The Footprints of God

Divine Accommodation in Jewish and Christian Thought

By Stephen D. Benin

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion
Paperback : 9780791407127, 327 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791407110, 327 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents



1. They Walked by Day as in Darkness

2. As Infants and Children

3. Bread and Milk

4. The Times May Change but not the Faith

5. The King's Son

6. A Wise and Understanding People

7. The School of the Holy Spirit

8. Confronting True and False Gods


List of Abbreviations



Index of Biblical Citations


This book traces one exegetical, interpretative principal, divine accommodation, in Jewish and Christian thought from the first to the nineteenth century. The focus is upon major figures and the place of accommodation in their work.

Divine accommodation, the idea that divine revelation had to be attuned to the human condition, is a vital interpretive device in the history of both Judaism and Christianity. Accommodation is present not only in the language, style, and tone of Scripture but in all of human history. This is the first systematic study of the concept of accommodation, and shows how both religions employed the same interpretative tool for different purposes and to different ends.

Stephen D. Benin is Director of Judaic Studies and Associate Professor of History, Bornblum Judaic Studies, Memphis State University.


"This is an astoundingly erudite and intelligent study of an extremely interesting and complex topic. Benin writes well, he does not force points, and his over-all approach is very persuasive. He is extremely learned, and his control of nearly eighteen hundred years of Christian exegesis and theological writing is very impressive without being showy. Benin also has a good grasp of the larger implications of his study, and its modern 'relevance.'" — David Stern, University of Pennsylvania

"This book is a serious and thoughtful presentation of the theme of 'accommodation' in Jewish and Christian thought. A great range of theological and hermeneutical features are brought into discussion, and many sources and persons are treated. This is a work of great learning and will be of much interest to students of intellectual history and the comparative study of religions." — Michael Fishbane, University of Chicago