The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery

The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery

by Richard Elliott Friedman

Hardcover(1st ed)

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Friedman probes a chain of mysteries that concern the presence or absence of God, including the connection between Nietzsche and Dostoevsky who each independently developed the idea of the death of God.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316294348
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 10/01/1995
Edition description: 1st ed
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 786,779
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)

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The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
fingerpost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is divided very neatly into four parts. And part one was fascinating. Friedman carefully and methodically traces God's presence and interaction with humans through the course of the chronological books of the Hebrew Bible. First God creates people. He visits them, chats with them, reveals his plans to them, and makes covenants with them. In Exodus God is spectacular and amazing, but not a personally close to people as in Genesis. As the Bible stories move along, God becomes more remote still. He stops speaking to people directly, and speaks only through prophets... and the later prophets only encounter God in dreams and visions, not personally. God's once grand public miracles become smaller and more private, affecting only a few people. And in the last few chronological books, (With the exception of Daniel) God disappears altogether. In Esther, He isn't even mentioned. Up to this point Friedman had me hooked.Part two examines similarities between the philosophy of Nietzsche and the novels of Dostoevsky. This portion reads like a long graduate school Literature/Philosophy essay. Although he touches frequently on the concept of the "death of God" I never felt a real connection to the first part of the book.Part three examines Kabbalah and the Big Bang. Now to be fair, I must admit that I know little about Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, and even less about the science behind the Big Bang theory. However it seems that Friedman's idea in part three is that scientists are finally discovering and proving what the Jewish mystics of the 6th century discovered in their day. I found this completely unconvincing, and also rather unrelated to the subject of part I.Finally, the last few chapters make a noble attempt to tie these three disparate elements together. There are some interesting points in the concluding chapters, and I certainly think his heart is in the right place. The direct advice is good. But as a unified book, The Disappearance of God just doesn't hold together. Wild theories are insufficiently supported, and barely related issues have only the thinnest of threads linking them together.All the same - Up through page 140 - highly recommended. Just stop there, and pursue your own quest to find an answer to the question with which you can make peace.