Monday, December 17, 2012

How Atheists Kill



A book called Escape from Camp 14 was published earlier this year. The book tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin's life unlocks the secrets of the world's most repressive totalitarian state, North Korea. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin's Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family.

One wonders how atheists are capable of inflicting such incredible cruelty on their fellow men. How can they kill with no guilt?

I suspect that the answer may be, because according to atheists, nothing is really alive in the traditional sense of the word.

Monotheists understand that something is alive because it has a soul. When something dies it "gives up the ghost".

Atheists of course do not believe in a soul and therefore have trouble defining life. Murder simply means changing a bag of chemicals, known as a human being, from one state to another somewhat different state. Nothing fundamental or terrible has happened. It's like unplugging an appliance. The bag of chemicals is still there, it has just stopped moving and eating.

127 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Monotheists understand that something is alive because it has a soul. When something dies it "gives up the ghost".'

Which is why monotheists never murder, ever.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, you know what I would be curious to see? A study done comparing the percentage of convicted felons in the United States who were active monotheists at the time that they committed the felony (meaning that they attended services in a church, mosque or synagogue at least once a week) compared to the percentage of Americans in general who are active monotheists.

I would guess, and it's just a guess, felons: 2% general population: 20%.

Anonymous said...

Fine, but is there a difference between someone who is a professed atheist and someone who is not active in church/synagogue/mosque?

Also, if someone is part of a political religion, is that person an atheist?

jewish philosopher said...

"Fine, but is there a difference between someone who is a professed atheist and someone who is not active in church/synagogue/mosque?"

I guess a non-practicing monotheist is in between.

"Also, if someone is part of a political religion, is that person an atheist?"

Politics is theory about government, religion is a theory about origins and the afterlife.

Ducky's here said...

One wonders how atheists are capable of inflicting such incredible cruelty on their fellow men. How can they kill with no guilt?

-----
If I've learned anything in this world I've learned there is nothing one man won't do to another.

A mentally ill kid in Connecticut, North Korean officials or the government of Israel turning Gaza into a prison camp.

All faiths and no faiths. There is nothing one man won't do to another.

jewish philosopher said...

How many Orthodox Jews have been convicted of murder in the past twenty years? Maybe about five? Out of a community of about two million people.

Anonymous said...

Muslims seem good at killing sometimes. True believers kill too!

I don't think religion is true -- so much of it seems strained. But I wish it was -- I want life to make more sense too!

Question for you: if we have national revelation unbroken tradition -- what do you make of Shoftim 2:10?

It seems like someone inserted that to show everyone that they "forgot" the national revelation happened(immediately after Joshua) and needed to be "reminded" that "we were all there." So much for an unbroken tradition..?!

Tuvia

Dave said...

More overgeneralizations and hype.

Why let the facts get in your way? Like your definition of religion, whose similar logic would define "not being a football player" as a "sport" and not being a doctor as a "profession".

The North Korean's system is much like a cult as they worship the leader, and it shares some features of a religion. They don't "worship" atheism. Just like many other cults. Scientologists could arguably be considered atheists, but nobody would not call them a religion.

And, if so few OJs are convicted of rape or murder, why would you claim that they are discriminated?

jewish philosopher said...

"Muslims seem good at killing sometimes."

Muslim jihadis look like girl scouts next to atheist Fascists and Communists.

"what do you make of Shoftim 2:10?"

I don't see the problem there.

jewish philosopher said...

"The North Korean's system is much like a cult as they worship the leader, and it shares some features of a religion."

North Korea is officially an atheist state in which much of the population is nonreligious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_North_Korea

"And, if so few OJs are convicted of rape or murder, why would you claim that they are discriminated?"

Exactly where did I claim that?

Anonymous said...

JP:

You would agree I bet that fascism and communism are basically on their way out. Everyone thinks movements like that are kind of clownish.

I say this with a bit of wistfulness, as a former commie sympathizer.

Big Movements are kind of looked upon as rather campy or kitsch. This actually includes religious movements – which seem to most people to be desperate attempts to resurrect an old world, instead of dealing with our present confusing world.

We live in a “crowd sourcing” world – which is addicted to Wikipedia for information (your favorite site I sometimes think.)

What religion does is try to recreate authority, and order. Democracy is messy, but it does respond to people, so it is more satisfying than rigid religion, which ignores the people, and focuses on the wisdom of the leaders.

I say this as someone who is pretty controlling myself – and who has many times wished for more authority and order in the world. Something I can rely on. Something I can stand on.

Religion is it of course. But it is, like communism and fascism, riddled with lies and secrets and pretend thinking.

Orthodox Judaism reminds me most of Soviet era Communism: Pravda gives us our news, our tv and radio is state sponsored, no one can travel abroad, and dissent will land you in a labor camp. And, oh yeah, communism is obviously the truth and superior to the decadent west. But somehow, we can’t let the decadent west make its own case, and funny, we can’t let you see it.

Look: in my yeshiva, a kiruv one, they made the point emphatically that we have an unbroken – repeat unbroken – tradition from Mt. Sinai. Passed down from father to son.

They made the point that one could NEVER make up national revelation – no one would accept it unless they had a tradition in their own family, so HOW would you make it up?

Shoftim 2:10 is how you would make it up. It says: YOU ALL FORGOT. This is your reminder. Now go and learn.

You’re a Jew – you can read. It’s right there: YOU ALL FORGOT ABOUT G-D. Now consider this your reminder. We had a national revelation and stop asking us about it you kofer…

Tuvia.

Dave said...

Sorry. It was Nat who said it in a comment on the previous post.

jewish philosopher said...

"Democracy is messy"

Also dangerous. Hitler came to power in a messy democracy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_presidential_election,_1932

"It says: YOU ALL FORGOT."

So who made it up? Ezra based on four earlier documents?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

Imagine that I would sit down with a word processor and I would cut and paste verbatim passages from the Torah, New Testament, Koran and the Book of Mormon. I would add a few sentences to help connect the various passages. I'll publish the resulting masterpiece as The True Book which I discovered in a secret, hidden archive in the basement of the Vatican.

Do you think that all Jews, Christians, Muslims and Mormons would instantly sign up and dump their "obsolete" holy books? 

And please don't argue that people in ancient times were mentally challenged and would believe anything. When Jesus, for example, appeared with some new ideas he was hanged.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_of_Jesus

Dave said...

JP

Ancients were deeply religious people who mostly were not literate. Infused in culture and society everywhere was belief in dieties, supernatural forces and founding stories. This is evidenced by the pervasive belief in idols documented by the Bible. The specifics were determined by where you were and who were your leaders.

So if a charismatic leader, or group of them, came along and told you (and maybe you had some faded legends in your culture about it)that your gods are not these idols, but Yahweh, and you got here via Moses and revelation, etc, and you just forgot it, well, that's exactly what the Bible says happened! And now, that's exactly what ba'al tsheuvahs go through! So what's so hard to understand???

Anonymous said...

Isn't that exactly what happened in Mormomism and Scientology? Add in the power to compel membership in the congregation politically, give it a few centuries, and viola!

jewish philosopher said...

Sure, starting a new religion is no big deal and maybe it's made easier with literacy and mass media. Think of propaganda.

However new religions start small and are invariably villified by the old religions, which may slowly die off. The old religions don't instantly vanish with no trace, if they vanish at all.

Anonymous said...

JP is there a website you
could recommend to someone
trying to learn more about the
Jewish religion and various
branches like Orthodox, conservative
, hasidic etc etc . I am desiring to
understand the jewish community
and what is happening in Israel
better and to better informed.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

You're hilarious, you know that? As an atheist who has no criminal record and no crimes under my belt, and who loves her family and friends, seeing you flounder and hysterically fingerpoint at atheists for the world's woes is really quite amusing.

jewish philosopher said...

"JP is there a website you could recommend"

I would check this out.

http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm

"As an atheist who has no criminal record"

Well you see that's the problem. You believe you're OK if you don't commit a crime. Well, the North Korean prison guards are also perfectly upstanding, law abiding citizens according to the laws of their country. On the other hand, I measure my virtue according to God's law, which is eternal and universal.  

Anonymous said...

JP:

The thing to remember is hardly anyone is actually an atheist. Even a secular person is prone to superstition. What is superstition but a nod to the supernatural, which is just a stone’s throw to the spiritual?

Religions – all of them – know this and use it. Fear mongering is a big part of religion. Punishment in the next world unless you comply. Nothing like supernatural fear mongering to make people scared, docile, and ultimately, compliant.

If that doesn’t work – a reward system. Do this now, and receive a reward in the afterlife. Sometimes it is do this now, and receive material blessings (shidduch, parnussa, long life) in this life.

It’s a good way to get people to do what those in control want them to do. Because we are all a little superstitious. We all fear the unknown somewhat. Even the secular.

Who would a secular person accidently rather hit with a car – a drug dealer or a nun? Who would a mugger rather mug – another low life or a priest? What atheist would want to make a witch doctor angry, and be given a “hex” just before he jumped on a small prop plane for a flight on a windy, overcast day?

Fear mongering. Makes you afraid, docile, compliant. Right now we’ve got millions of people afraid of the end of the world on December 21 2012. We are all vulnerable – and religious figures use this to make us docile and compliant.

Religious men – who know nothing about the truth – put on costumes and scare us. They carry around books written a long time ago in an ancient language, and tell us they were written through supernatural means and we had better listen. And we do, a bit. Because we are afraid of the supernatural. How many atheists use a Bible as a doorstop? Very few I imagine.

I’m sure some part of you is not all that proud of that aspect of religion – so weak and empty. Little Men in Big Hats using fear and control. Don’t educate, indoctrinate. Don’t inform, manipulate. Indoctrination is fun, it is inspiring. Education is boring, it robs religion of its power. The communists were good at inspiring, as were the pre-WWII Nazis.

Nothing like indoctrination – it is an amazing thing. It grabs us. Education bores us. The use of reason? Boring. Don’t tell me how the Torah looks like a book written over hundreds of years and by many hands. Don’t show my why this is reasonable. That’s boring. Tell me it is from G-d – that is what I want to hear and need to hear.

I need to hear it too JP. I often need to hear it too.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

The same is true of doctors isn't it?

Men in strange white coats, carrying big, unreadable books, speaking their own special jargon, threatening us with doom ("smoking will kill you") promising rewards ("exercise will make you live longer").

Why listen to such nonsense? If it feels good do it and ignore thiose wierdos with their stethoscopes and funny outfits.

Anonymous said...


Religion asks us to ignore the faculty of reason. Become scared for your eternal soul, and we will give you the answer. Do what we say, and receive rewards now and in the next world.

Doctors don’t need to do any of this. We all want to live a long, healthy life. We got things to do, and people who depend on us.

Not sure why you bother with the comparison.

The difference is plain though. Because in religion you are barred from educating yourself. You will be indoctrinated, which is linked to being inspired, which is why people gravitate to religion. You will be manipulated, which is very different than being informed – which is how we will keep you compliant.

You will learn about evolution, but from a rabbi – who will then smash it. You see? You heard both sides, and evolution loses!

But you will never let an evolutionary biologist in to the classroom. To teach the Theory of Evolution, and what the real evidence is for it. And why scientists (including many that wear kippahs) accept it.

A rabbi will tell you why the Documentary Hypothesis is obviously garbage. He will teach it to the class in five minutes, then smash it, then teach the traditional idea.

You see? You heard both sides! And the traditional side is obviously true! Case closed!

But you will never let a scholar of Modern Biblical Criticism in the class. He will never be given the time – the weeks or months it would take to teach all about the evidence, the reasonableness, of the DH. The real case can never be made.

Circle the wagons, indoctrinate, manipulate, and inspire. Fear monger. Offer rewards.

Control. Control. Control. All information is processed and filtered. Information is suppressed, distorted, omitted, mis-stated. And never, ever let the outside make its own case. All newspapers are Pravda, all radio and tv stations state owned. All “travel abroad” prohibited.

That’s how religion works. Lose control? You risk the religion. The whole halachic framework is put at risk.

But religious people we admire for one, very human reason. You are loyal to the tradition. To the family and the tribe.

Who among us is ready to drop the Jewish people altogether? We are Jews and we feel a tribal pull. A deep cultural affinity. An unreasonable loyalty.

And religious people are the face of that loyalty. And so we can’t quite tear ourselves away. Even as every move they make is right out of the Soviet-era Communism playbook.

I bet there are still some Communists around who feel the tug of the inspired words of Lenin.

Old loyalties die very hard. As they should: Am Yisrael Chai.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"The difference is plain though."

To you it is, because you are a fully committed fundamentalist. Your religion, atheism, is true and other religions are false. It's obvious.

And regarding alleged atheist open mindedness, why was I taught evolution as a fact in school as a child however never once was permitted to hear a speech from a priest or a rabbi? Was someone afraid that my impressionable young mind might be corrupted?

As I point out, atheists are fundimentalists.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/10/the-church-of-atheism.html

ksil said...

how anyone could defend this monster who abuses young defenseless children is beyond comprehension

jewish philosopher said...

Ksil, when someone accuses you, I will definitely vote to convict.

Apparently the locked door story does come from the accuser, the same source for all other evidence that a crime even occured to begin with.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/nechemya-weberman-orthodox-guilty_n_2272669.html

We seem to go even a step further than the Salem trials in that the names of alleged victims of sexual crimes are rarely published.

http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV182.pdf

This has been criticized.

"In fact, one very important implication of the Strauss-Kahn case was this: the press is dead wrong not to publish the names of alleged rape victims. It is absolutely critical that rape be treated like any other crime of violence, that the names of the alleged victims be published along with the names of the alleged perpetrators, so that people who know the victim or know her reputation can come forward to provide relevant information. The whole manner in which this case was handled undercuts the presumption of innocence, and the same goes for many other cases like it. By withholding the name of the alleged victim while publishing perp photos of the alleged assailant, the press conveys a presumption of guilt."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/01/alan-dershowitz-on-the-dominique-strauss-khan-case.html

Anonymous said...



“Your religion, atheism, is true and other religions are false. It's obvious.”

I’m not an atheist. But the way you generally seem to spit out that word – I see you are a true believer.

Listen: I know it feels great to be indoctrinated. I’ve been there. All I can say is: try education. Try exercising the faculty of reason. Stop reading only material which distorts, omits, suppresses information that would weaken its religious claims.

I know a basic rule of Judaism is you are not permitted to question Judaism. But think about why that is so fundamental to the religious mindset. If religion is all so true, why the worry? If it is all so provable, why can’t a Modern Biblical Criticism scholar come to yeshiva to teach the substantial, converging lines of evidence for the Torah as a composite document written over hundreds of years?

He could be cross examined, he could debate a rabbi, they could share a lectern for weeks with students asking questions.

I’m not even saying the scholar would win. But we both know a yeshiva will NEVER do this.

Ask yourself: why the fear of a science education? A college education?

Why all the game-playing in the haredi community? Like they say they have eternal Torah values which are better --- meanwhile all of their self help books are based on modern values and research re-branded as eternal Jewish values.

Why can’t they say that they are borrowing it all from the secular culture? What are they so afraid of? Why is open inquiry such a frightening idea to the religious establishment?


Why can Fidel talk about the West as decadent and superficial and obviously inferior to Communism – but no one in Cuba can leave that country, ever, to travel abroad? To see for themselves?

And why can’t you think differently in Cuba? Why the intimidation and imprisonment of dissident thinkers? How come in the modern world, the West, we can come and go as we please, debate different ideas, be communists, socialists or capitalists (and certainly learn about it all on college campuses)? Why can we buy the latest book by a conservative economist in a book store, and ALSO buy the Communist Manifesto, and the Marx Engels Reader? And also buy Mein Kampf by Hitler?

How come in the Jewish world, so sure of itself, it can’t afford to let people read outside material? Why all the control? The distorting of information from the outside world? The omitting and suppressing? What are they so afraid of?

=

“And regarding alleged atheist open mindedness, why was I taught evolution as a fact in school as a child however never once was permitted to hear a speech from a priest or a rabbi?”

I suppose a debate between evolutionary biologists and a priest on the evidence for/against the Theory of Evolution, where they can be asked questions and cross examine each other over a semester, and share a lectern and students could listen and ask questions and discuss -- would be interesting.

I’d imagine the priest would talk about what is wrong with evolution for a while, and then become extremely flummoxed by the scientist marshalling his evidence. The priest would then talk about how life has meaning, and G-d is immanent and we’d realize that he’d stumbled into the wrong debate! This was never about science. The priest doesn’t really know science. He’s into talking about meaning. Whoops.

This is why a priest was never invited to your science class JP! Religion cannot afford to let the other side into an open debate. Not the other way around. A priest will rail against evolution from the safety of his pulpit – where reason does not rule. And evidence is ignored. And open inquiry is forbidden.

And yes, he will be very inspiring in such a circumstance!

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"I know a basic rule of Judaism is you are not permitted to question Judaism."

Where can I find that rule?

"But we both know a yeshiva will NEVER do this."

Why don't secular public schools hold creationist/evolutionist debates? No questioning of evolution is allowed in the curriculum. 

Anonymous said...

Sure – debates. Next week we'll have the Scientologists in. Week after the Flying Spaghetti Monster club can bring their story of how life happened. Week after, the kid in third grade who says his mom created the whole world.

Religion is not rational on these matters. Science only works (and there are plenty of arguments and debates in science – and science is capable of evolving) because it employs a method.

Religion?

Why did life begin with Adam and Eve? Because it says so in this book! Why does that matter? Because this book is from G-d! What evidence for this is there? My ancestors told me! So there!

What about Shoftim 2:10? We see no problem with this…!

It’s not the same thing. We both know this.

I love a good vort as much as the next guy, though.

But having a rabbi trained in Talmud come in and tell us how the world really began is not education. It’s irresponsible indoctrination.

If it were the Scientologists coming in, or the Aztecs, or the Pagans (do they exist?) -- you would probably find it kind of suspect too – at least as far as verifiable science was concerned.

Though having these groups in during “the sociology of religion week” in school would be pretty interesting.

And reading treif literature is usser. Challenging the Torah’s divinity is a no-no. If you really want, I’m sure I can find something out there that is pretty clear on this matter. But if you want to hear it from the source – ask a teacher in your area. There’s a reason secular studies are forbidden: they lead you to questioning Judaism, which is a no-no.

I know this and am not even orthodox! You know it better than me.

Tuvia

natschuster said...

Dave:


"Shoftim 2:10 is how you would make it up. It says: YOU ALL FORGOT. This is your reminder. Now go and learn."

Thoughout the Bible,the term notknowing can very well mean not appreciating. The knew the facts about Hashem, the Torah, the Miracles, etc. They just didn' make them a priority. In posuk 12 it says that they left Hashem. That obviously means that the "not knowing" was not a passive forgetting, but an active rejection. And there was always a core of people who knew the Torah. They were the Shoftim.

natschuster said...


"You're hilarious, you know that? As an atheist who has no criminal record and no crimes under my belt, and who loves her family and friends, seeing you flounder and hysterically fingerpoint at atheists for the world's woes is really quite amusing."

If I were to tell you that if you succeed in your quest of making the world atheistic, if history is nay indication we would see a marked increase in mass, murder, you, like every other atheist would tell me that its okay because atheistic mass murder is not done in the name of atheism. I find that a little scary.

Dave said...

Other than convincing yourself about how right you are, I don't think your argument could convince a single individual that
(a) atheism is immoral
(b) atheism is incorrect
when he already didn't hold those views.

I would like somebody to step forward if I'm wrong. Please find a single individual to give credible testimony that he changed his mind about these things because of these arguments.

jewish philosopher said...

"Next week we'll have the Scientologists in."

Fine, so you understand that each community raises it's children exclusively in it's own beliefs, whatever those beliefs are.

"Science only works (and there are plenty of arguments and debates in science – and science is capable of evolving) because it employs a method."

I think the word "science" is often misused.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/11/science-and-pseudo-science.html

"But having a rabbi trained in Talmud come in and tell us how the world really began is not education. It’s irresponsible indoctrination."

But having an atheist trained in evolution come in and tell us how the world really began is not education. It’s irresponsible indoctrination. 

"There’s a reason secular studies are forbidden."

This would be a surprise to all the secular studies teachers in Jewish schools.

"I don't think your argument could convince a single individual"

Take a look at the header on this blog.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller

Anonymous said...

“But having an atheist trained in evolution come in and tell us how the world really began is not education. It’s irresponsible indoctrination.”

Maybe we could compromise and have a frum scientist who understands and accepts the Theory of Evolution come in and teach it? There are plenty of those.


“This would be a surprise to all the secular studies teachers in Jewish schools.”

Stuff that could harm a commitment to the tenets of Judaism is not permitted.

In the orthodox world, the other side cannot be permitted to make their case. There can be no cross examining, no open inquiry.

Why?

(I could ask this question of Fidel, Lenin, Hitler, the Pope, or any cult leader.)


“Thoughout the Bible, the term not knowing can very well mean not appreciating.”

It seems like a bit of both actually – forgetting and not appreciating.

It still suggests a weak link in the chain of transmission. A perfect way to explain to people who actually did not have a masorah on national revelation that, well, they basically just kind of forgot and no longer realized or appreciated what happened to their ancestors at Mt. Sinai a while ago.

Now go and learn – and accept national revelation and how it could NEVER EVER be faked – or lose your place in the world to come you little kofer!

Totalitarian systems: Inspiration, manipulation, control and fear mongering. All indoctrination, no education – you’ll never be bored!

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

In the schools I was raised in creationism was absolutely banned. I don't see how that's different than yeshivas which ban evolution.

I had to go outside my secular school, learn the truth and hear I am today.

Anonymous said...

"I had to go outside my secular school, learn the truth and hear I am today."

You spelled "here" wrong.

JP, Judaism is really inspiring. Like other ideologies, it is even life sustaining for believers.

But it cannot afford a sustained, unflinching encounter with non-traditional sources that contradict its claims.

Why?

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

"hear I am today"

Yes, hear you are, possessor and conveyor of the truth.

Ironmistress said...

Let's say that all Bolsheviks are Atheists, but not all Atheists are Bolsheviks. And the North Korean regime is a particularly nasty variant of Bolshevism. [The same applies to Fascism.]

What is the most concerning issue on Atheism is that it is basically an all bets are off condition. An Atheist is unpredictable with his behaviour. If a person has conviction - Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Muslim, Hinduism, it can be pretty safely assumed he or she has internalized the concepts of the ethics of his or her religion and holy books - Bible, Koran, Tripitaka, sutras, and while we may or may not subscribe those concepts, his or her behaviour is still predictable.

Atheist, on the other hand, is unpredictable. While he may (and is likely to) have, e.g. Christian ethics without the religious concepts, he may just as well have his very own set of ethics, Nietzschean or LaVeyan concepts - or none at all. In this respect while Christian ethics for an Atheist are usually a good bet, they are not a safe bet - and when things get nasty, the result may well be a bloodbath like French Revolution, Russian Revolution - or the Cambodian killing fields. That uncertainty is the thing which makes Atheism scary.

I have always said never trust a Right-Wing Atheist. The reason is that they are usually completely immoral. While Leftist Atheists usually have very strict Humanist ethics and usually some heart, Right-wing Atheists have none. They are far more likely to follow Nietzschean or Randian concept of humanity than that of Einstein or Hawking.

Being an Agnostic, I have no evidence of neither the existence nor non-existence of any deities. Yet I do not deny the possibility outright nor do I make a pseudo-religion out of my Agnosticism either. If any of you can convince me bindingly that deities do

natschuster said...


“Thoughout the Bible, the term not knowing can very well mean not appreciating.”

It seems like a bit of both actually – forgetting and not appreciating.

It still suggests a weak link in the chain of transmission. A perfect way to explain to people who actually did not have a masorah on national revelation that, well, they basically just kind of forgot and no longer realized or appreciated what happened to their ancestors at Mt. Sinai a while ago.

Now go and learn – and accept national revelation and how it could NEVER EVER be faked – or lose your place in the world to come you little kofer!

Totalitarian systems: Inspiration, manipulation, control and fear mongering. All indoctrination, no education – you’ll never be bored!

Tuvia"

Posuk 12 says there was an active rejection, not a passive forgetting. And the Judges woudl have had a hard time convincing the people that they knew everything while, andhad everythimg written down, while the rest of the nation forgot knew nothing.

Anonymous said...

JP writes: "I had to go outside my secular school, learn the truth and hear I am today."

Probably not the truth. But real education is unsatisfying: it doesn’t get you to Communism, Nazism, Orthodox Judaism, or even the Tea Party.

Emotionally? Much more satisfying to be indoctrinated. Much better to be inspired by imbibing ONLY the doctrine. Much better to shut off the outside world – the world of reason and open inquiry. Keep everyone behind a wall – it’s the best way (the rabbis reflexively understand this.) Lenin knew this, the Aryans appealed to this, OJ does this.

Education is the true danger. Information is the real enemy. Indoctrination, manipulation is absolutely necessary.

Open inquiry? Information? Explicitly forbidden. Suppress, distort, omit. And openly lie when necessary.

And THEN you can stand up on the dais and say: “ ________ is Truth.” Fill in the blank with any religion. Or communism, or Aryanism, or fascism, or any cult.

A frum Jew who has studied the DH writes:

“When one has worked through Tanach reading modern commentaries, not just one book of criticism where one can always say “Eh, not impressed, who says etc”, and looking at this entire binyan that has been put up as a result of all these disciplines, it is impossible for a rational person to dismiss modern Bible Commentary as narishkeit.”

He also writes:

“Other aspects of Judaism, Talmud in particular, give far more pleasure and happiness than working in the arid trenches of Bible Scholarship.”

It’s a big subject – too boring for a frum Jew I guess. But keeping our eyes closed – there’s a big cost there too, JP. And you know what the cost is? No one believes you.

A Mormon writes on the DH:

“But what hasn’t been acknowledged by many (especially lay) critics is that scholars have long since moved on from relying just upon the names or on the doublets. It’s easy to come up with an explanation as to why humans are created twice in Genesis 1-3, (the Rabbis certainly did), but when that is only one very small part of an ocean of evidence, it’s much harder to discount. And it’s that ocean that most critics of the DH fail to reckon with.”

Thanks for having a more open forum than some frum blogs can tolerate.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"But it cannot afford a sustained, unflinching encounter with non-traditional sources that contradict its claims."

Almost every single Jewish skeptic blog blocks or deletes any comment I make. Why? There seems to be plenty of flinching on the atheist side.

Anonymous said...

They find your writing style obnoxious. But they should include your comments.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

No matter how much I may abhor certain ideas, I try to be very careful not to be rude to anyone unless they are rude to me first. I think many "skeptics" just don't have answers.

Anonymous said...

They way these conversations are framed can make it seem like one side or the other has "no answers."

I am totally committed to open inquiry. I spent a year at a baal teshuva yeshiva and found the one thing that could not be tolerated was real open inquiry, even as they sought to persuade with proofs. They would not tolerate opposing views (unless they could make the argument, and totally butcher it to defeat it quickly.)

It was very disheartening -- because I knew it was a tacit admission of weakness in their proofs. A serious weakness in all of these larger than life rabbis who were amazing people.

I was still very attracted to the Orthodox view of things.

But, and it has been a hard hard journey, I came to realize that I was being bamboozled by great rhetoric. Everything clicked, but no one is being honest.

I have sat and talked with ultra orthodox followers who have maintained their frumkeit even as they acknowledge the commitment to Torah Mt. Sinai is a kind of mirage, but a necessary one. That the masorah is put together to boost emunah, not to be a record of emes.

What this means for the existence of G-d? Who knows. The most crushing burden of my life was realizing that OJ is as full of false confidence as any other religion. And that maintaining that pure commitment requires committing oneself to hiding from the reality of outside arguments – what a terrible feeling.

I'm still dealing with it.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"The most crushing burden of my life was realizing that OJ is as full of false confidence as any other religion"

Well, it makes a lot more sense to me than evolution.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

Anonymous said...

Nat:

I appreciate your pointing out Shofetim 2:12.

They walked away.

But how does that change anything?

Some rabbi, asked by a student why he had no tradition from Mt. Sinai might have said that what happened in Shofetim 2:10-12 is, everyone repressed their family experience at Mt. Sinai in order to rationalize switching to other deities. The tradition within each family was disrupted permanently, and never resumed.

This is just to say – here is a way to fake a history of national revelation. The thing kiruv rabbis proudly assert simply CANNOT be faked.

Tuvia

Dave said...

Tuvia, the experience you describe, that is a very interesting and moving description.

JP-- you repeatedly make the same logical error of setting up a false dichotomy, ie either OJ or evolution. One is a scientific theory, the other is a set of religious beliefs. You don't choose one or the other (although there are other reasons to reject OJ).
Do you have to choose between liking chocolate ice cream and liking corned beef? You can't like both?

natschuster said...

Tuvia:

If they actively walked away, they didn't forget.

And the periods when they didn't observe were just a few years, way too short for an entire history to be forgotten. SO if anyone tried to tell them that the nation had a history, that was written down, that everyone knew about, and everyone, just a few years ago, people would say, "why didn't my grandfather tell me? Why is it that you have the Torah written down, all the history, a clear mesorah, and the rest of the nation has nothing?" I konw I would ask.

jewish philosopher said...

"you repeatedly make the same logical error of setting up a false dichotomy"

I certainly agree that evolution is a religious belief.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

Judaism however is a fact not a theory.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

natschuster said...

I personally don't like the Documentary Theory for the following reasons:

1) It is based on the assumption that one author cannot write with different styles. I can site numerous human authors who write with different styles.

2) As for the different names of Hashem, any article on, for example, the President of the United States might refer to him as Obama, the President, President Obama, Barak Obama. Nobody ever says that the article was written by two people.

3) The DH methodology was actually tested by the author of "The Amber Witch." It was found to be a crock.

4) Dr. Chaim Shor got all scientific and did a computerized statistical analysis the various passages. He found that the Statistics support single a author.

5) "who Really Wrote the Bible" is an interesting book. The authors very easily explain away the differences in terminology. And they also demonstrate that the Torah has a consistent structure that would be possible if it was a compilation of different texts.

6) Other people have compiled their holy writing into single volumes. There is the New Testimate, The Suras of the Koran, the Vedas. But nobody does he strange interleaving that the DH says happened. People just don't tamper with holy books that way. Teh only exception would be the redactor of the Torah. Why.

Anonymous said...

Nat:

The Shofetim thing is no big deal. If the Torah was put together over hundreds of years there were lots of ways to make national revelation grow and stick. Not important.

What I am always talking about really is a cast of mind. In indoctrination, everything is excluded that does not agree. It is forcibly excluded, omitted, its existence denied. The doctrine cannot afford exposure to it. OJ does this a lot.

Indoctrination is inspiring, and education is boring. Open inquiry is boring because it doesn’t lead to the passionate religious commitment. Or political commitment required for communism or fascism.

So we see what happens: besides avoiding using the faculty of reason, information from the outside is distorted, omitted, suppressed.

It’s not really relevant to the above discussion, but here is a frum scholar at Bar Ilan who last year found multiple voices in the Torah:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4092886,00.html

Again, what matters to me is the way the religious mindset is created. The requirements to offer rewards in the afterlife, or make them afraid for their afterlife. To forbid inquiry into science. To exclude scientists or scholars – even religious ones – for making their case to the orthodox world. To lie about what the DH is, or evolutionary theory is, and the specifics of the evidence in support of these. To stage show trials where a rabbi gets up and butchers the theory of evolution, then smashes it, and proclaims that tradition wins and you got to hear both sides.

Why do this?

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

Nat:

Here is a partial list of difficulties in the Torah, cribbed from a Mormon. Not the DH entire, and again, not really relevant to the problem of education versus indoctrination.

Partial list of things that need explaining without the DH (part 1 of 2):

1. Why humans are created twice (Gen. 1:27, 2:7ff.).
2. Why Noah is commanded to take two of every animal (Gen 6:17) and then seven of every clean and two of every unclean (Gen 7:2).
3. Why the seams between the two creation accounts and the two flood accounts also divide perfectly the similar language that is used in the creation and flood accounts.
4. Why in one text (Num 12:4-15) the tent of meeting is outside the camp, and anyone can go to it, and in an earlier one (Num 2), it is in the center of the camp, and only the priests can enter it. And why these two texts preserve similar language and textual allusions to other similarly divided texts.
5. Why in the flood account it is proclaimed that God limits man’s days to 120 years, but in Genesis 47:9 Jacob says he lived 130 years and Abraham and Isaac lived even longer.
6. Why Hagar is banished twice (Gen 16 & 21)
7. Why Jacob is named twice (Gen 32 & 35)
8. Why Beersheva is given two different etymologies (Gen 21 & 26).
9. Why Abraham is born in Ur Kasdim (Gen 11:27-32), i.e., in southern Iraq, then moves to Haran, i.e. North Syria, and while in Haran (apparently) God tells him to leave his birthplace to go to Canaan (Gen 12:1ff.), but of course he’d already left his birthplace—in Ur!
10. Why Jacob finished a long discourse about why Ephraim and Manasseh will be adopted as Jacob’s sons, and then in the next verse doesn’t know who they are (Gen 48:3-7, 8), and why if you remove that discourse, the narrative makes perfect sense. And why that discourse matches with language of other similar discourses that are divided by similar literary seams.
11. Why in one text (Gen 35:23-26, (=P)) Benjamin is born in Paddan Aram, but in another (35:16-19 (=E)) he is born near Bethlehem, in Canaan.
12. Why in one text (Gen 37:36) the Midianites sell Joseph to Potiphar, but in another (Gen 39:1) it was the Ishmaelites.
13. Why, in Genesis 37:21-22 it’s Reuben who wants to save Joseph, and in 26-27 it’s Judah.
14. Why Moses’ father-in-law has two names (Reuel/Jethro), and Sinai has two names (Sinai/Horeb), and why the use of each of these names corresponds to other linguistic, thematic, and narrative distinctions.

(part 2 of 2 next)

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of 3

15. Why Abraham tries to pass his wife off as his sister in two similar instances (albeit with important distinctions that would indicate different sources) and then Isaac does the same thing. (Genesis 12, 20, 26). Incidentally, even our own Bible Dictionary admits (s.v. “Abimelech”) that these were probably originally a single story that got passed down in different streams of tradition (or what would later become “sources”).
16. Why the name of God is revealed as if for the first time in Genesis 3, then again in Genesis 6, and why in these distinct texts there are linguistic similarities that track back to other texts distinguished by linguistic and literary divisions, and why in those divisions the one that hasn’t used the tetragrammaton up to this point (P, for those of you who are with me) now begins to use it, but in the others it had long been used.
17. Why God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart so that he chases the Israelites (Exod 14:8-9) follows Pharaoh’s decision to chase the Israelites (14:5-7).
18. An angel moves to the rear of the fleeing Israelite camp (Exod 14:19a) but in the same verse it was not the angel but the cloud pillar (Exod 14:19b).
19. Why it seems that God blew the sea back, drying the ground, in one text, and in the next split the waters through which the Israelites walk. (Exod 14:21a, compare 14:21b-22). And if this seems scant, why in Exodus 15, which recounts the mighty acts of the deliverance, there is no splitting of the sea.
20. Why linguistic formulae that are never supposed to be interrupted (the command-fulfillment pattern in the Pentateuch) are interrupted around source divisions or insertions of other material.
21. Why Exodus 34 can be separated into two narratives, one about God appearing to Moses and making a covenant, and the other about Moses going up the mountain to receive the second set of tablets with the same writing on them. And why these two episodes preserve the language and terminology of J and E, respectively, and why when these two episodes are separated their narratives match up perfectly with where the other separated J and E narratives left off and where they continue. And why Deuteronomy 10 quotes only one of these tightly integrated stories.

Longer than i thought -- three parts.

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

part 3 of 3

22. Why God is immanent in some texts and transcendent in others (compare the Tent of meeting, where he is transcendent, to the Tabernacle, where he is immanent).
23. Why in some texts the ark is just a plain wooden box with two tablets in it, and in others it’s an ornately-decorated chest containing several relics.
24. Why we have the Decalogue and Covenant Code, (=the set of laws beginning in Exodus 20), and the Deuteronomic Code (Deut 5; 12-26, which is supposed to be a repeat of the Covenant Code, but it’s not; it introduces many, many changes. Compare, for example, the Sabbath laws in Exod 20 and Deut 5).
25. Why in Exodus 12 we have pesach (passover) celebrated followed immediately by the seven-day matzah festival, but in Deuteronomy 16:1-8 there is only a seven-day festival (pesach and matzah have been conflated), with no specific date assigned in Deuteronomy. Also, why Deuteronomy requires the paschal lamb to be slaughtered at the central shrine but in Exodus it’s done in a family setting.
26. Why in some texts Moses’ staff is used to perform miracles, and in others it’s Aaron’s. (And why in these different cases there is other linguistic and narrative evidence pointing toward source divisions.)
27. Why the differentiated texts exhibit particularized geographical foci. Why, for example, do the spies in Num 17-20, 22-24 only see sites in the kingdom of Judah? (These happen to correlate with other J texts, whose focus is clearly on Judah). Abraham, in J, lives in Hebron, a capital in Judah. There are only four birth stories in J: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, and in J the first three are disinherited, leaving Judah to rule. These trends can be extended to the other sources.
28. Why all of these discrepancies are differentiated along linguistic, terminological, and substantial lines. E.g., the doubled stories will show different names for god, treatments of the priesthood, use of individual words (where such words are excluded from the other sources), sacred objects, etc. And, here’s a kicker, why the separation of these differentiated texts and rejoining to texts seemingly hewn from the same quarry results most often in a continuous narrative. Were one to spell out these individual differentiations, they’d number in the thousands. A replacement theory would have to explain this.

Again it isn’t relevant to the real problem I see of how inspiration is linked to indoctrination in all closed systems like religion, communism, Aryanism, cults.

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

Finally, just because, I am linking to a professor who writes about the DH. In this essay he talks about, in parts, some of the empirical evidence for the DH. There are books – Jeremiah – which show that we actually have different versions, that there seem to be redactors/compilers/editors. I’m sure there are other cases.

Again, a kind of boring read – but what can you do? DH is boring. Not really inspiring.

http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~jtigay/JapanVol.pdf

In the end, this is the real problem. Religion grabs us and feels great. And for most religious folks, indoctrination is a very small price to pay.

The problem is not: is religion true? Is secular scholarship true? It’s that in religion you cannot afford exposure to secular scholarship. You cannot afford open inquiry. You wind up seeing religious people distort and suppress and omit. They proclaim religion is obviously true, but you will lose your place in the world to come if you check on your own. They tell you you will get a reward in the world to come, or here, if you comply and obey. It’s classic fear mongering, designed to scare people, and make them compliant.

We just saw this with 12/21/12 – around the world people were terrified. Religious leaders pounce on this natural human fear of the unknown to get them to believe, comply, fear the afterlife.

We see bad proofs, put together terribly by people who ought to know better, but don’t care any more about validity – “if people will buy it, if I omit or distort the other side, I might get them to believe as I believe and comply.”

Open inquiry is a candle in the darkness of all this. And therefore not permitted.

But again: people want to be indoctrinated. They want to believe for all kinds of inspiring reasons. So most people just don’t care. Because reason is a party pooper. Education, the spiritually inclined feel, weakens the passion. And who wants that?

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"In indoctrination, everything is excluded that does not agree. It is forcibly excluded, omitted, its existence denied. The doctrine cannot afford exposure to it. OJ does this a lot."

Atheism does this a lot.

http://www.conservapedia.com/Expelled:_No_Intelligence_Allowed

"To forbid inquiry into science."

I think you're misusing the word "science".

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/11/science-and-pseudo-science.html

"Why humans are created twice"

I explain.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/09/how-i-understand-genesis.html

"Why linguistic formulae that are never supposed to be interrupted (the command-fulfillment pattern in the Pentateuch)"

Who made up that rule?

Regarding all the rest, I would check out this 

http://www.artscroll.com/Categories/rsh.html

and this 

http://www.artscroll.com/Categories/rbn.html

These types of proofs that the Torah is a hoax I personally find no more convincing than the many proofs that the Holocaust is a hoax.

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/holohoax.htm

In fact the Torah is clearly true

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

while the Documentary Hypothesis is clearly false

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html

"Religion grabs us and feels great."

Atheism is a religion, just a very, very bad one. It also strongly appeals to certain demographics, just like every religion.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/05/atheism-in-nutshell.html

 I think Judaism is for nerds by the way. :-)

natschuster said...

1. Why humans are created twice (Gen. 1:27, 2:7ff.).

Have you ever read a textbook that previewed what was in the chapter? Or summarized what was in the chapter? It repeats the information for a reason. The first chapter of Bereshis connects Beresihis to Shabbos. The second chapter goes into greater detail about the creation of the Human.

Why Noah is commanded to take two of every animal (Gen 6:17) and then seven of every clean and two of every unclean (Gen 7:2).

He was first commanded to take two of every kind, then he was commanded to take seven clean animals. It called a Klal Uprat UKlal. It is one of the ways that the Torah is intepreted.

Anonymous said...

“The DH methodology was actually tested by the author of "The Amber Witch." It was found to be a crock.”

Please Nat. C’mon. One guy, and he is definitive? One guy? Case closed? Thousands of academics, who argue and test and disagree and do research, and one guy has got to be right? And thousands are just too dumb to see?

Let the author of The Amber Witch debate openly serious Modern Biblical scholars. Let them cross examine each other and do it over a few weeks. Then make your determination.

The Amber Witch guy won’t do it. That’s my guess. This stuff always works the same. These guys won’t debate. They just can’t.

Why is an open debate between a rabbi and a Modern Biblical scholar NEVER proposed? A class – they can each present, cross examine, question. It could happen over a semester. Sharing a lecturn, one up there, then the other. Students can ask questions, vote in the end who they think won.

The rabbis WON’T do it. They WON’T. They CAN’T. They can’t afford to.

Thanks for posting all that stuff.

Tuvia

natschuster said...

3. Why the seams between the two creation accounts and the two flood accounts also divide perfectly the similar language that is used in the creation and flood accounts.

The two Creation accounts use different language because they serve s different purpose. Isaak Asimov, for example used different language and style when writing short non-fiction than when he wrote books.

Maybe I'mslow,but I don't see two different accounts of the Mabul. Passage 7:13 appears to be a repition of how Noach entered the Ark, but Rashi explains that it means that the people tried to prevent him. That is what the term B'etzem Hayom menas througout the Torah.

natschuster said...

6. Why Hagar is banished twice (Gen 16 & 21)

Because she was banish

7. Why Jacob is named twice (Gen 32 & 35)ed twice.

Once by the Angel, then Hashem confirmed it. I decide on a name for my child, then it becomes official when it is on the Brith Certificate.

Anonymous said...

"These types of proofs that the Torah is a hoax I personally find no more convincing than the many proofs that the Holocaust is a hoax."

I would say these are not proofs -- certainly these are not definitive. The DH is a big topic. This is more like food for thought.

There is one frum biblic critic I heard who just believes that, while there really is good evidence the Torah was compiled, and different kinds of good evidence, some of it pretty direct -- it is just too theologically troubling for Judaism. It simply must be denied.

He called for a "Jewish Spring" on this question of the Torah. A coming to terms with the findings of DH, and a recognition that OJ will survive it.

I would LOVE to see debates between religion and the DH -- where both sides could come to the table, and yeshiva students and seminary students could sit and watch, take notes, ask questions. A full semester like this. Evidence and counter evidence.

How great would that be?

But I know it just cannot be allowed to happen. OJ cannot afford to have that full a discussion about it, and certainly not with representatives of the other side there. And certainly not with religious boys and girls.

I would love to be proven wrong about this!

Tuvia

natschuster said...

8. Why Beersheva is given two different etymologies (Gen 21 & 26).

A: Verse 26:16 syas that Yitzchok gave the wells the same name his father gave them. He gave it the same name after the same experience. What else would it say?

B: Chapter 21 says the place was called Beer Shave. Chapter 27 says the City was called Beer Sheva. Might be refering to two different things. And chapter 27 says it ecauem permanent at that point. In chapter 21 the naming was not permanent.

jewish philosopher said...

"I would LOVE to see debates between religion and the DH -- where both sides could come to the table, and yeshiva students and seminary students could sit and watch, take notes, ask questions. A full semester like this. Evidence and counter evidence."

Bring it on. I'm ready.

natschuster said...

10. Why Jacob finished a long discourse about why Ephraim and Manasseh will be adopted as Jacob’s sons, and then in the next verse doesn’t know who they are (Gen 48:3-7, 8), and why if you remove that discourse, the narrative makes perfect sense. And why that discourse matches with language of other similar discourses that are divided by similar literary seams.

HE knew he had Grandson from Yosef. He saw Yosef and gave him the Blessing. His vision was poor, so he didn't recognize them at first. I would expect the language he uses to bless them to Josef to be different. Whne he blesses them in verse 15, it uses a similar lnaguage.

natschuster said...

Anonymous said...

“The DH methodology was actually tested by the author of "The Amber Witch." It was found to be a crock.”

Please Nat. C’mon. One guy, and he is definitive? One guy? Case closed? Thousands of academics, who argue and test and disagree and do research, and one guy has got to be right? And thousands are just too dumb to see?


The author of the Aember Witch is Dead. DH methodology has never been demonstrated to be true. The one time it was tested, it was found to be a crock.

Anonymous said...

ok -- i give. more open debate and inquiry would be great. something we can agree on.


Tuvia

natschuster said...

3. Why, in Genesis 37:21-22 it’s Reuben who wants to save Joseph, and in 26-27 it’s Judah.

They both tried to save him.

14. Why Moses’ father-in-law has two names (Reuel/Jethro), and Sinai has two names (Sinai/Horeb), and why the use of each of these names corresponds to other linguistic, thematic, and narrative distinctions.

People can have different names usedin different contexts.

natschuster said...

4. Why in one text (Num 12:4-15) the tent of meeting is outside the camp, and anyone can go to it, and in an earlier one (Num 2), it is in the center of the camp, and only the priests can enter it. And why these two texts preserve similar language and textual allusions to other similarly divided texts.

I don't see what your saying in Num 2 in my Chumash. And Num12 talks about Miriam's punishment. I don't see what you are saying.

natschuster said...

17. Why God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart so that he chases the Israelites (Exod 14:8-9) follows Pharaoh’s decision to chase the Israelites (14:5-7).

Rashi says that Pharoh beganto have doubts. He remembered all the plagues.

laugh out loud said...


18. An angel moves to the rear of the fleeing Israelite camp (Exod 14:19a) but in the same verse it was not the angel but the cloud pillar (Exod 14:19b).

There was an angel and a cloud pillar.

19. Why it seems that God blew the sea back, drying the ground, in one text, and in the next split the waters through which the Israelites walk. (Exod 14:21a, compare 14:21b-22). And if this seems scant, why in Exodus 15, which recounts the mighty acts of the deliverance, there is no splitting of the sea.

The wind blew all night driving some of the water back. That was the beginning of the process. The process was completed by splitting the waters until the land appeared.
I was a process. Rashi says the reason it was written out of order is to tell us that all the waters of the order where divided.

laugh out loud said...

This is from Exodus 15:18


At the blast of Your Nostrils

the waters towered.

Flowing water stood like a wall.

The depths congealed

In the heart of the sea.


if it isn't talking about splitting, then it is still pretty close.

laugh out loud said...

20. Why linguistic formulae that are never supposed to be interrupted (the command-fulfillment pattern in the Pentateuch) are interrupted around source divisions or insertions of other material.

Some examples would be nice

laugh out loud said...

21. Why Exodus 34 can be separated into two narratives, one about God appearing to Moses and making a covenant, and the other about Moses going up the mountain to receive the second set of tablets with the same writing on them. And why these two episodes preserve the language and terminology of J and E, respectively, and why when these two episodes are separated their narratives match up perfectly with where the other separated J and E narratives left off and where they continue. And why Deuteronomy 10 quotes only one of these tightly integrated stories.

Maybe its me, but I don't see two different narratives. Teh langugae might chnage becuase the purpose and the speaker changes. Deuteronomy leaves out some some parts because they weren't necessary when Moshe repeated the narrative.

laugh out loud said...

22. Why God is immanent in some texts and transcendent in others (compare the Tent of meeting, where he is transcendent, to the Tabernacle, where he is immanent).

He is both transcendent and immanent.

23. Why in some texts the ark is just a plain wooden box with two tablets in it, and in others it’s an ornately-decorated chest containing several relics.

It is an ornately covered wooden box.In some contexts, the decoration wasn't mentioned because it wasn't relevant. When I talk aboutmy car, I usually don't talk about its ornamentation.

laugh out loud said...

24. Why we have the Decalogue and Covenant Code, (=the set of laws beginning in Exodus 20), and the Deuteronomic Code (Deut 5; 12-26, which is supposed to be a repeat of the Covenant Code, but it’s not; it introduces many, many changes. Compare, for example, the Sabbath laws in Exod 20 and Deut 5).

Who says it is suppose to be an exact repeat? Makes more sense for itto add stuff.

25. Why in Exodus 12 we have pesach (passover) celebrated followed immediately by the seven-day matzah festival, but in Deuteronomy 16:1-8 there is only a seven-day festival (pesach and matzah have been conflated), with no specific date assigned in Deuteronomy. Also, why Deuteronomy requires the paschal lamb to be slaughtered at the central shrine but in Exodus it’s done in a family setting.

Could it be that the first Pesach in Mitzrayim, was different that the Pesachim that followed Matan Torah? And in Shemos, they are commanded to remove chometz from the house on the fourteenth, andeat the same day as the Korbon,and to eat the Korbon with matzo, so the two are connected.

laugh out loud said...

26. Why in some texts Moses’ staff is used to perform miracles, and in others it’s Aaron’s. (And why in these different cases there is other linguistic and narrative evidence pointing toward source divisions.)

Moshe did some of the Miracles. Aaron did other;s where Moshe felt it wasn't appropriate. IT is interesting how the Makkos can be put in a 3X3 matrix, with the rows and columns having similarities. That wouldn't be possible if they were from different sources.

natschuster said...

27. Why the differentiated texts exhibit particularized geographical foci. Why, for example, do the spies in Num 17-20, 22-24 only see sites in the kingdom of Judah? (These happen to correlate with other J texts, whose focus is clearly on Judah). Abraham, in J, lives in Hebron, a capital in Judah. There are only four birth stories in J: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, and in J the first three are disinherited, leaving Judah to rule. These trends can be extended to the other sources.

The posuk says they saw Hamas. The Meforshim say this was in Syria.

Dave said...

Tuvia, your debate with Nat is pointless, because if one starts from the point of view that the Torah was divine, ANYTHING can be explained away. You can always say, "god wrote it that way, because x, y, or z"

If one starts from the point of view of a human author (even Moses), it is clear that there are multiple authors.

SO DH does not directly address the divine/human authorship dilemma.

What does?

1. The anachronisms, such as when it says, X is true "to this day", which clearly implies a later perspective. Or referring to names of places from later periods that people in the Torah generations could not have known of.

2. Descriptions of nature or cosmology that represent an ancient, but inaccurate, understanding; such as water coming from the rakiya (because it is blue they thought water was behind it).

3. The anthropomorphisms that describe god like an angry, jealous man, similar to other gods.

4. The names of god and other practices which are similar to those of surrounding peoples whose histories pre-date the Torah (such as in Ugarit texts)

5. Most importantly, the necessity to modify Judaism by anulling the ancient Biblical Hebrew religion in order to make it viable.

6. The archeological evidence that dates the earliest coherent biblical text (codex) to about 200 CE. So what existed before that is anybody's guess...

jewish philosopher said...

"which clearly implies a later perspective"

The day when Moses wrote the Torah

"such as water coming from the rakiya"

Rain falls out of the sky. What is more interesting is that no where in the Bible is the earth explicitly described as a flat plate and the sky described as a solid dome sitting on it, although this was universally believed at the time that the Bible was written.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_Earth

"The anthropomorphisms that describe god like an angry, jealous man, similar to other gods."

The Torah describes things in a language comprehensible to ordinary people.

"The names of god and other practices which are similar to those of surrounding peoples whose histories pre-date the Torah"

Such as?

"Most importantly, the necessity to modify Judaism by anulling the ancient Biblical Hebrew religion in order to make it viable."

So the 700 remaining Samaritans have gotten it right in your opinion?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans

"The archeological evidence that dates the earliest coherent biblical text (codex) to about 200 CE. So what existed before that is anybody's guess... "

As is true of all ancient literature.

There is much earlier archeological evidence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israelite_highland_settlement

What I want to know is, if Ezra authored the Torah, then how did the Samaritans, enemies of Ezra, get it? And why are the pre-Torah texts, J, E, P and D unmentioned anywhere in any ancient text such as the Mishnah, Talmud, Josephus, etc. The Book of Ben Sira for example, although not considered sacred, is mentioned in the Talmud and it's even available today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Sira

Dave said...

Correction-- the earliest codex is codex Sinaiticus, from 400 CE.And its not even in Hebrew.

So all you can do is GUESS what texts the Hebrews had before that. For all you know during the second temple era they had little or nothing of what we have now.

What is the earliest codex that the Samaritans have? Certainly not earlier than Sinaiticus. Actually we have NO idea what the Samaritans actually got and when they got it--except from their own oral traditions, which are just as reliable or unreliable as ours.

"So the 700 remaining Samaritans have gotten it right in your opinion?"

No, but if God really write it either He should have written a Torah applicable to all times or come down and given us a new one (which is what the Christians claim of course happened). Nothing wrong with God giving us an update. Microsoft does it all the time.

jewish philosopher said...

According to the documentary hypothesis, the Samaritans should only have the E document, not the whole enchilada.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html

Judaism changes, the Torah doesn't.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/05/eternal-torah.html

Everything which we know about pre-modern history is very shaky.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html

Dave said...

"According to the documentary hypothesis, the Samaritans should only have the E document, not the whole enchilada."

No, because with that statement you are only relying on the Bible account itself. According to wiki:

"Modern scholarship connects the formation of the Samaritan community and their Pentateuch as a distinctive sectarian textual tradition with events which followed the Babylonian Captivity.[8] According to The Interpreter's Bible (Volume 1),

The usual assumption is that it was made somewhere around 432 B.C., when Manasseh, the son-in-law of Sanballat, went off to found a community in Samaria, as related in Neh. 13:28 and Josephus Antiquities XI.7.2; 8.2. Josephus himself, however, dates this event in the days of Alexander the Great, and though there is a notorious confusion in Josephus at this point, he may be right about the Gerizim temple dating from 332, and that may have been the date of the copying of their Pentateuch. Recent scholarship, however, is inclined to think that the real schism between the peoples did not take place until Hasmonean times when the Gerizim temple was destroyed in 128 B.C. The script of the Samaritan Pentateuch, its close connections at many points with the Septuagint, and its even closer agreements with our present Hebrew text, all suggest a date about 122 B.C.[9]"

"Everything which we know about pre-modern history is very shaky."

True. So maybe I'll go with Zorastrianism. No more shaky thn Judaism.

"Judaism changes, the Torah doesn't."
Saying that just avoids addressing the theological problem I raised. If Judaism changes, and OJ is the word of god, that means that the word of god changes. So HE should have told us.

Dave said...

"Everything which we know about pre-modern history is very shaky."

Which is another reason not to base our daily lives on it...

jewish philosopher said...

"The script of the Samaritan Pentateuch, its close connections at many points with the Septuagint, and its even closer agreements with our present Hebrew text, all suggest a date about 122 B.C."

In reality, according to all ancient sources such as Ezra 4

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt35a04.htm

the Samaritans and Jews have always been at odds. The idea of the Samaritans adopting a Jewish holy book is about as likely as the Southern Baptist Convention accepting the Koran. 

The obvious explanation is that the authorship of the Torah must have preceded the schism between the Jews and the Ten Tribes. Then when the Ten Tribes were exiled and replaced by Assyrians, the priests of the Ten Tribes taught them the Torah. 

DNA analysis seems to support this narrative.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans#Y-DNA_and_mtDNA_comparisons

"So maybe I'll go with Zorastrianism."

You can, however the most sacred text of Zorastrianism, their Torah, was not revealed by God to millions of people. One person wrote it, even according to believing Zoroastrians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gathas

"Which is another reason not to base our daily lives on it..."

OK. But if your wrong you're going to hell forever. If I'm wrong I lose nothing and will probably have a happier and more sober life than I would have otherwise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_and_happiness

http://www.casacolumbia.org/articlefiles/379-So%20Help%20Me%20God.pdf

Dave said...

Your Hell obsession is Christian, JP, so don't let your roots get the best of you. Mainstream Jewish theology does not emphasize it, the Talmudic statements are metaphorical, and the threat of Hell is never used as a reason to believe in Judaism or to follow the Torah. This is a Christian Evangelical thing. No mainstream Rabbi presently claims that non-believing Jews go to Hell.

"The idea of the Samaritans adopting a Jewish holy book.."

You are using faulty logic, JP. How do you know WHEN they adopted the Jewish holy book? If you assume that they did during the prophets, you are assuming the antecedent (based on the text itself, whose voracity you are trying to prove) without any justification in your proof.

Your argument confuses the ethnic roots of Samaritans, whenever they appeared in history, and the texts. Do we actually know what texts the Samaritans had, and when? The Nach doesn't even claim to know. It says they became converts under duress but nowhere does it claim that they possessed a text such as ours. Why are you assuming this? the earliest Samaritan codex is from the 1100s

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan_Pentateuch#Printed_editions

Maybe they adopted it around the end of the Temple period or later, around the time Judaism was formed.

Anonymous said...

“OK. But if your wrong you're going to hell forever. If I'm wrong I lose nothing and will probably have a happier and more sober life than I would have otherwise.”

Fear mongering – subtract two points!

I think the debate is good of course. It should really involve at some point a forum with people with expertise – because the DH is an important topic with lots of different aspects to it. I know very little about it.

The age of the universe with scientists representing their own side would be another. A long conversation, not a two minute hack job. Evolution of course is another one.

Other debates too I’m sure.

Which side will win? Who knows (who cares?)

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

I cribbed the below from a frum Jew (I don’t know what it all means! But I bet there is not a single rav or bachur in a single yeshiva who does either! We got a lot of debating to do – but it ain’t us! We need the heavy lifters in academics to go toe to toe with the ravs -- a long conversation….one that I believe the religious can never allow to happen):

A frum Jew (not a DH expert either, just someone who reads) writes:

“There are a large number of people that work full time in the field of Bible Studies, directly and indirectly. The indirect workers are people who work on the versions from Qumran, the Septuagint (targum shivim,) the Vulgate, the Peshitta, scholars of the second Temple, the Aprocrapha and the Pseudepigrapha (the seforim chitzonim). They also include scholars of ancient languages, Ugarithic, Akkadian and Aramaic in all its dialects. And then the archaeologists and historians of the Ancient Near East. They ALL speak the same language with two exceptions…Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist -Evangelical Christians. There are disagreements, the Scandinavians are very minimalist, the Germans have a hard time keeping science separate from their “Heliggeschicte”, the Israelis are sometimes too nationalist, the Americans overemphasize the literary qualities of the text; but there are huge agreements both in substance and in method, allowing there will always be some cranky outliers who believes in their own idiosyncratic ideas.”
“Now what makes this ‘stuff’ powerful is the cohesion between the different lines of investigation. You can see this more readily if you study tanach backwards…start with Divrei Hayamim, ask what are the differences between it and the earlier versions of the same stories and why, and then why both differ from the Book of Jubilees? Study Tehilim, Shir Hashirim, Job, ask what all those difficult words mean, look in Rashi and other mefurshim, then read the Ugarithic scholars, and go sentence by sentence. Read up on the history and development of Biblical Hebrew, especially its syntax. Read around tanach…how were oral traditions preserved in the ancient world, in Egypt, in Mespotamia, how was material written down. Read some of the histories of the Second Temple, ask where were the Perushim in 400 BC, 300 BC, 200 BC, who was in power and what did they believe? I claim some large narratives, stories how we go from 1800 BC to chasimas hatalmud cohere much better than others. They unify and find a place for small truths across many fields over 2500 years. Coherence isn’t truth, but it does impress. Besides saying over the big story, there is much else worth thinking about. One issue is what is the best reading (peshat) of pasuk X in chapter Y in book Z? When one has worked through tanach reading modern commentaries, not just one book of criticism where one can always say “Eh, not impressed, who says etc”, and looking at this entire binyan that has been put up as a result of all these disciplines, it is impossible for a rational person to dismiss modern Bible Commentary as narishkeit. For one thing it is made up of endless smaller ideas, many of which have no theological significance.”
What does it mean? I don’t know!

Tuvia

Anonymous said...

Final post of cribbed material:
That same frum Jew writes re one aspect of the DH:
As an example, (I am not saying this is an actual view of any scholar,) someone might hold that Torah (tanach) was written in a particular sequence and approximate dates. As an example part A =1000BC, part B =600 BC and part C =400BC, for internal reasons, having to do only with the content. He also believes that Hebrew language(syntax, vocabulary) has an archaic version dated around 1000BC, a middle version of 600 BC and a late post destruction of the first Temple version. If it turns out part A is written in archaic Hebrew, part B in middle Hebrew and C in post exilic Hebrew, then one part of the system of beliefs coheres with the other….it all makes sense. But if everything is written at one time, but the Hebrew is not uniform we have unexplained anomalies….how come? Answers might be available, but they seem like after the fact patches, similar to the Old Earth’ views on how the world was created.
Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"Your Hell obsession is Christian, JP, so don't let your roots get the best of you. Mainstream Jewish theology does not emphasize it, the Talmudic statements are metaphorical, and the threat of Hell is never used as a reason to believe in Judaism or to follow the Torah. This is a Christian Evangelical thing."

Your ignorance of Judaism is getting the better of you.

He who talks too much with women brings evil upon himself and neglects the study of the Torah and will in the end inherit Gehenna. Avos 1:5

http://www.shechem.org/torah/avot.html

Gehenna is Hell.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gehenna

"How do you know WHEN they adopted the Jewish holy book?"

Clearly at a time when it was not only a Jewish book, but rather when it was an Israelite book.

"Maybe they adopted it around the end of the Temple period or later, around the time Judaism was formed."

And maybe the Southern Baptist Convention will adopt the Koran.

As far as I know, all ancient sources present the Jews and Samaritans as enemy communities.

"Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple unto the LORD, the God of Israel; then they drew near to Zerubbabel, and to the heads of fathers' houses, and said unto them: 'Let us build with you; for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up hither.'" Ezra 4:1

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt35a04.htm

"For Jews do not associate with Samaritans." John 4:9

http://bible.cc/john/4-9.htm

"Why are Samaritans [kuthim] excluded from entering Israel?"
 Babylonian Talmud (supplement), Kuthim 2.7

"Thus, many from Galilee gathered to make war on the Samaritans."
Josephus, Jewish War 2.232-237

http://virtualreligion.net/iho/samaria.html

"Fear mongering – subtract two points!"

How many points does the Surgeon General lose when he says smoking causes cancer? 

jewish philosopher said...

More about the Samaritans:

"When the Samaritans saw the Jews under these sufferings, they no longer confessed that they were of their kindred, nor that the temple on Mount Gerizzim belonged to Almighty God."
Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 12 chapter 5 section 257

http://www.attalus.org/old/aj_12b.html#237

I don't know of any ancient source showing anything accept hatred between Samaritans and Jews. Therefore the idea of the Samaritans accepting a Jewish holy book seems incredible.

natschuster said...

"If one starts from the point of view of a human author (even Moses), it is clear that there are multiple authors."

The fiction works of Isaak Asimov are very different than his non-fiction. His short fiction is different than his novels. His essays are differetn than his book length non-fiction works. Jean Plaidy, Victoria Halt, and Philipa Carr write in very different styles. But they are the same person. James Patterson writes the Maximum ride series of science fiction books for teens. He also writes horrifically violent crime novels, and weepy, sappy, girly romance books. Tolkien wrote "The Hobbit," "The Sillmarillion" and "The Lord of the Rings" in different styles using different terminology. For example the goblins in "The Hobbit" are the Orcs in TLOTR. Places mentioned in TLOTR aren't mentioned in "The Hobbit." IF we apply documentary hypothesis style analysis. We might conclude they had different authors. But they didn't. See, the whole methodology is flawed. That should concern you scientific types. But I guess its okay as long as it supports your rejection of the Torah.

natschuster said...


1. The anachronisms, such as when it says, X is true "to this day", which clearly implies a later perspective. Or referring to names of places from later periods that people in the Torah generations could not have known of.

"Ad Hayom Haze" is a literary device. It is used to imply a ling time. Sometimes, if the speaker is a person it means until the time the speaker is speaking. If it is the Torah directly, it cam mean until the time the Torah was given, or forever. Depends on the context.

natschuster said...


1. The anachronisms, such as when it says, X is true "to this day", which clearly implies a later perspective. Or referring to names of places from later periods that people in the Torah generations could not have known of.

"Ad Hayom Haze" is a literary device. It is used to imply a ling time. Sometimes, if the speaker is a person it means until the time the speaker is speaking. If it is the Torah directly, it cam mean until the time the Torah was given, or forever. Depends on the context.

natschuster said...

"""""4. The names of god and other practices which are similar to those of surrounding peoples whose histories pre-date the Torah (such as in Ugarit texts)""""

The Midrash and other sources, including the Torah say that there was prophecy and belief in Hashem before the Torah was given. Avrohm had followers and influenced people. This merely confirms that.

""""""5. Most importantly, the necessity to modify Judaism by anulling the ancient Biblical Hebrew religion in order to make it viable."""""""

The evidence that this happened would be.....

Dave said...

"Clearly"

Whenever you say that, it means its not so clear. How did it come to be, for example, that early Christians, who were enemies of the Jews, adopt the Hebrew Bible as their own? If you read about early Christianity, such as the works of Justin Martyr, you see that they struggle with it and rationalize it.

Many people steal other people's ideas and adopt them. Although the Muslims didn't steal our book, they certainly took many Jewish practices and made them Islamic.

So your pretending to get into the mind of an ancient Samaritan just doesn't cut it. Its not a valid historical argument.

Anonymous said...

JP:

The DH gets stronger – which means if we use our faculty of reason, we should feel more comfortable with it, not less.

Please see this very clear website for new stuff to consider. Again, it is about the debate – the open inquiry model. If we choose open inquiry – we can probably say “I hope the Torah is from Mt. Sinai,” but can we say “I KNOW the Torah is from Mt. Sinai.”

Why is the former so hard to say?

Again: it is never about absolute proof. But can religion co-exist with the use of reason? It seems the answer (from religion) is “no -- it cannot.”

Please see this clear website: http://richardelliottfriedman.com/?p=289

From the first paragraph:

“Since the nineteenth century, the Documentary Hypothesis has been the best-known, most published, most often criticized, most thoroughly defended, and most widely taught explanation of the development of the first five books of the Bible. Evidence and arguments in support of it have grown continually more substantial—not just in quantity but in their nature, grounded more in demonstrable, quantifiable data from linguistic, literary, and archaeological products. Despite this, there have been a plethora of new models and variations proposed in recent years—some with substantial followings—and the number of claims that the Documentary Hypothesis has been overthrown has grown. Those among our colleagues who assert these claims have never challenged—in fact, have rarely mentioned—the main evidence and arguments for the hypothesis. They especially do not go near the newest strong evidence, namely: (1) linguistic evidence showing that the Hebrew of the texts corresponds to the stages of development of the Hebrew language in the periods in which the hypothesis says those respective texts were composed; (2) evidence that the main source texts (J, E, P, and D) were continuous, i. e. it is possible to divide the texts and find considerable continuity while keeping the characteristic terms and phrases of each consistent; and (3) as this book shows, evidence that the manner of composition that is pictured in the hypothesis was part of the literary practices of the ancient Near East.”

Tuvia

Dave said...

"The evidence that this happened would be....."

The Talmud.

Dave said...

""Ad Hayom Haze" is a literary device"

So it remains your burden to explain why a God would use a literary device which utilizes past tense to explain something that only happens in the future and which the recipients (in the time of Moshe) know nothing about.

[If you claim "prophecy" then why didn't the Torah anticipate that most of its precepts (especially the entire book of Levitacus) will eventually become obsolete?]

jewish philosopher said...

"How did it come to be, for example, that early Christians, who were enemies of the Jews, adopt the Hebrew Bible as their own?"

Christianity's entire claim to legitimacy is that Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah and therefore he was clearly the Messiah. The gospels mention this again and again as will any Christian missionary you'll speak to today. Just pick up your phone and call the nearest Messianic synagogue. Remember that Jesus and his disciples were all believing, practicing rabbinical Jews.

"So your pretending to get into the mind of an ancient Samaritan just doesn't cut it."

It sure does. Jews and Samaritans have always been bitter enemies according to every ancient account. Therefore if both Jews and Samaritans have the Torah, then the Torah must date back to at least the time of the United Monarchy, before there was a schism between the Ten Tribes (whose priests ultimately mentored the Samaritans) and Jews. The Torah is an Israelite document, not a Jewish document. 

Also, the idea that Ezra founded Judaism seems implausable.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/01/does-ezra-jesus.html

"Please see this clear website"

I am very familiar with REF. I own and have read Who Wrote the Bible? and The Bible with Sources Revealed.

http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353/

http://www.amazon.com/Sources-Revealed-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/006073065X/

Additionally, Professor Friedman was kind enough to exchange several emails with me about five or six years ago. That correspondence was lost when I lost my computer programming job three years ago. He did not have an answer to my Samaritan question.

natschuster said...

Ad Hayom Haze" is a literary device"

So it remains your burden to explain why a God would use a literary device which utilizes past tense to explain something that only happens in the future and which the recipients (in the time of Moshe) know nothing about.

[If you claim "prophecy" then why didn't the Torah anticipate that most of its precepts (especially the entire book of Levitacus) will eventually become obsolete?]

Sometimes, it was personusing it. The i refered to the time of thepseaker. Sometimes it refers to the timeof the writing of the Torah. Sometimes forverer. What's the problem?

natschuster said...

Dave said...

"The evidence that this happened would be....."

The Talmud.

If yuo are referring to the Rabbinical ordinances, they were created to gaurantee continued observance of the Torah.

Anonymous said...

Computer programming is a growing field.

The website reference, just to clarify, is to a book – a new book – that challenges (I think) the idea that the idea of putting together a book the “DH” way is unprecedented in the Ancient Near East.

“Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism, Jeffrey Tigay, Editor”

Apparently the book provides some empirical evidence.

Again, not about irrefutable proof. I just think a more open model of searching for truth is the modern way (and the fairer way.) And the closed model is the religious way (as well as the way of other large movements in our history, like communism, Aryanism, Hare Krishnas, etc.)

I also think religion cannot withstand open inquiry. This is to me a given. But it speaks to the weakness of the arguments for a religion.

Of course people’s belief in a higher power is independent of their belief in a religion.

Dalai Lama wrote on Facebook in September:
“All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.”

JP - If you weren’t committed to Torah from Mt. Sinai – how would this work for you?

Personally, I would miss cultural and ethnic Judaism, and Jewish conversations.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

"I also think religion cannot withstand open inquiry."

Maybe yours can't but mine can.

"how would this work for you?"

I have no idea what the Dalai Llama is talking about. Perhaps when you are both a king and deity you can afford to be a little incoherent.

http://buddhism.about.com/od/vajrayanabuddhism/a/dalailamarole.htm

laugh out loud said...

"They especially do not go near the newest strong evidence, namely: (1) linguistic evidence showing that the Hebrew of the texts corresponds to the stages of development of the Hebrew language in the periods in which the hypothesis says those respective texts were composed; (2) evidence that the main source texts (J, E, P, and D) were continuous, i. e. it is possible to divide the texts and find considerable continuity while keeping the characteristic terms and phrases of each consistent; and (3) as this book shows, evidence that the manner of composition that is pictured in the hypothesis was part of the literary practices of the ancient Near East.”"

How do they now about the stages of development of the Hebrew language anyway? What is this based on? I was under the impression that there are no contemporary sources.

natschuster said...

This is interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Authorship-Computer-Assisted-Statistical-Linguistics/dp/8876531033/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327896825&sr=1-1

It looks like when you get really scientific the evidence doesn't support multiple authors.

Dave said...

" Therefore if both Jews and Samaritans have the Torah, then the Torah must date back to at least the time of the United Monarchy, ..."

Or that both Jews and Samaritans adopted the current text around 100-200 BCE. The both had ancient Hebrew traditions. Before that it didn't exist as a coherent text. That's what the evidence points to.

So the "common pathway" that you are referring to began sometime during the second Temple era, parallel to Jewish development. Not from the earlier period you claim.

"Christianity's entire claim to legitimacy is that..."

JP, its called plagiarism, and people do it all the time. Copy somebody else's idea, modify it somewhat to suit your purposes, and then say its your idea. Are you naive?

In the Samaritan's case they claim to have the real Torah, and modified their text and interpretation so that the Temple should be on Mt Gerizim. (After all why are the Shomronim there in the first place?) So they claim that THEY have the real Torah, not the Jews.

So this whole Samaritan "proof" is a bogus "pseudo-historical" argument, just like your "pseudo-scientific" arguments about evolution.

Anonymous said...

Laugh out loud:

Get a clue! It’s a big subject. JP can deride it – it’s his blog. But if you ever want to employ the faculty of reason – perhaps your questions can be answered. Do you dare? I bet not.

Go and learn. DH is there, waiting for your sneering. Or your consideration. It’s up to you.

Quick question: what if you were born an Irish Catholic? Would the DH seem so crazy? To the Vatican, the DH makes sense. What’s your excuse, friend?

Tuvia

Dave said...

Nat-

If the Torah says "black" and the rabbis say "white" you will say its because the oral law can interpret black as white. So therefore there is no point in me listing the hundreds of rabbinic innovations that go way beyond "preserving" the Torah. Modern Judaism (including Heredi) bears no resemblance to biblical Hebrew religion. As JP like to point out, Judaism changes but not the Torah.

The rabbis make a mockery out of the Torah prohibition of adding or subtracting from the Law. (Of course the oral law gives them permission to do exactly that!)

For many sources on the subject see http://www.daatemet.org.il/index.cfm

BTW I am not criticizing the rabbis for doing so. They had to, otherwise Judaism would have gone extinct.

jewish philosopher said...

According to DH the Samaritans should logically only have the E document, which was composed in the Northern Kingdom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohist

DH doesn't refute Torah's divine origin; it merely rediscovers the midrash.

 http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html

The oral law is validated by the unique structure of Jewish literature.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2010/03/jewish-literature-seeing-effects-of.html

Dave said...

So here is how it works. If skeptics show:

1. contradiction in the texts, THEN YOU SAY...we interpret it so its not a contradiction

2. Something not consistent with known scientific facts, THEN YOU SAY...the science is wrong, or you reintepret the text so it is consistent

3. something in the text doesn't make sense from a chronological perspective, THEN YOU SAY... god can write whatever he wants and there's no order in the Torah

4. Judaism doesn't actually follow many Torah precepts, THEN YOU SAY...the rabbis can interpret it.

5. There is archeological evidence of much later (than tradition) emergence of the Torah text, THEN YOU SAY...the Samaritans had it

This is called "confirmation bias".

natschuster said...

"Modern Judaism (including Heredi) bears no resemblance to biblical Hebrew religion. As JP like to point out, Judaism changes but not the Torah."

How do you know what Biblical Judaism looked like? If you get your information from the Torah, then they had Shabbos, Kashrus, Taharas Hamishpocha, Yom Tov, Rosh Chodesh, Tzedaka, Chesed, laws against hurting people, laws against Loshon Hora, etc. Looks a lot like Modern Judaism to me.

jewish philosopher said...

Dave, how would you answer these 66 questions concerning the Holocaust?

http://www.stormfront.org/revision/questions.html

I'm sure you could find plausible answers to each one, however most likely you would not even bother. It is so obvious to you that the the evidence supporting the traditional history of the Holocaust is overwhelming and that deniers are not since truth seekers, but rather are motivated by Jew hatred.

By the same token, although I can and I believe I have found plausible answers to the questions asked by Torah deniers, I also believe that the evidence supporting the divine origin of the Torah is overwhelming 

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

and the motive of Torah deniers is obviously not a sincere search for the truth but rather a desire for sexual freedom

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/07/jewish-skeptics-and-sex.html

natschuster said...

This is interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Authorship-Computer-Assisted-Statistical-Linguistics/dp/8876531033

It looks like when you get all mathematical and scientific and use computes and statistics that the data does not support multiple authors. Aren't you guys the ones who are suppose to have science on your side? We are just simple dogmatists and fanatics.

natschuster said...

""""1. contradiction in the texts, THEN YOU SAY...we interpret it so its not a contradiction

2. Something not consistent with known scientific facts, THEN YOU SAY...the science is wrong, or you reintepret the text so it is consistent

3. something in the text doesn't make sense from a chronological perspective, THEN YOU SAY... god can write whatever he wants and there's no order in the Torah

4. Judaism doesn't actually follow many Torah precepts, THEN YOU SAY...the rabbis can interpret it.""""

Why would we expect the Torah to be easy to understand? It came from an Infinate, Transcendent source. The fact that we can understand anything about it at all is astonishing.

natschuster said...

""""5. There is archeological evidence of much later (than tradition) emergence of the Torah text, THEN YOU SAY...the Samaritans had it""""

That evidence would be.......

Anonymous said...

Nat:

The guy who wrote that Amazon piece does seem to contradict a recent study at Bar Ilan that shows at the very least distinctive styles and voices in the Torah.

Your Amazon guy’s page on Amazon has a review:

“Radday designed a statistical test to test the Documentary Hypothesis against Mosaic authorship. The Documentary Hypothesis failed, but I think Radday's evidence doesn't point to Moses as the author either.

Radday's study actually confirms much of Wiseman's work Ancient records and the structure of Genesis: A case for literary unity that suggests Genesis was written by Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, and other patriarchs found in Genesis.”

Not sure how to interpret this: many voices, just not DH is what it sounds like?

I bet this Radday fellow is an outlier – his study may not have much weight in the academic community.

We are at the beginning. There is depth to the academic study of Torah that we can’t get to.

From a frum Jew:

“There are a large number of people that work full time in the field of Bible Studies, directly and indirectly. The indirect workers are people who work on the versions from Qumran, the Septuagint (targum shivim,) the Vulgate, the Peshitta, scholars of the second Temple, the Aprocrapha and the Pseudepigrapha (the seforim chitzonim). They also include scholars of ancient languages, Ugarithic, Akkadian and Aramaic in all its dialects. And then the archaeologists and historians of the Ancient Near East. They ALL speak the same language with two exceptions…Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist -Evangelical Christians. There are disagreements, the Scandinavians are very minimalist, the Germans have a hard time keeping science separate from their “Heliggeschicte”, the Israelis are sometimes too nationalist, the Americans overemphasize the literary qualities of the text; but there are huge agreements both in substance and in method, allowing there will always be some cranky outliers who believes in their own idiosyncratic ideas.”
“Now what makes this ‘stuff’ powerful is the cohesion between the different lines of investigation. You can see this more readily if you study tanach backwards…start with Divrei Hayamim, ask what are the differences between it and the earlier versions of the same stories and why, and then why both differ from the Book of Jubilees? Study Tehilim, Shir Hashirim, Job, ask what all those difficult words mean, look in Rashi and other mefurshim, then read the Ugarithic scholars, and go sentence by sentence. Read up on the history and development of Biblical Hebrew, especially its syntax. Read around tanach…how were oral traditions preserved in the ancient world, in Egypt, in Mespotamia, how was material written down. Read some of the histories of the Second Temple, ask where were the Perushim in 400 BC, 300 BC, 200 BC, who was in power and what did they believe? I claim some large narratives, stories how we go from 1800 BC to chasimas hatalmud cohere much better than others. They unify and find a place for small truths across many fields over 2500 years. Coherence isn’t truth, but it does impress. Besides saying over the big story, there is much else worth thinking about. One issue is what is the best reading (peshat) of pasuk X in chapter Y in book Z? When one has worked through tanach reading modern commentaries, not just one book of criticism where one can always say “Eh, not impressed, who says etc”, and looking at this entire binyan that has been put up as a result of all these disciplines, it is impossible for a rational person to dismiss modern Bible Commentary as narishkeit. For one thing it is made up of endless smaller ideas, many of which have no theological significance.”
The Jewish Torah world avoids the depths…

Tuvia

Laugh Out Loud – my tone was a little harsh. I apologize…


ksil said...

Ksil, when someone accuses you, I will definitely vote to convict.

the chances of that happeneing are as close to zero as a made-up man named mosses receiving an incoherent, rambling book on some mountain in the dessert 2,000 years ago from the creator of the universe (LOL!) I have, and never will, do anything like that,ever. weberman on the other hand.....defending that perverted monster? good for you JP, good for you (sick)


"Almost every single Jewish skeptic blog blocks or deletes any comment I make. Why?"

smple. you are a TROLL

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll

jewish philosopher said...

"They ALL speak the same language with two exceptions"
The fact that many people believe something doesn't make it true, as I recently pointed out.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/11/what-everyone-thinks-can-be-totally.html

And Biblical archeology incidentally is a mess.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2010/12/israeli-archeology-mess-of-biblical.html

"the chances of that happeneing are as close to zero"

Which is what every prisoner said until he was imprisoned.

"you are a TROLL"

And you're not?

Dave said...

"The oral law is validated by the unique structure of Jewish literature."

That's like saying, "the oral law is validated by the oral law". Great argument!

"According to DH the Samaritans should logically only have the E document, which was composed in the Northern Kingdom."

Doesn't seem so logical at all.

First, the Samaritans own traditions about their origins are different than the biblical or rabbinic ones. They claim to be the authentic Hebrews, not forced converts. So naturally they would adopt an accepted Hebrew Torah document, when one became available 100-200 BCE (as Jews did).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans#Samaritan_sources



jewish philosopher said...

"That's like saying, "the oral law is validated by the oral law". Great argument!"

No, it's like saying that John Doe's conviction is validated by his DNA being found at the crime scene.

jewish philosopher said...

"They claim to be the authentic Hebrews, not forced converts."

They are either descendents of the Ten Tribes or were mentored by priests from the Ten Tribes. Either way they should only have E according to DH.

natschuster said...

Anonymous at 10:45

As bst as can figure, the quote seems to be saying that the evidence I keep asking about, the evolution of Hebrew, Arcaheology, for comes from the Bible itself. But the Bible itself refers to a work called the Torah of Moshe that was obviously the law of the land.

natschuster said...

If I were to read "The Hobbit,""The Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion, If I didn't know better I would sya they had different authors. But they didn't. Isaak Asimov's short fiction is different that his Novels. And his essays are different than his long non-fiction books. Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, and Philipa Carr all write differently, but they are the same person.

ksil said...

"the chances of that happeneing are as close to zero"

Which is what every prisoner said until he was imprisoned.

i see this went over your head...most prisoners deserve to be imprisoned becasue they committed crimes, it is very likely i would be accused of something that i never did....follow?


"you are a TROLL"

And you're not?

i admit, sometimes my comments are troll-like....do you admit that you are a troll? sounds like you do.....good, that is the first step to recovery

still dont know how you can support this monster....did you see rabbi horowitz's letter on this matter? its quite damning

jewish philosopher said...

"most prisoners deserve to be imprisoned becasue they committed crimes"

Not if you ask them. Almost all claim innocence.

"do you admit that you are a troll?"

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

So I don't know. Have I posted off-topic comments on blogs with the intent to make readers angry? Could you cite examples? I think I post on- topic comments with the intent of critiquing the post. But skeptics, realizing how fragile their irrational beliefs are and being filled with guilt over their heinous sins, aren't too interested in critiques.

jewish philosopher said...

"still dont know how you can support this monster....did you see rabbi horowitz's letter on this matter? its quite damning"

I have to admit this letter is pretty damning. Thank you for making me aware of it.

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=1630&ThisGroup_ID=238

Please note however that in my post I said nothing about whether Weberman is guilty or innocent. I am only saying that the process, as reported in press accounts of this and other cases, many involving entirely non-Jewish teachers and divorcing fathers, seems suspiciously lax. And we aren't talking about a parking ticket. These are life destroying serious felony convictions.

ksil said...

"my post I said nothing about whether Weberman is guilty or innocent"

typical....you are a liar. and not a very good one

go re-read your comments

which hunt, anyone could be next, applauding those that shun victims, so that no one comes forward

truly mind boggling how you or anyone still jumps through hoops to protect child rapists rather than protect the children! mind boggling

you are one sick puppy

jewish philosopher said...

ksil, I don't think you know how to read. Find one word where I say Weberman is innocent or that his accuser is guilty. About these specific people, I honestly don't know either way.