AJL Reviews Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife

by Nathan Aaron Rosen

Bronner, Leila Leah. Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife. Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2011. 206 pp. (9789655240474)

If you were ever curious about what Jewish tradition says about the afterlife, this book is for you. Bronner does an excellent job of providing a historical view of the widely diverse views of traditional Jewish commentators. She starts with the few biblical and post-biblical references to the afterlife and provides an easy to read translation and a historical context. The book continues to look at the Mishnah, Talmud references to the afterlife and then moves on to Medieval Jewish philosophers, Kabbalah and to modernity. She writes clearly with the right level of explanation.

Bronner concludes that Jewish tradition has many answers regarding the belief in the afterlife. She concludes that overall because the idea of the afterlife is so confusing there is reluctance to talk about it. But there are a variety of views, ranging from afterlife as a way to encourage moral behavior, as a psychological crutch, or as a way to escape the cruelties of this world. Bronner ends with the realization that the promise of the World to come is our affirmation that our God is the God of life.

From the AJL Reviews Nov./Dec. 2011 edition p.13.

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