Monday, June 16, 2008

The "Silent Heroes"

Found this comment on a Hirhurim thread:

"There is a voice that is not being heard in this discussion. It is a view shared by respected Orthodox professors of Bible and of Jewish History, Orthodox graduate students in Bible and ANE, Orthodox Tanakh teachers in high schools and even in elementary schools. They are 100% committed to halakhah and are devoting their lives to Jewish Education. In their own quiet way they have examined the evidence produced by academic scholarship and find it convincing. But they don't evangelize, they don't debate, so you will only find out what they really think if you get into a one-on-one."

Is this really true? If so, don't the implications of this situation bother anyone?

10 Comments:

Blogger -suitepotato- said...

Nope, not bothering me. Not sure why it would. Can you explain? I'm kind of at a loss.

June 16, 2008 9:45 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I am bothered by the implication that all these scholars who started out from an Orthodox viewpoint have been convinced by the in depth study of the field that their orthodox position is rationally untenable.

June 16, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger evanstonjew said...

I don't think the quote said that exactly. It said that they believe the bible was written later than has been commonly believed by Orthodoxy. These Orthodox academics remain halachically observant and live an Orthodox life.They might even feel that their Othodoxy and frumkeit is strengthened by not having to deny the historicity of Torah.

June 16, 2008 1:00 PM  
Blogger evanstonjew said...

I don't think the quote said that exactly. It said that they believe the bible was written later than has been commonly believed by Orthodoxy. These Orthodox academics remain halachically observant and live an Orthodox life.They might even feel that their Othodoxy and frumkeit is strengthened by not having to deny the historicity of Torah.

June 16, 2008 1:00 PM  
Blogger The Candy Man said...

I don't get it. If you are convinced by academic Bible scholarship, how can you remain 100% committed to halakha?

June 16, 2008 1:19 PM  
Anonymous That's Me said...

How can anyone know if it's really true? By its very nature, even were it true it would not be discernable.

All I can say is that it matches my experience. I've personally met plenty of people that match the description to a T, people who are the embodiment of the implication that bothers you.

And Candy Man, why can't they be committed to halacha?!

June 16, 2008 2:34 PM  
Blogger The Candy Man said...

. I've personally met plenty of people that match the description to a T

I walk in pretty liberal circles, but I haven't met these folks. I've met a lot of rabbis who are completely ignorant of Biblical criticism, and a few hard-core apologists. Then again, I've never lived in NYC.

why can't they be committed to halacha?!

You just can't remain 100% committed to halakha once you know the Torah is not from God. That's what I said.

June 17, 2008 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I walk in pretty liberal circles, but I haven't met these folks. I've met a lot of rabbis who are completely ignorant of Biblical criticism, and a few hard-core apologists. Then again, I've never lived in NYC."

Like I said, personal experience.

"You just can't remain 100% committed to halakha once you know the Torah is not from God."

You "just can't?" Is it something like exceeding the speed of light?

You can say it's challenging, but you can't say it's impossible. Some people choose to do exactly that. Stamping your foot and declaring them impossible doesn't make them disappear. The variety of the human condition is too vast to rule out niches like halacha-commited BC-believers.

June 17, 2008 10:02 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

Ah well...

Rational logical proof and faith are not the same things.

I say I hear G-d talking in my heart and conscience. You say poppycock irrationality. Faith and rationality are not supposed to go together.

What disturbs me is that people cannot suspend disbelief in the world around them and insist on sticking with the idea that the Torah was literally written by G-d himself with a giant hand reaching out of the clouds, and that he had a really long bull session with Moses and laid out an oral law that would strain the memory of Rain Man to recall which shows all the interruptions and variations in the narrative one would expect of a novel written by seventy different people.

It's easier for me to believe that there's divine truth in it, not that it was divinely written one day. G-d doesn't necessarily write like we do. He tends to do it through us in ways we usually don't recognize until after all the principal actors are long deceased and then with human hindsight we go, "ahhhh... So that's what that was about..."

June 17, 2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger The Candy Man said...

You "just can't [remain 100% committed to halakha if you don't believe in the divine authorship of the Torah]?" Is it something like exceeding the speed of light?

Yup. You can remain committed. But you'll never be 100% again.

Personal experience.

June 17, 2008 10:41 PM  

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