This provocative volume explores the origins of the Jewish doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Jon Levenson argues that, contrary to a very widespread misconception, the ancient rabbis were keenly committed to the belief that at the end of time, God would restore the deserving dead to life. In fact, Levenson points out, the rabbis saw the Hebrew Bible itself as committed to that idea. The author meticulously traces the belief in resurrection backward from its undoubted attestations in rabbinic literature and in the "Book of Daniel", showing where the belief stands in continuity with earlier Israelite culture and where it departs from that culture. Focusing on the biblical roots of resurrection, Levenson challenges the notion that it was a foreign import into Judaism, and in the process he develops a neglected continuity between Judaism and Christianity. His book will shake the thinking of scholars and lay readers alike, revising the way we understand the history of Jewish ideas about life, death, and the destiny of the Jewish people.
Jon D. Levenson is Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University. Among his previous books is The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity, published by Yale University Press.