In this important installment of Current Jewish Questions, Rabbi Josh Yuter tackles the controversial topic of Biblical Criticism and Orthodox Judaism.
Biblical Criticism and Orthodox Judaism Sources (PDF)
Biblical Criticism and Orthodox Judaism
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I’m listening to this now, and am thoroughly enjoying it. I appreciate your point that in order to encounter Biblical Criticism on its own terms one needs to study ancient Ugaritic, e.g., which most of us don’t particularly want to do.
Given the tension between two approaches, how far can you deviate from each: that’s a great meta-question. And the question of what’s considered legitimate scholarship vs. what’s considered apologetics.
(And I still think “fallacious and counterfactual” is a surprisingly hilarious statement. As you say, why use one word when two would do? :-)
Thanks! And it was a good line :-)
My dad happens to read Ugaritic and Akkadian among other languages, but I don’t agree with the premise. At a certain point you are right. But if you read the arguments and they are faulty on their own terms, you don’t need to read the original. On the other hand, if there was an Ugaritic inscription that said some Ugarit wrote Genesis (and we cared) then I might want to check if the original said that. But if you accept the arguer’s translation and still find their theory faulty, then why is knowledge of the original necessary? That said, please go learn Ugaritic and Akkadian. The original sources are very interesting. As my father says,. perhaps the y’shiva of shem v’ever was located at Ugarit… ;)
Points as I listen (an I love that we can comment on this, thank you for that). One of your listeners notes that Judaism (except for Karaites, he adds) has never read the tora literally. And with that he does a good job of trying to get you to change your usage of the word fundamentalist. I have no idea what the word means. With Christians, where I think it came from, it means some kind of literalism. Pharisaic Judaism is the opposite of literalism. And of course saying that the entire tora was given on har sinai is the opposite of literalism. So “fundamentalist” Judaism has ot mean something else. And it can’t mean reading the Talmud literally either because there are unresolved arguments in there in which you have to take sides (or not, when it’s not halachic, which is basically my opinion on a lot of this). So “fundamentalist” is basically going to mean whoever you don’t agree with. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know what consistent definition of fundamentalist you’re going to come up with when our religion works so differently than Christianity.
At best, I think fundamentalism used in a pejorative sense (and it wasn’t by its Christian coiners) can interpreting you religious doctrine in reaction to modernism. So while people were willing to bat around ideas in the Middle Ages, those ideas have since become verboten because of the danger of modernism where we have to put up a protective shell and stay there. So that’s kharedut. There’s definitely something to that in this Vaad statement. But that isn’t how you’re using the word fundamentalism in this class and I just wanted to hear your thoughts on that.
Oh my G-d that guy saying mmm-hmmm and yeah the whole time needs to stop!!
Sometimes he says uh-huh! Ahhhh!!
To be fair, Halivni himself thought he was breaking with traditional belief. The reason it’s not “Orthodox” is because it is contrary to everything in the Talmud and the Talmud’s understanding of Ezra etc. The Talmud elsewhere is extremely self-critical and acknowledges the limits of the m’sora and the tora shebikhtav as you mentioned, and yet it nowhere goes to what Halivni says. And this certainly contradicts even kimu v’kblu in the time of Esther before Ezra. I like Halivni a lot, think he’s a good person and amazing scholar, but he’s not Orthodox.
Halivni believes in tora sheb’al pe except for where it speaks to the history of the tora shebikhtav. That seems a huge gap.
And Leibowitz isn’t saying anything about facts. Sophistry.