G-d versus gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry (Mosaica Press).
The book details the development of avodah zarah, and the fight against it, from Adam HaRishon through the eradication of the yetzer hara for avodah zarah in the beginning of bayis sheini. (Are you curious about what it actually means that the yetzer hara for avodah zarah was removed? There’s a whole chapter about that….)
The book has two sections: The first section goes through Tanach, with a focus on all of the stories that involve avodah zarah. Did the Jews actually worship avodah zarah or not? There’s the egel hazahav, and a lot of stuff going on in tekufas hashoftim and tekufas hamelachim. The book is based on a huge breath of sources from our mesorah. From that vantage point, it looks out sees if the academic world has anything useful to add (archaeological findings, etc.) The book has haskamos from Rabbis Zev Leff, Aharon Lopiansky, and Yitzchak Breitowitz.
The second section is an encyclopedia of all the different types of avodot zarot mentioned in Tanach. Did you ever wonder what Baal, Asherah, or Molech actually were? This encyclopedia has close to 40 entries explaining what each avodah zarah was, how and by whom it was worshiped, different archaeological findings pertaining to it, etc. I bet you didn’t realize that there were that many avodot zarot mentioned in Tanach!
Mosaica Press together with Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein have just released a new ground-breaking work entitled God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry.
God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry seeks to understand the Bible’s accounts of polytheism, follows its history, and focuses on the struggle between Jewish Monotheism and pagan/idolatrous cults in the Biblical period. An extended section is devoted to understanding the Talmudic concept concerning the paradigm shift which emptied the world of the Evil Inclination for Avodah Zarah, and its implications from a religious perspective.
This unique work delves into the Bible’s view of the history of idolatry, as well as the hermeneutical, philological, Kabbalistic, and Halachic approaches to this topic taken by various Rabbinic figures through the ages. The second part of this book consists of an encyclopedia that lists and elaborates upon every foreign deity mentioned in the Bible. The author also compares and contrasts traditional Jewish views to those of modern-day academia (addressing archeology and philology of the Levant), offering proofs and difficulties to both approaches.
As the old saying goes, “Two Jews, three opinions.” In almost every chapter, more than one way of looking at the matter at hand is presented. In some cases, the differing opinions can be harmonized, but ultimately many matters remain subject to dispute. Hopefully, the mere knowledge of these sources will whet the reader’s intellectual curiosity to learn more.
Written by a brilliant young scholar, God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry is ground-breaking, intriguing, and remarkable. This book is available on amazon.com and at better Jewish bookstores near you. For review copies or bulk orders please contact email@example.com