In a really interesting if slightly bizarre exchange
between Robert Wright (The Evolution of God
) and economist Tyler Cowen
, Cowen, not a conventional religious believer and not Jewish, goes on about the Hebrew Bible and how it stands out from other religious texts, especially Buddhist texts. Compared to “the Torah as a written product,” they don’t have
the power, the ability to give it multiple readings, and to read it again and again and again and be lead to develop more sophisticated questions about the stories that are taking place and to find subtleties and interconnections across the different parts of the Hebrew Bible I really find quite astonishing. I think it’s still one of the greatest books that was ever written. ‘Written is maybe not exactly the right word. Some people would say edited-slash-written. Some people would say, handed down by God.
He says he finds it “very hard to explain using our normal categories.”
“Now that’s a very unusual view for a nonbeliever to hold,” Cowen concludes, adding that his parents were “Irish atheists.” Well, yes, “very unusual” is how I’d describe it too. Also very perceptive.