Why Does God Get It Wrong?

Divine Fallibility in Athens and Jerusalem

in European Judaism
View More View Less
  • 1 Leo Baeck College, UK
Restricted access

Abstract

Jewish texts, both Biblical and post-Biblical, depict the Divine as fickle, fallible, imbued with human characteristics. This article attempts to establish a typology of Divine fallibility, categorising examples and seeking to explain them through literary and theological-anthropological lenses. Somewhat similar trends are seen in Ancient Greek myths about the behaviour and interactions of Greek gods, who are shown betraying, plotting against and envying each other just as humans do. The article explores the literary possibilities of a polytheistic system – where deities can display fallible pettiness among their own while maintaining a front of infallibility in their interactions with humankind – over a monotheistic system.

Contributor Notes

Gabriel Kanter Webber is a rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College. He spent two years working with the York Liberal Jewish Community, and previously studied Politics and International Relations at Sussex University.