I don't think that laughing out loud can throw much light upon this discussion.
And neither the Old nor the New Testament are under focus here, but the Laws of Moses.... which I am promoting as absolutely brilliant for their time.
Yes, true... I am making a claim that the 613 were perfect for the Israelites to become strong, healthy, safe, secure, fast growing and unified in to a very strong people.To me, the Commandments are best understood in the context of the Covenant, the Testament. But that's just me and my opinion. You are making a case that they made sense even when removed from that context, and are introducing a different way of framing the Commandments, relying on concepts of tribal cohesion and unity. That's fine, it's just not my interest.
I'd like to raise a different point, which is the unspoken part implied by the row of dots and the last three words of the thread title, and which you keep reinforcing in your posts: " ... perfect for their time". It may be just me, but what I am hearing there is that the Commandments have lost their relevance, this being no longer "their time". This gives an entirely different tone to your posts, and I'd like to hear whether this is really a point you want to make in full generality?
Yeah but, no but ...But.... what do you think?
Yes, true... I am making a claim that the 613 were perfect for the Israelites to become strong, healthy, safe, secure, fast growing and unified in to a very strong people.
And yes, even in the time of Jesus many of these laws had list their effect and value, it seems, from reading about his actions and words. Much of the ceremony, Temple practice had decended in to corrupted badness I have read.
Today? Whilst we do have our national ceremonies, dress codes and such, science has stepped in to help protect us from many of the illnesses that were mass death to a travelling community.
But.... what do you think?
YesI think people will engage with all kinds of ancient texts, interpreting, commenting, and applying their conclusions to their everyday lives.
....some of the commandments. Engaging with some.And I think that two groups in particular are engaging with the Commandments today, namely the Jews and the Christians. They reach totally different conclusions and have wildly diverging ways of continuing to derive meaning and relevance from them.
Oh yes...... Nobody could reasonably blanket dismiss them all. Can you think of any group that does?So, given that there are other people who are studying and interpreting and commenting and applying these Commandments in their faiths and lives today, I think it would be an interfaith thing to acknowledge their existence and efforts, and to give less of an absolute blanket dismissal of the Commandments as relics of a long gone time.
I think it's important to remind that these laws were written for a people striving to survive. Tough laws for tough times.Yeah but, no but ...
On the one hand exemplary, as per the examples you offer, on the other hand awful – the militancy toward their neighbours, which they will utterly annihilate, their cities and cultures destroy: "But of those cities that shall be given thee, thou shalt suffer none at all to live: But shalt kill them with the edge of the sword, to wit, the Hethite, and the Amorrhite, and the Chanaanite, the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: Lest they teach you to do all the abominations which they have done to their gods: and you should sin against the Lord your God." (20:16-18)
Deuteronomy is quite hardline, and if we apply it today, we spawn tribalism, nationalism, racism – the language is the same – and in its extreme, National Socialism's idea of racial purity (cf Deuteronomy 7:2-5).
Having said that, the code and the writings are not unique to Judah-Israel, but shares much in common with those of other cultures. The call to exterminate 'the other' is called "hagiographic hyperbole", the kind of writing that is found in the Book of Joshua, for example, is there in other works of the same era, and are not intended to be read literally. It is a hyperbolic, formulaic language for theatrical effect. Assyria has a similar cosmology, ideology and ethical outlook on war – it's common to Near Eastern peoples of the Bronze and Iron Ages.
So yes, there are elements that are universal, wisdom and sagacity is nothing recent, but would I like a return to the militancy and isolationism of the Bronze and Iron Ages? No, thank you.
If we're talking idealism, I'd say a return to the true values Democracy a la 5th century Greece. Of course, as Churchill noted, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."
And, without offering offence, the exclusivity practiced by Israel (founded on these laws), did it really make them strong? They were conquered before the code was written, and were conquered again after ... that they survived at all as a recognisable people is because of their adherence to their religion, but they paid a terrible price.
In Jesus' day, there was much the Greeks admired about Jewish culture, and much the Jews admired about Greek. There was interchange between the two, and this I think was, largely, healthy and beneficial, but against the letter of the law. Many Jews ignored the Deuteronomist call to return to Jerusalem, the Jews of the diasporas being settled in their lands, their businesses, their families, their lives ... but did they cease to be Jewish? Did they suffer all the calamities that they were threatened with? I'm not sure.
The Essenes, for example, were strict adherents to the Law, and the Pharisee too. Jesus, of course, highlighted the difference between 'letter' and 'spirit', as noted by Paul (2 Corinthians 3:6).
I needed to reply again to your post.And I think that two groups in particular are engaging with the Commandments today, namely the Jews and the Christians. They reach totally different conclusions and have wildly diverging ways of continuing to derive meaning and relevance from them.
I think the Golden Rule is exemplary in that regard.
The Rule of Reciprocity appears in the "The Eloquent Peasant", which dates to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650BC): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do." A later MS (c. 664-323BC) contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."
Some members of this forum are Jewish. Some are Christian.I needed to reply again to your post.
So far no other member has shown any of these laws in particular with their comments about them.
Or have I missed any posts?
Some members of this forum are Jewish. Some are Christian.
And even if there were no Jews or Christians here, well, I'm Atheist, and I don't go and invalidate the continued relevance of core religious concepts of the believers here. That would be out of place, I think. In this forum.
Edited to add: This is just my personal gut reaction.
This isn't posted in the Christian or Atheist Forums....... I actually thought that a Deist who does not believe in an involved or aware God might be able to propose how these wonderful laws came to be..... and you yourself have posted to propose that they were by no means new.
You are a boss......... so you can close this thread now.