Same God, Other god

Judaism, Hinduism, and the Problem of Idolatry

  • Authors
  • Alon Goshen-Gottstein

Part of the Interreligious Studies in Theory and Practice book series (INSTTP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Presentations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-2
    2. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 3-10
    3. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 11-15
    4. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 17-24
  3. Introducing Avoda Zara

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-26
    2. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 27-31
    3. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 33-39
  4. The Other god : Defining Avoda Zara

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 41-46
    2. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 47-57
    3. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 93-106
    4. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 107-126
  5. The Same God: Rethinking Hinduism

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-130
    2. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 131-145
  6. When Is a Religion Avoda Zara?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 183-184
    2. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 185-203
    3. Alon Goshen-Gottstein
      Pages 205-206
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 207-265

About this book


Jews often consider Hinduism to be Avoda Zara, idolatry, due to its worship of images and multiple gods. Closer study of Hinduism and of recent Jewish attitudes to it suggests the problem is far more complex. In the process of considering Hinduism's status as Avoda Zara, this book revisits the fundamental definitions of Avoda Zara and asks how we use the category. By appealing to the history of Judaism's view of Christianity, author Alon Goshen-Gottstein seeks to define what Avoda Zara is and how one might recognize the same God in different religions, despite legal definitions. Through a series of leading questions, the discussion moves from a blanket view of Hinduism as idolatry to a recognition that all religions have aspects that are idolatrous and non-idolatrous. Goshen-Gottstein explains how the category of idolatry itself must be viewed with more nuance. Introducing this nuance, he asserts, leads one away from a globalized view of an entire tradition in these terms.


Christianity crisis dialogue future god Hinduism history history of Judaism history of literature Judaism model religion religions understanding

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-1-349-57189-5
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-45528-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site