Torah and Nondualism
Diversity, Conflict, and Synthesis
James Hamilton Cumming
Torah and Nondualism is a commentary on the Pentateuch, written in the form of five essays— one on each of the five books. It reconciles modern biblical scholarship with Jewish hermeneutical techniques recorded in the Zohar (13th century c.e.). Torah and Nondualism shows that the meanings these interpretive techniques reveal are so consistent and illuminating throughout the Bible that they must have been intended by the its redactors. By combining these traditional methods with modern insights, Torah and Nondualism uncovers hidden themes in the Bible that other commentaries have overlooked.
Specifically, Torah and Nondualism discovers a syncretistic subtext in the Pentateuch aimed at reconciling two religious cultures: one rooted in Egyptian esoteric tradition and the other in Canaanite mythology and practice. In later times, these two religious cultures corresponded roughly to two rival kingdoms, Judah and Israel. The Torah ingeniously harmonizes this spiritual and political rift. When this subtext is fully appreciated, it is recognizable in all the Torah’s most obscure rituals. Even those priestly rites associated with Temple worship are understandable. The bitter rebellion against Moses and Aaron’s leadership is presented in terms of the Torah’s effort to harmonize conflict, sometimes by demanding great personal sacrifice.
Illustrated to make the complexities of scribal hermeneutics readily accessible to the non-expert, Torah and Nondualism requires no prior knowledge of Hebrew, while introducing the reader to an esoteric level of Bible interpretation previously known only to a small group of trained Hebrew scribes. Its intelligent and well-supported analysis promises to change the way you think about the Bible.
About the Author:
James H. Cumming received his B.A. from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating magna cum laude. He clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and has served for over 20 years as a Chambers Attorney at the California Supreme Court. His religious scholarship began in 1981 with Kashmiri Shaivism. In the 1990s, his studies included the leading classics of Vedanta, in particular, the Mahabharata and the Upanishads. In the 2000s, he taught himself to read Hebrew and undertook a comprehensive study of Jewish mysticism that included the multivolume Zohar and the leading texts of Lurianic Kabbalah. After studying Hebrew scribal techniques, he closely reread the Hebrew scriptures, applying the hermeneutical methods described in the Sifra di-Tzni’uta and the Idra Rabbah. Most recently, his research has focused on Western philosophy and the monistic thought of Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677 c.e.). The lives with his wife and two sons in Berkeley, California.
Bible Studies, Qabalah, Spirituality
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page count: 368
Illustrations: black-and-white photos, line drawings, and color plate
Retail Price: $35.00
ISBN 13: 978-0-89254-187-4