PW reviews Journey to Heaven

Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife
Leila Leah Bronner

Rejecting the notion that Jewish teachings on the subject of the afterlife are meager, Bronner, a former professor of Bible and Jewish History at Witwatersrand University, South Africa, presents Jewish ideas about what happens after death. According to her, even the Bible, which many authorities claim lacks any clear reference to the afterlife save for the Book of Daniel, has “allusions, and sometimes more than allusions, to a shadowy realm after death.” Bronner explores references to life after death in the Bible, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Mishnah, the Talmud, medieval philosophers, and Jewish mystics. She also examines contemporary prayer books and finds new interest in the afterlife despite the scientific requirement of empirical evidence. She concludes that her research tells us that death “is the beginning of a new journey”; it is not the ultimate destiny of human beings. This hopeful judgment echoes the myth in many nonliterate societies that infants come from the spirit world and return to it after death, assuring that the soul lives on. This book makes a useful contribution to a subject that is ultimately unknowable.

Original Publishers Weekly review.

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