What happens when we die? Does the soul die with the body? Is there a possibility of life after death? Throughout human history, every civilization – and probably every individual – has asked these questions. In this fascinating and accessible volume, Dr. Leila Leah Bronner explores Judaism’s teachings about the afterlife.
Journey to Heaven invites readers to rediscover some of the basic tenets of Jewish belief concerning the hereafter, resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the World to Come. Starting with the Bible’s references to Sheol and allusions to resurrection, this comprehensive survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah’s discussions of olam ha-ba, the World to Come, and how to merit entering it; and the Talmud’s depictions of Gan Eden (paradise), Gehinnom (hell), and the soul’s journey through these metaphysical landscapes. Bronner also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief. A separate chapter is devoted to views about the Messiah over the course of Jewish history.
Bronner demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism, as she reveals how generations of Jews, from Biblical times to the present, have grappled with its core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter.
About the Author
Leila Leah Bronner is a noted scholar who formerly served as Professor of Bible and Jewish History at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Bar Ilan University in Israel, and Yeshiva University’s Institute of Adult Studies in New York. She is the author of numerous books, including Eve to Esther: Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women, Stories of Elijah and Elisha, Sects and Separatism During the Second Jewish Commonwealth, Biblical Personalities and Archaeology, and Stories of Biblical Mothers: Maternal Power in the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Bronner lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she devotes much of her time to teaching and writing.