Rabbinic Book Club: In Dialogue with the Scholar

Date: Nov 17, 2021

Time: 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

Sponsor: Online Learning | Online Learning for Clergy

Location: Online

Category: Online Learning

Learn with Rabbinic Colleagues

Three Wednesdays: November 17, December 15, and January 19 
12:30-1:45 p.m. ET 
Online through Zoom

Join colleagues for this unique opportunity for in-depth conversation with Dr. Benjamin Sommer on his award-winning book, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel. 

During each of the three sessions, rabbis will have the opportunity to uncover new insights, pose questions to Professor Sommer, and engage in lively discussions about the theological implications of this work of new biblical scholarship.   

This program is in collaboration with the Rabbinical Assembly.  

About the Book  

In The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, Dr. Benjamin D. Sommer uncovers a lost ancient Near Eastern perception of divinity according to which God in the Bible is embodied. Though the dominant strains of biblical religion rejected it, a monotheistic version of this theological intuition is found in some biblical texts. Later Jewish and Christian thinkers inherited this ancient way of thinking; ideas such as the sefirot in kabbalah and the trinity in Christianity represent a late version of this theology. This book forces us to rethink the distinction between monotheism and polytheism and has important implications not only for biblical scholarship but also for Jewish-Christian dialogue. 

The book received the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in 2010 awarded by the American Academy of Religion, as well as the Jordan Schnitzer Award from the Association for Jewish Studies for the years 2006‐2009. 

Hebrew University’s Moshe Idel says: “Sommer’s audacious and original analyses of fascinating aspects of biblical theology, the fluidity and the embodiment of God against their Near Eastern backgrounds, open new questions and facilitate new solutions as to the later developments of Jewish thought, especially the sources of Kabbalistic theosophy.”


In order to make this program accessible to all rabbis, registration is available on a sliding scale from $36 to $120. The registration form will allow you to register at several different price levels. Please select the fee that you are most comfortable with. Please note that the actual cost to JTS for this program is approximately $120 per participant. You will also have the opportunity to make a donation at check-out to help subsidize the program if you are able to do so. 

Participants will also need to purchase the book. The book is available as an e-book or in print and can be purchased on Amazon or at Cambridge University Press