Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And yet more Kugel...

Just a few more observations about the book...

I had previously written about the apparent cognitive dissonance of such a book written by an Orthodox Jew. This was prior to me reading the book. Having read most of it now, I am struck by the fact that throughout the book Kugel refers to the "traditional interpretors" versus the modern scholars. I was struck by how weird it is for him to take that "impartial narrator" tone, given the fact that he is squarely and prominently part of the latter group.

The other thought that really is stuck in my head is how many "non-traditional" Jewish sources are brought forth in that book. It is interesting because, when I usually come across quotations from sources it is Tanach, Talmud, Midrash. Yet Kugel quotes extensively from Apocryphal and Pseudoepigraphical writings. I wonder why we don't see as much of this in traditional Jewish sources. I understand that these writings did not possess the same amount of kedusha as the Talmud and Midrash, but were they considered unreliable?

3 Comments:

Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

>given the fact that he is squarely and prominently part of the latter group.

he's also an "orthodox" Jew so that makes him both, doesn't it?

January 29, 2008 11:01 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

well, i think by "traditional interpreters" he means chazal, rishonim, acharonim level people. I don't think he qualifies for this group...

January 29, 2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

right, he's not a rishon but he's in the rishonim camp i.e. traditional religious Jew.

One of the main points of the book was to show that both camps (the religious and the secular) have merit in interpreting the Bible. To do that he was trying to be objective as possible

January 29, 2008 11:29 AM  

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