Tomer PersicoApr 25, 2022
In God’s Image
The Making of the Modern World
Yediot Aharonot 2021
In God’s Image: The Making of the Modern World (Yediot Aharonot, 2021) examines the central role that the biblical idea of the “image of God” has played in the development of Western civilization. Focusing on five themes—selfhood, freedom, conscience, equality, and meaning—this book guides the reader through a cultural history of the Judeo-Christian tradition, from biblical times through modernity. It explains how each of these ideals was profoundly influenced by a central ancient conception – that every human being was created in the divine image of God. The book makes the case for a cultural, ideational understanding of history that places the development of the individual at the core of Western civilization.
In our interview, we will focus not only on the ideas of the book but also on how they are deeply relevant to our existential Western society challenges around spirituality, anxiety, social media, and more. This interview is relevant not only for scholars but also for students, lay leaders, and anyone interested in how ideas have been shaped in history.
In God’s Image posits the fundamental role of the idea of the Image of God – running through the Jewish and Christian traditions and being constantly reinterpreted – in the making of the moral ideals and social institutions that we hold dearly today.
Dr. Tomer Persico serves as the Academic Director at Kolot and a member of the senior management team, and a Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Between 2018 and 2021 he was the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, a Senior Research Scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His fields of expertise include contemporary spirituality, Jewish modern identity, Jewish renewal, and forms of secularization and religiosity in Israel.