Jewish Views of the Afterlife: Chapter Outline

  1. Introduction – A Personal Journey
  2. Is There Afterlife After Auschwitz?
  3. Biblical Roots of Jewish Views of the Afterlife
  4. Tours of Heaven and Hell in Apocryphal Literature
  5. The World to Come in Rabbinic Judaism
  6. Visionary Tours of the Afterlife in Medieval Midrash
  7. Immortality of the Soul in Medieval Philosophy
  8. Afterlife and the Soul in Kabbalah
  9. Death and the Afterlife in Hasidic Tales
  10. A Contemporary Psychological Model of the Afterlife

Simcha Paull Raphael has performed an act of resurrection. He has restored the rich heritage of Jewish thought about life after death that has been repressed, disdained, or ignored for so long, and he has made the heritage accessible for the first time to a generation of Jews.

“His timing could not be better. This book arrives at a time when there is a Jewish renewal movement springing up that has new questions and that is in search of new perspectives on what life is really all about. It comes at a time when there is a new awareness of cosmology, a new curiosity about mysticism, and a new understanding of the nature of matter and energy. All these things come together to create a community that will be receptive to this book.

“There is enormous scholarship here, but even more important that the facts and footnotes that it contains, there is a sense that this is a writer who writes out of his own innermost concerns. He is not just an archaeologist digging up beliefs of his ancestors; he is a pathfinder pointing the way for many who want to learn.

-Rabbi Jack Riemer (Ed.), Jewish Reflections on Death