‘The notion of God as a perfect being is not of biblical extraction. It is the product not of prophetic religion but Greek philosophy; a postulate of reason rather than a direct compelling initial answer of man to His reality. In the Decalogue, God does not speak of His perfect being but of His having made free men out of slaves. Signifying a state of being without defect or lack, perfection is a term of praise which may utter in pouring forth our emotion; yet for man to utter it as a name for His presence would mean to evaluate and endorse Him. The Biblical language is free of such insolence, it only dared to call “His work” (Deut. 32:4), “His way” (2 Samuel 22:31), or the “Torah” (Psalm 19:7) tamim, perfect. We were never told: “Hear, O Israel, God is perfect!” It is an attribution which is strikingly absent in both the biblical and rabbinic literature.’ (Rabbi Abraham Joshua Hescehl, ‘God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism’, p. 101-102)
This is a stark contrast compared to the majority of Christian theology, in which God’s attributes are often the subject of conversation, music, books, and conferences. The other-ness of God is really what Rabbi Heschel is driving at – His absolute other-ness and holiness. This ties in a bit with some of the other posts I’ve made here: to what extent can we even speak of God, the Holy?
Part of me doesn’t really know – which is why I’m not a huge fan of various systematic theologies, especially those that try and lay out the attributes of God in a succinct form. To me, that seems to really not take the Holiness and other-ness of God seriously.