Kodesh Press

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A Theology of Holiness

Historical, Exegetical, and Philosophical Perspectives

$17.95 $16.16

A “wonderful masterpiece” – Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein
“beyond impressive” – Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
A “valuable journey” – Tradition Journal
“most worthy of your attention and study” – Alan Jay Gerber
“everything you need to know on this topic” – Mitchell First
“this book has a profound impact” – Rabbi Ari Enkin


The idea of “holiness” is central to religion, but it is also one of the hardest concepts to define. In Judaism, the word kodesh, the Hebrew word for “holy,” appears hundreds of times throughout Tanakh and the Talmud. It also appears in ancient Near Eastern contexts, throughout rabbinic literature, and is used throughout the Middle Ages and into modern times.

Is “holiness” a synonym for Godliness, one of God’s attributes, or does it have independent existence? What does it mean to say that both God and man are holy? What is the proper understanding of “Be holy, because I the Lord your God am holy”?

A Theology of Holiness analyzes the meaning of the Hebrew root k-d-sh from ancient sources, throughout Tanakh, the Talmud, Rashi, Maimonides, Nahmanides, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, and Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

This work traces how the idea of holiness has been applied throughout the ages. It is a work that utilizes historical, exegetical, linguistic, literary, anthropological, and philosophical tools in an interdisciplinary analysis. Ultimately, it is a work of theology, and helps the reader achieve a deeper understanding of holiness—arguably the most important religious term of them all­.

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A Theology of Holiness is a thinking person’s book, but one that is accessible to all people of all backgrounds who are prepared to do some thinking, and it is an engaging read that I think will stimulate and resonate with many.

The Jewish people are called upon to be a holy people and to perform holy acts, including specific rituals on holy days, while remaining cognizant that the ultimate setting to serve God and realise their mission as a holy nation is in the holy land. Yet, despite holiness – or in Hebrew, Kedusha – being a central […]

The idea of kedusha is so pervasive in Judaism that I believe many people think they understand what it is and how it work simply by osmosis. What Alec is able to do is bring a rigorous and methodical approach to understanding what is otherwise an amorphous topic. 

The first thing I did when I received my copy of Alec Goldstein’s A Theology of Holiness (Kodesh Press, 2018) was flip to the back and peruse the bibliography. Jacob Milgrom? Check. Rudolf Otto? Check. Rav Soloveitchik? Check. Ok, this is going to be good. I was definitely not disappointed. Beyond doing a tremendous service to the […]

Rabbi Goldstein really gets at the core idea of what holiness means from a religious perspective. Since holiness is so central to what it means to be religious at all, this book has a profound impact on Jewish philosophical thought in general.

The secret is out. If you’ve wondered how Kodesh Press got its name, it’s because the founder, Rabbi Alec Goldstein, has spent 10 years looking into the idea of “holiness, kedusha,” and he just published his fascinating and exciting new study, “A Theology of Holiness: Historical, Exegetical, and Philosophical Perspectives.” His new book is a […]

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Hardcover, Paperback

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