Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud


The History Trap

I find it interesting that Rabbi Grossman wants to argue that the Exodus account may contain more historical truth than I give it credit for. Maybe, maybe not–I’m not sure it terribly matters either way. Clinging to the “kernels of truth” argument–sometimes posed as “something happened at the Red Sea, we’re just not sure what” or “something happened at Sinai, we’re just not sure what”–can lead to the trap of feeling like we must defend the facticity of every Biblical statement, lest the whole structure collapse like a house of cards.

In fact, we shouldn’t take an “all or nothing” approach to the Bible. Those who try to poke holes in the Bible to “disprove” it really are just buying into the same framework as those who feel they need to strenuously defend every statement in order to “prove” the Bible’s truth. The Bible’s power and wisdom don’t depend on historicity. Proving a part of it to be “true” doesn’t make the rest of it true, anymore than proving a part of it to be “untrue” makes the rest of it untrue. Ultimately I find that sort of debate neither informative nor helpful.

Instead of debating the historical truth of the Bible as though it were a history or science textbook, which it is not and does not try to be, perhaps we can strive for a more nuanced appreciation, one, which recognizes that the Bible’s profound wisdom and insight are not simplistic, and neither should be the way we read it.

Read the Full Debate: Does It Matter If the Exodus Happened?

Explore Beliefnet’s Complete Passover Features:



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.