A book you need to buy

Cascade Books, a division of Wipf and Stock, has just published a collection of articles on Theology of the Land, called The Land Cries Out, Theology of the Land in the Israeli-Palestinian Context. You can order it/check it out here.

[Full disclosure – in my capacity as Publication Manager for Musalaha, I worked very closely with the co-editors of this volume, Salim Munayer and Lisa Loden, and helped a lot with this book, especially with copy-editing and logistics. I also helped Salim Munayer with his contribution. Additionally, I am friends with a number of the contributors, and very good friends with some of them. So obviously I have no objectivity whatsoever when it comes to this project. But I can say with all sincerity that this is an awesome book that everyone should read. I do not benefit from the sales of this book at all, but you will benefit from it if you buy it.]

It is pretty cool to see that they got an endorsement from Walter Brueggemann. If you don’t know, he is a pretty big deal. His book, The Land, Place as Gift, Promise and Challenge in Biblical Faith is a classic, and his other work, specifically his writings on the Psalms have been very meaningful to me personally. The endorsement from Akiva Cohen is also great – he is a very talented scholar who is working with Salim Munayer on a joint book on the Theology of Reconciliation. That is another one to look forward to. It is also pretty cool that this book has been published, because getting multi-author volumes published is very hard these days. They do not tend to sell very well. But because Wipf and Stock is a smaller publishing house, and because of their print-on-demand model, they are able to take on less lucrative (but arguably more awesome) projects like this one. They are filling a real need in the publishing industry, and their model may be the way of the future, since the bigger publishing houses are struggling to adapt to the new world of e-books and Amazon.com.

My (very abbreviated) take on the Land draws on the writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel. In The Sabbath, he points out that holiness in time is more important than holiness in space. “There are fixed times, but no fixed place of prayer. In the Bible, no thing, no place on earth, is holy by itself.”[1] Even when the Temple was established, and God’s presence was literally on earth, that patch of earth was holy, not in and of itself, but because of God’s presence. The very idea of God occupying a physical space was a bit strange. Heschel writes, “The temple became a sacred place, yet its sacredness was not self-begotten. Its sanctity was established, yet the paradox of a sanctity in space was sensed by the prophets.”[2] This is why the prophets said:

“Thus saith the Lord:
The heaven is My throne,
And the earth is My footstool;
Where is the house that ye may build unto Me?
And where is the place that may be My resting-place?”[3]

Heschel (sounding very prophet-like) writes, “If God is everywhere, He cannot be just somewhere. If God has made all things, how can man make a thing for Him?”[4]


[1] Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, Its Meaning for Modern Man, (New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 1951), pg. 80.

[2] Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, pg. 81.

[3] Heschel, pg. 81.

[4] Heschel, pg. 81.

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One Response to A book you need to buy

  1. David Kopp says:

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