A Rabbinical Assembly–Jewish Lights book
You no longer have to choose between what you know and what you believe—an accessible introduction to a theological game-changer.
“I wrote this book for you if you want to be able to locate your life in a single, encompassing story, one that includes everything from the first moment the universe began until yesterday, a narrative that embraces deepest personal meaning, a yearning to love and be loved, a quest for social justice and compassion.”
—from the Introduction
Much of what you were told you should believe when you were younger forces you to choose between your spirit and your intellect, between science and religion, between morality and dogma: unchanging laws of nature vs. miracles that sound magical; a good God vs. the tragedies that strike all living creatures; a God who knows the future absolutely vs. an open future that you help to shape through your choices.
This fascinating introduction to Process Theology from a Jewish perspective shows that these are false choices. Inspiring speaker, spiritual leader and philosopher Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson presents an overview of what Process Theology is and what it can mean for your spiritual life. He explains how Process Theology can break you free from the strictures of ancient Greek and medieval European philosophy, allowing you to see all creation not as this or that, us or them, but as related patterns of energy through which we connect to everything. Armed with Process insights and tools, you can break free from outdated religious dichotomies and affirm that your religiosity, your spirit, your mind and your ethics all strengthen and refine each other.
“Through honesty, openness and erudition, Rabbi Artson teaches of a God who whispers ‘grow’ to each of us. A beautiful and soulful exploration.”
—Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, California; author, Why Faith Matters
“Offers us a new way to see ourselves, our world and our God. We no longer have to choose between our faith and our intellect. What a joy and what a relief it is to be able to integrate these seeming disparities. This important work invites us into a relationship with a God who is dynamic and loving. This is a book that can heal our souls.”
—Rabbi Naomi Levy, spiritual leader, Nashuva; author, Hope Will Find You, Talking to God and To Begin Again
“Shows how Process Theology can give us the language and understanding to forge a moral and compelling Judaism for ourselves.... If you have wrestled with the presence of evil in the world and suffering in your private life—if you have struggled to find a belief in God that is scientifically tenable and an approach to Torah that is intellectually credible—then this book is for you. It will inspire and nurture your soul.”
—Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, founding president, the Jewish Life Network; author, The Jewish Way
“Crisply written, this volume offers delicious food for thought and will be accessible to followers of various religions.”
“I wept for joy reading this book. So many of us are wounded by conventional vocabulary when we think and talk about God—our language is stuck, and we are stuck. Artson, one of the most inspiring Jewish leaders and theologians of our time, redeems the ancient covenant of formulating anew our conversation about God.”
—Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, founding rabbi, Zion: An Eretz Israeli Community in Jerusalem
“The truth of the matter is: After reading this book you will want to become Jewish, if you aren’t already. Or, to be more exact, a Jew with a Process perspective. The insights from this book come so naturally and flow so freely from its pages, weaving together Jewish wisdom and Process philosophy, that you are drawn to a way of living that is deeply loving, deeply traditional, deeply creative and deeply faithful, without leaving your mind at the door or your heart on a shelf.... I plan to use this book again and again in the classroom, sharing it with people of many faiths and no faith.... An exciting achievement.”
—Jay McDaniel, PhD, author, Of God and Pelicans: Theology of Reverence for Life and Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism; editor, Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism (www.jesusjazzbuddhism.org)
“A pioneering exploration of collaborative ecumenical thinking. Illustrates the complementary and contrasting features in Judaism and Process Theology. In broadening the horizons of the search for wholeness, Artson opens a fantastic adventure of ideas.”
—Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, author, Conscience: The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey; founder, Jewish Foundation of the Righteous and the Jewish World Watch
“Extraordinary ... speaks to the real-world experience of many people who find a fixed set of religious beliefs and teachings incompatible with what they know.... Explicates a twenty-first-century Judaism that is dynamic, constructive, ethical and deeply meaningful; offers ways for us to think about prayer, ritual and Israel, and about what we must do to create greater justice.”
—Ruth W. Messinger, president, American Jewish World Service
“With personal, persuasive prose ... skillfully presents a theology to live with and live by. It may change the way that you think about God, Judaism and your being in the world.”
—Sue Levi Elwell, PhD, rabbinic director, East Geographic Congregational Network Union for Reform Judaism
“Undertakes the daunting challenge of spelling out a theology that will speak to the mind and soul of the modern reader, and succeeds.”
—Rabbi Harold Kushner, author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“An amazing combination of personal narrative, introduction to Process Thought and integration of Jewish theology with the two. It should open up to a whole new community the fruitfulness of thinking about God, life and Judaism through Process perspectives.”
—Thomas Jay Oord, author, The Nature of Love and Defining Love
“Both a lovely, poetic introduction to Process Theology, and a vivid sense of Rabbi Artson’s private journey as a believer, a Jewish leader, a father, a teacher and a Jew.... His enthusiasm and compassion are on every page, inviting you to learn from him and with him.”
—Laurie Zoloth, director, Center for Bioethics, Science and Society, Northwestern University
“Brings to pass a confluence of Process Theology and Judaism hitherto only hinted at. The vibrant Jewishness of his sources, practices and rhythms of interpretation yield an unsurpassed introduction to the God of becoming—for all children of Sarah, Hagar, Abraham.”
—Catherine Keller, professor, theology, Drew University; author, On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process.
“The most comprehensive exposition of a Jewish Process Theology yet written. Jews and Gentiles alike are indebted to Rabbi Artson for the intellectual-theological-emotional achievement this book represents.”
—Rabbi David Ellenson, president, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
“[A] work of honest struggle by a fellow-seeker for a believable Jewish theology in our day.... Don’t miss it!
—Arthur Green, rector, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College
“With sensitivity, wit and profundity, Rabbi Artson makes it possible for those who long ago abandoned the jealous-coercive-angry-old-man God to forge a new path to spiritual depth and holiness.... Simply said, with this book, [he] gives us God back.”
—Rabbi Sharon Brous, founding rabbi, IKAR
“Until now it has been chiefly Protestants who have profited from the brilliant work of Alfred North Whitehead in reformulating ideas about God, the world and our inner lives. Now, in using Whitehead to revitalize Jewish life and thought, Brad Artson outdoes and inspires us all.”
—John B. Cobb Jr., professor emeritus, Claremont School of Theology
“If you own only one book on Jewish Process Theology, this should be [it]. Accessible, persuasive and richly rooted in Jewish texts, Artson’s theology is warm and inviting where Mordecai Kaplan’s is cold and distant.”
—Rachel Adler, David Ellenson Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, Hebrew Union College