The view of themselves as the chosen people of God has been maintained by Jews from the beginnings of their history to the present. The author explores the development of this idea in Jewish theology and law, and essays a contemporary retrieval of the classical doctrine of election. Through an examination of the philosophical implications of the idea, he argues for the correlation of election and revelation, and shows both what the notion of election should mean for Jews today, and how non-Jews can better understand it.
Counter In this book, David Novak conducts an historical, philosophical, and theological reflection on the central Jewish doctrine of Israel's election by God, also known as the idea of the chosen people. Historically, he analyses the great change in modern Jewish thought brought about by Spinoza's inversion of the doctrine: that it was not God who elected Israel, but Israel who elected God. The development of that inversion is illustrated by the thought of the German philosopher-theologian, Hermann Cohen. Philosophically, Novak explores the ontological implications of the two differing theologies of election. Theologically, he argues for the correlation of election and revelation, and maintains that a theology of election is required in order to deal with two central questions, namely: who are the Jews, and how are Jews to be related to the world? The constructive picture which results leads to a new understanding of Jewish modernity.