scripture.
Philosophers have often described theism as the belief in the existence of a “perfect being”—a being that is said to possess all possible perfections, so that it is all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable, perfectly good, perfectly simple, and necessarily existent, among other qualities. But such a theology is difficult to reconcile with the God we find in the Bible and Talmud. The Question of God’s Perfection brings together leading scholars from the Jewish and Christian traditions to critically examine the theology of perfect being in light of the Hebrew Bible and classical rabbinic sources. Contributors are James A. Diamond, Lenn E. Goodman, Edward C. Halper, Yoram Hazony, Dru Johnson, Brian Leftow, Berel Dov Lerner, Alan L. Mittleman, Heather C. Ohaneson, Randy Ramal, Eleonore Stump, Alex Sztuden, and Joshua I. Weinstein.
Dru Johnson is an Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at the King’s College in New York City. He is a Research Fellow at the University of St. Andrews (Logos Institute) and formerly the Templeton Senior Research Fellow in Analytic Theology at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Shalem Center (now Herzl Institute) in Jerusalem, Israel (2012-13). Currently, he serves as the co-chair for the Hebrew Bible and Philosophy program unit in the Society of Biblical Literature.
Yoram Hazony is an Israeli philosopher, Bible scholar and political theorist. He is the award-winning author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (2012) and The Virtue of Nationalism (2018), among other books. He has appeared in The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” He is President of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem.