Rational Bible

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by Nicholas Weeks, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Just beginning to read Dennis Prager's commentary on Exodus. His second volume of the Torah, on Genesis will be released in early May.

    Anyone else read the Exodus volume?
     
  2. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    I've read parts of it. I did not think much of it, but then I've really never been a fan of Prager.

    L'shalom.
     
  3. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    From Prager's Introduction where he mentions his main audience is the secular majority:

    "I have had you most in mind when writing this commentary. With every passing generation in the West, fewer and fewer people believe in God, let alone in the Bible. This is a catastrophe for the West, and it is a tragedy for you. Having God, religion, a religious community, and a sacred text in one’s life enables one to have a far deeper and richer—not to mention wiser—life. If you keep an open mind when reading this commentary, that life will, hopefully, become appealing to you.
    To readers outside of the West, the Torah has as much to say to you as to anyone in the West. I look forward to your reactions. They will surely influence my writing of the subsequent volumes.
    In writing this commentary, I have no hidden agenda. My agenda is completely open: I want as many people as possible to take the Torah seriously, to entertain the possibility it is God-given, or, at the very least, to understand why so many rational people do."

    This motivation is excellent and one hopes most secular, atheistic readers will find inspiration from this book and the Genesis volume coming up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  4. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    @Nicholas Weeks -

    If you derive benefit from it, that's great. Speaking for myself - and only for myself - I can not recommend the book.
     
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  5. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Not even to secular, atheistic non-Jews? If so, why not for that materialistic group?
     
  6. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I haven't, but I would like to read more about how reading this commentary is benefiting you.
     
  7. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Since the last time I read Exodus closely was about 60 years ago, it all is fresh now, thanks to Prager.

    Little things like the Egyptian Princess who found & saved baby Moses, while ignoring her father's edict that all boy babies should be killed. One forgets that not all Egyptian royalty were monsters, nor were all Jews good. Prager points out that the Torah is not a sectarian tract that portrays Jews as always noble & good & their enemies as always bad people.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Walking in on something I know nothing about yet am perfectly willing to comment on is my forte. That being said.
    Can you post a particular interpretation or quote from the book that you have an objection and how your or conventional interp you feel is more appropriate or better?

    I am asking twofold. One this very discussion and your curt unsubstantiated dismissal actually makes me interested in the book and author if only to find out what elicited such a response. (Like a preacher telling us not to go to a movie, or we should avoid premarital sex, I think think this has always caused many curiosity) . and second, I am just curious as to the two comments you've made since both lack any reasoning other than "I don't like salt on my food"

    Thanx
     
  9. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    He underscores this point big time, saying being self-critical of their own people proves Jews follow a divine power . . . but then goes on to say other cultures lacked such self-critical introspection in their myths and other religious discourses . . .

    Hold up . . . let me find where he said that.
     
  10. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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  11. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Does he mention this narrative motif is nearly universal in the stories of those who rise from obscurity to become great leaders?

    Karna is a character in the Hindu "Mahabharata". He is the son of the Sun deity, born to an unmarried teenage princess, who hides the pregnancy, then out of shame abandons Karna in a basket on a river.

    Sargon of Akkad (c2400-2300BC) was a founder of an ancient Mesopotamian empire. His birth is described:
    "My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not... My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river (Euphrates) which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to..."
     
  12. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Shocking that a commentary on the Torah, by a Jew, is not an interfaith (or theosophical) document. What an insight Thomas.:rolleyes:
     
  13. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    I will, but it will have to wait awhile. My arm is still healing and if I write more than 3 or 4 sentences the pain becomes tremendous. Believe me, I'm just as frustrated, more actually, than you are!
     
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  14. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

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    Prager's 'rational' explanation of Ex 4:21 - the Lord's stiffening or hardening of the Pharaoh's heart - does not make sense to me. So when you can type without pain, hope you will give another, better explanation.

    21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

    This explanation by Adam Clarke on verse 21 makes more sense:

    http://classic.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=ex&chapter=004
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    I was rather hoping, if this is to appeal to 'secular, atheistic readers', then it would be obliged to cover their arguments, and not found its claims on subjective and somewhat dubious statements, such as "constantly berates the Jews for their flawed behavior. No holy work of any other religion is so critical of the religious group affiliated with that holy work."
    Because it misses the point, that the scribe was calling the diaspora back to the religion of their forefathers.

    It's not uncommon. Trump, for example, has the rallying cry 'make America great again'. When this project shows signs of failure, Trump will turn on the populace and blame them for it, 'you've brought this on yourselves', which is what the scribe was saying was the cause of Israel's ills.

    "... There is no other bible on Earth where its protagonists are negatively portrayed... "
    I am not sure, but I have a feeling this is factually incorrect.

    "... No Greek would have written about bad Greeks..." LOL. I know for a fact that is nonsense. has he heard of Plato, and his commentary on the occupants of Olympus? Or the satires of Aristophanes?

    +++

    To be clear, the historical background and literary-critical insights into the sources and origins of Scripture detract from Scripture for me. Rather it places the text in its milieu and sheds light on its intuition/insight/inspiration/revelation.
     

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